Call for Pa­pers for a Special Issue of

Journal of International Management


Effective strategies for humanitarian migrants’ employment, inclusion and integration


Guest Editors:


Betina Szkudlarek, The University of Sydney Business School

Alexander Newman, Deakin Business School

Hans Van Dijk, Tilburg University

Katja Wehrle, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen

 Supervising Editor: Snejina Michailova, University of Auckland


Deadline for submission: October 1, 2021


Researchers have called on International Management (IM) scholars to engage in scholarship that addresses grand challenges, in particular, those arising from global migration (e.g., adaptation, integration, inclusion; Buckley et al. 2017). The field of IM is well-positioned to contribute to such grand challenges, with over half a century of research on global mobility and a wealth of expertise (Szkudlarek et al., 2019). However, until now, the field of IM has been predominantly preoccupied with examining the experiences of only one key group of migrants, namely expatriates, including those assigned to go overseas by their organization, and those migrating on their own accord (i.e., self-initiated expatriates). Although a few recent studies have begun to look more closely at the international transition of voluntary migrants (e.g., Fernando and Patriotta, 2020), the experiences of humanitarian migrants who moved overseas to escape persecution or to flee from war or hunger, such as refugees, have been the subject of limited attention from IM scholars.


Governments, not-for-profits, and supranational bodies have called for the development of solutions to address the challenges faced by humanitarian migrants and support their efforts to rebuild their lives in receiving countries. The critical role of employment in humanitarian migrants’ resettlement has been discussed extensively (Ager and Strang, 2008; Barak, 2016; Baran et al. 2018; Lee at al. 2020; Nardon et al., 2020). However, solutions to address the specific challenges faced by humanitarian migrants to obtain employment that is commensurate with their skills, knowledge, and experience remain elusive.


The work of Lee and colleagues (2020) coined the term Canvas Ceiling to explicate the complex nature of barriers encountered by humanitarian migrants in their quest for employment. Compared to nationals in the receiving country and voluntary migrants, humanitarian migrants face higher levels of unemployment, underemployment, and often work in the informal economy (Abkhezr et al. 2015; Cheng et al. 2019). Our call for papers highlights the need for scholarship that provides urgently needed solutions to foster humanitarian migrants’ employment prospects, workplace integration and inclusion. Specifically, we aim to foster a dialogue between IM scholars and other fields of research to encourage and facilitate effective strategies for humanitarian migrant employment, inclusion in the workplace, and integration into society at large. We welcome submissions originating from and integrating various paradigmatic and methodological traditions, and encourage interdisciplinary work. We seek both conceptual and empirical papers.


We invite manuscripts focused on, but not limited to, the following themes:

- Extending IM scholarship and practice to incorporate the unique circumstances faced by refugees and other humanitarian migrants

- Empirical investigation of support and onboarding programs for humanitarian migrants offered by multinational corporations (MNCs) and other internationally-focused employers, and their effectiveness in building inclusive workplaces

- Extraction of learning from existing frameworks of global mobility and adapting them to the unique context of humanitarian migrants’ workplace integration

- Understanding the policy impact on employers’ engagement in humanitarian migrants’ workforce integration

- The role of the socio-political context in humanitarian migrants’ workforce integration and how MNCs could partake in the facilitation of constructive narrative around issues of humanitarian migrants’ employment

- Analysis of the effectiveness of transnational vs. local solutions to humanitarian migrants’ employment

- Exploring the role of employers in facilitating international accreditations for humanitarian migrants

- The role of industry-specific and cross-sector partnerships in coming up with tangible solutions to overcome the Canvas Ceiling

- Strategies to attract employers to engage in the cause of humanitarian migrants’ workforce integration

- Exploration of business vs. CSR focused strategies to humanitarian migrants’ employment

- Corporate role-modeling and the role of industry leaders in promoting the cause of humanitarian migrants’ employment

- Understanding of various types of temporary forms of employment as facilitators or impediments of long-term workforce integration for humanitarian migrants

- Best practices in hiring, training and retention of humanitarian migrants

- Analysis of the similarities and differences that humanitarian versus voluntary migrants face when integrating at work

- The interplay between the espoused corporate values and the individual perspectives of employees and their impact on humanitarian migrants’ employment outcomes


Meet the Editors webinar:

The guest editors will organize a special webinar focusing on developing the ideas and papers intended for submission.

The details of the webinar will be announced in due time. All interested contributors will have an opportunity to present their work (at any stage of development) for discussion. Participation in the webinar is not a guarantee of acceptance of the paper for the special issue; it is neither a requirement for consideration of papers for inclusion in the special issue.


Submission Process:

The deadline for paper submission to the special issue is 1 October 2021. All papers will be subject to a double‐blind review process. Papers for this issue should be prepared as per the Journal’s guidelines available at:

Authors should submit an electronic copy of their manuscript via the journal’s online submission system via


The Call for Paper can be found here:


Abkhezr, P., McMahon, M., Rossouw, P., 2015. Youth with refugee backgrounds in Australia: Contextual and practical considerations for career counsellors. Australian Journal of Career Development, 24(2), 71–80.

Barak, M.E.M., 2016. Managing Diversity: Toward a Globally Inclusive Workplace. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Baran, B.E., Valcea, S., Porter, T.H., Gallagher, V.C., 2018. Survival, expectations, and employment: An inquiry of refugees and immigrants to the United States. Journal of Vocational Behavior105, 102–115.

Buckley, P.J., Doh, J.P., Benischke, M.H., 2017. Towards a renaissance in international business research? Big questions, grand challenges, and the future of IB scholarship. Journal of International Business Studies48(9), 1045–1064.

Cheng, Z., Wang, B.Z., Taksa, L., 2019. Labour force participation and employment of humanitarian migrants: Evidence from the building a new life in Australia longitudinal data. Journal of Business Ethics, in press.

Fernando, D., Patriotta, G., 2020. “Us versus them”: Sensemaking and identity processes in skilled migrants’ experiences of occupational downgrading. Journal of World Business55(4), 101109.

Lee, E.S., Szkudlarek, B., Nguyen, D.C., Nardon, L., 2020. Unveiling the Canvas Ceiling: A multidisciplinary literature review of refugee employment and workforce integration. International Journal of Management Reviews22(2), 193–216.

Ager, A., Strang, A., 2008. Understanding integration: A conceptual framework. Journal of Refugee Studies21(2), 166–191.

Szkudlarek, B., Nardon, L., Osland, J., Adler, N., Lee, E.S., 2019. When context matters: What happens to international theory when researchers study refugees. Academy of Management Perspectives.



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