Special Issue Call for Papers

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in International Business:

Dimensions and Challenges


Special Issue Co-Editors


*	Saba S. Colakoglu, Guest Editor (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)
*	Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez (EAFIT University, Colombia)
*	Dana Minbaeva, Guest Editor (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark)
*	Matt Rašković, Guest Editor (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
*	William Newburry, AIB Insights Associate Editor (Florida International University)


AIB Insights is a peer-reviewed journal publishing “Actionable International Business Insights”. Short, topical, thought-provoking articles should be akin to written “TED Talks” with an applied/actionable focus that focuses on usable insights and de-emphasizes references, jargon, and methods. These insights must be relevant to the broad international business community, including researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and educators. With this Special Issue call, we invite submissions that offer novel and applied insights related to the multiple dimensions and levels of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the international business (IB) field. 


Calls to address DEI have become common in almost all corners around the globe – whether they relate to gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, (dis)ability, language, immigration status and/or a host of other socially constructed categories. However, while DEI initiatives have been around in the corporate world for decades, they have been mostly limited to human resource management and guided by a discrimination-and-fairness logic or an access-and-legitimacy logic (Thomas & Ely, 1996). Few organizations have been able to wholistically embed DEI at an advanced level, harnessing its learning and strategic potential (Ely & Thomas, 2020). 


Within the IB field, the topics of various types of distance (e.g., cultural, psychic, semantic etc.) have long been an area of interest for managers, scholars, and policymakers. Yet, only recently, have we begun to approach distance in conjunction with diversity and foreignness (e.g., Stahl et al., 2016). Both distance and diversity are conceptually close, acting as “two sides of the same coin” (Doh, 2021). The former captures differences between countries, the latter differences between individuals (Lumineau et al., 2021). The diversity literature offers nuance and sophistication which can revitalize traditional approaches to distance within IB and management, infusing it with much needed actionable insights (Doh, 2021). 


Exploring DEI offers an opportunity for stronger positive scholarship which has often been underrepresented when it comes to diversity, distance, and foreignness in IB (Stahl et al., 2016). At the macro-level, DEI scholars have made inroads into understanding how societies differ in their abilities to recognize, tolerate, and adapt to various types of (social) differences and diversity (e.g., Zanakis et al., 2016). For example, a recent study of LGBT inclusion across 132 countries has shown a clear link between LGBT inclusion and economic development (Badgett et al., 2019). At the organizational level, DEI has been linked to a series of positive organizational outcomes which include higher creativity, greater adaptability and better problem-solving (Stahl et al., 2016). In line with the so-called learning-and-effectiveness paradigm (Ely & Thomas, 2020), DEI might become an important strategic puzzle piece in how societies, organizations and communities navigate a world with increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) and a post-Pandemic “New Normal”.


Of particular interest to the IB community is how internationalization and diversity issues interact in multinational companies (e.g., Hermans et al., 2019). Issues like the social construction of gender differences (e.g., Koveshnikov et al., 2019), the use of language and gender marking (e.g., Shoham, 2019), or managing and stigmatization of LGBT expatriates (e.g., Moeller & Maley, 2018), are just some of the areas of research in recent years. Multinational companies are also social spaces and transnational communities (Morgan & Kristensen, 2006). They act as sites for identity politics, are part of identity building processes, take on broad social issues and can take on the role of change agents (Vaara et al., 2019). This calls for a better understanding of sources, outcomes, and intersectionality of social identities in multinational companies (Rašković, 2021). 


Despite inroads made in the DEI space, many areas and issues remain understudied in IB contexts and broader, particularly with respect to how different diversity types interact, as well as the intersectional nature of diversity issues. Considering the multidimensional and multilevel nature of DEI and challenges of managing this issue in a global environment, this Special Issue of AIB Insights seeks novel and actionable insights that help us to understand how DEI manifests itself in IB settings, while also advising on how to manage these challenges from the perspective of managers, scholars, policymaker and educators. Below is a list of illustrative - but not exhaustive - topics: 


*	How are diversity and distance linked in IB contexts? Should we think of them as two sides of the same coin?
*	What dimensions of DEI are most prevalent in IB settings? Do they change across regions, countries, and time? What role do institutional environments play in these processes?
*	How can DEI dimensions be classified in IB to better understand their impacts? 
*	How do different DEI dimensions interact when impacting IB operations and at what level? 
*	What is the business case for DEI for multinational organizations, governments, and societies?
*	How can multinational companies manage various types of differences across societies and markets with respect to DEI? What are some best practices? Can they in turn inform other areas within IB, like non-market strategies, CSR and stakeholder engagement?
*	What role do language and social identity play in embedding a wholistic DEI philosophy?
*	What are the positive (organizational) outcomes of DEI in international settings?
*	Can DEI initiatives become a double-edged sword? Are there negative ramifications of diversity management in IB settings? How can these be managed? 
*	How can corporations better manage less visible types of diversity (e.g., with respect to LGBTQIA+ employee issues) in international settings? 
*	How can DEI become a source of learning and competitive advantage?
*	What impact has/will COVID-19 have on the DEI space?


Submission Process and Timeline 


AIB Insights is an Academy of International Business journal that publishes short (around 2,500 words), interesting, topical, current, and thought-provoking articles. Colleagues interested in submitting to this Special Issue should consult the AIB Insights  <> Editorial Policy and use the  <> Online Manuscript Submission System. Please mention “Special Issue: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in International Business” in your cover letter when submitting your manuscript. 




The deadline for submission of full manuscripts is October 15, 2021. The expected publication of the Special Issue is during the first half of 2022. 




Badgett, M. V. L., Waaldijk, K., & van der Meulen Rogers, Y. 2019. The relationship between LGBT inclusion and economic development: Macro-level evidence. World Development, 120(8): 1-14. 


Doh, J. P. 2021. Distance as diversity: Two sides of the same coin? Journal of Management Studies. 


Ely, R. J., & Thomas, D. A. 2020. Getting serious about diversity: Enough already with the business case. Harvard Business Review, 98(6): 68-77. 


Hermans, M., Newburry, W., Alvarado-Vargas, M. J., Baldo, C. M. O., Borda, A., Duran-Zurita, E. G., Galli Geleilate, J. M., Guerra, M., Lasio Morello, M. V., Madero, S. & Zwerg-Villegas, A. M. (2017). Attitudes towards women’s career advancement in Latin America: The moderating impact of perceived company international proactiveness. Journal of International Business Studies, 48(1), 90–112.


Koveshnikov, A., Tienari, J., & Piekkari, R. 2019. Gender in international business journals: A review and conceptualization of MNCs as gender social spaces. Journal of World Business, 54(1): 37-53. 


Lumineau, F., Hanisch, M., & Wurtz, O. 2021. International management as management of diversity: Reconceptualizing distance as diversity. Journal of Management Studies. 


Moeller, M., & Maley, J. F. 2018. MNC Considerations in identifying and managing LGB expatriate stigmatization. International Journal of Management Reviews, 20(2): 325-342. 


Morgan, G., & Kristensen, P. H. 2006. The contested space of multinationals: Varieties of institutionalism, varieties of capitalism. Human Relations, 59(11): 1467-1490. 


Rašković, M. 2021. (Social) identity theory in an era of identity politics: Theory and practice. AIB Insights, 21(2). 


Shoham, A. 2019. Grammatical gender marking: The gender roles mirror. AIB Insights, 19(4): 16–19. 


Stahl, G. K., Tung, R. L., Kostova, T., & Zellmer-Bruhn, M. 2016. Widening the lens: Rethinking distance, diversity and foreignness in international business research through positive organizational scholarship. Journal of International Business Studies, 47(6): 621-630. 


Thomas, D. A., & Ely, R. J. 1996. Making differences matter: A new paradigm for managing diversity. Harvard Business Review, 74(5): 79-90. 


Vaara, E., Tienari, J., & Koveshnikov, A. 2019. From cultural differences to identity politics: A critical discursive approach to national identity in multinational corporations. Journal of Management Studies. 


Zanakis, S. H., Newburry, W., & Taras, V. 2016. Global Social Tolerance Index and multi-method country rankings sensitivity. Journal of International Business Studies, 47(4): 480-497.


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