Call for Papers


Rikkyo College of Business Workshop


Strategic Management of Workforce Diversity:

Challenges, Opportunities, and Transformational Leadership



March 2 and 3, 2018

Rikkyo University, Tokyo



1.       Call for Papers

We are holding a small research workshop titled “Strategic Management of Workforce Diversity: Challenges, Opportunities and Transformational Leadership” on March 2 and 3, 2018 at College of Business, Rikkyo University, Tokyo. We invite papers exploring strategic dimensions of diversity management that may have relevance to Japanese MNEs as they struggle to embrace workforce diversity for competitive strategic goals. Work-in-progress papers are welcome.


l   Extended Abstract (max 1,000 words) due on December 25, 2017

l   Submit the Abstract by email attachment in the Word format to the following e-mail address: cob (at)

l   Notification of Acceptance by January 15, 2018

l   Full paper submission by February 19, 2018

l   Workshop on March 2 and 3, 2018


2.       Workshop Theme

A considerable gap exists in Japan between the media coverage of diversity management on the one hand and the reality of the Japanese firms on the other. Many news articles portrait that diversity management is finally on the radar screen of Japanese companies, be they large or small. They include high-profile interviews with prominent chief executives of Japanese blue-chip MNEs – they spoke openly and loudly of the “strategic” importance of diversity management. Similarly, the government has a heightened attention on organizational diversity as the priority. Prime Minister Abe included “Womenomics” in his Abenomics agenda as an important path to economic recovery, and enacted a law in 2016 to promote women’s participation and advancement in the workplace. The law now mandates Japanese companies to disclose their status and action plan for female participation in the workforce including the ratio of female managers and executives and the numerical targets.


With the hypes of the media and the heightened attention of the government, there is growing evidence that executives and managers of Japanese firms including major MNEs are at best business as usual, and at worst, cynical. Many Japanese executives and senior managers still tend to look at diversity management as an HR (human resource) management issue or a PR (public relations)/CSR (corporate social responsibility) matter. More importantly, many of them see that managing diversity incurs costs that accompany a dubious indirect return to their firms.


Their view seems to show a contrast with that of their counterparts in the US, Canada, and Europe where diversity management has become an integral part of their competitive growth strategies. They see organizational diversity as a strategic issue that provides an opportunity for a firm to re-engineer themselves by investing in their organizations and cultures for long-term returns (Cox and Blake, 1991; Ivancevich and Gilbert, 2000; Ireland, Hitt, and Vaidyanath, 2002; Richard, Barnett, Dwyer and Chadwick, 2004; Bassett-Jones, 2005; Brannen and Thomas, 2010, among others). In short, they link diversity management with an organizational process to innovate and to create knowledge, leading to enhancing organizational capability, improving corporate performance, and strengthening competitive advantage.


Why do Japanese firms and their managers show a stark contrast in their understanding of organizational diversity? Is the difficulty of the Japanese firms embracing workforce diversity a consequence of cultural and normative factors? Are there laws and regulations that may hinder changes? To what extent, economic calculation and other functional reasons may contribute to the status quo? Will there be little prospect for Japanese firms and their managers to address organizational diversity as a strategic challenge and opportunity? What information and knowledge, and what processes and factors, may be necessary for Japanese firms and their managers to change their understanding of the issue and start exploring strategic opportunities in embracing and managing organizational diversity? What kinds of leadership may be necessary for an organization to embrace organizational diversity, commit their resources to change, and introduce concrete processes that may effectively translate diversity into capability and performance? What may be the role of public policy in encouraging their labor practices and managerial decisions?


We invite academic papers from scholars across disciplines that generate insight into the overall workshop theme, including but not limited to the following questions:

l   Do employees and managers of a country of your research have a clear understanding that workforce diversity is not necessary a cost-incurred compliance and social responsibility issue but more revenue- and profit-generating competitive opportunity?

l   What kinds of theoretical frameworks, concrete cases, and empirical data may contribute to their understanding?

l   What kinds of personal steps, organizational processes, and social construction processes do people, firms, and societies of your research have undertaken in expanding their understanding of workforce diversity beyond compliance and social responsibility?

l   What specific HR policies and practices, incentives and controls, organizational structures, and managerial directions of firms in a country of your research may help an organization effectively manage workforce diversity and contribute to better organizational performance?

l   To what extent, may “best practices” in workforce diversity in one country be relevant in another country?

l   To what extent, have the market integration, and the competition under globalization converge organizational structures, business practices and labor relations among firms across borders?


3.       Publication

We aim at publishing a select few papers under a special issue of a research journal. All other papers will be included in a future volume of Rikkyo Business Review. More details will be available.


4.       Registration and Enquiry

There is no fee to register for participating in the workshop. At least one author of the accepted paper is asked to attend the workshop to present the paper. We welcome those participants who do not present their papers but are willing to take part in the discussion.


The participants must cover their own travel expense.


For more information, please contact the organizer, Prof. Toshiya Ozaki, College of Business, Rikkyo University at the following email address: ozakit (at)


Toshiya Ozaki, PhD
Professor of International Business
Chair, Department of Global Business
College of Business, Rikkyo University
Tokyo, Japan 171-8501
Tel: +81-3-3985-4077
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