CfP on Diversity and Business Storytelling

Call for Papers on `Diversity and Business Storytelling’

 As part of the series “A World Scientific Encyclopedia of Business Storytelling” (edited by David Boje and Regents Professor), contributions are sought for a proposed volume on Diversity and Business Storytelling (with a submissions delivery date of January 15, 2021).

In the words of David Boje, the overall series seeks “to extend new theories of prospective sensemaking, quantum storytelling (how humans are connected to the environment, not separate), and the relation of narrative-counter narrative dialectics to dialogic webs of multiplicity.” To that end, the series seeks “new business story paradigms that go beyond mere social constructivism, short-term shareholder wealth maximization, and disembodied textual narratives to the work in embodiment, critical accounts for the voiceless and marginalized, socioeconomic storytelling for socially responsible capitalism, and true storytelling principles as an alternative to fake news and fake leadership that infects the old business storytelling paradigm.” Boje and Rosile (in press) are attempting to bring together a critical ‘Storytelling Science’ paradigm.

At first sight it may appear that business and storytelling are two very different endevours; one involving a series of activities to produce services, products, profits, etc., and the other involving the use of tales to explain and make sense of innumerable social activities (Weick, 1995). More often than not, the two are aligned as those involved in business activities seek to explain and support those activities. Examples at the individual level include stories of the `self-made’ man (sic), the characteristics of the successful entrepreneur (Weber, 1967), the transformational leader (Mittal & Dhar, 2015), etc. At the company level examples include corporate histories of successful activities that explain how the company has remained in business over time and the use of artefacts of the past to lend a sense of history to the company’s operations (Corke, 1986; Gunn, 1985). At the industry (or field) level there are accounts that serve to explain such things as the link between strategy (Chandler, 1977), other practices (Pugh & Hickson, 1976; Woodward, 1958) and organizational survival, legitimacy, efficiencies, etc., (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983). And at the overall socio-economic level there are numerous accounts valuing the economic, political, and philosophical outcomes of capitalism (Burnham, 1941; Chandler, 1984; Drucker, 1939, 1942; Fukuyama, 2006) and post-colonial relationships (Banerjee & Linstead, 2001).

Although not uncontested, these various tales of business have collectively served over time to privilege for-profit organizations (Donaldson, 1985; McQuaid, 1994) as the model of economic organization, philosophy, and politics (Drucker, 1947); as the primary and favoured form of organizing economic life (Drucker, 1939); as the main or only legitimate form of organization control and management (Hayek, 1944). In the process business and capitalism became interwoven in ways that cast owner (Marx, 1999), manager (Burnham, 1941), employee (Jacques, 1996) and the market (Burns & Stalker, 1961) as central forms of organizational activity and thought (Bendix, 1974). It has not also shaped the character of business activity but the characters at the heart of those activities, namely, white, upper-class, Western men (Acker, 1990; Jacques, 1997; Prasad, 2012).

Beneath, in tandem with, and/or a reflection on, tales from the field of business there has been another formidable set of stories that has helped to shape the notion of business; namely, the field of business studies (Khurana, 2007). Arguably, the development of business studies as a field of enquiry not only reproduced tales from the field but drew on it to define business studies as a specific area of scientific enquiry; one linked to the professionalization of the business manager (Khurana, 2007). In the process, the field of business studies largely excluded alternative modes of organizing (Foster, Mills, & Weatherbee, 2014; Parker, 2002; Weick, 1995).  Paradoxically, in the quest for scientific legitimacy (Khurana, 2007), one of the most successful attempts to teach business studies has been the advent of the Harvard University case study method (Copeland, 1958; McDonald, 2017). Here we have an essentially fictional account of a business problem written in a way that is presented to the reader (the potential manager) as a `real life’ situation with scientifically established behavioural outcomes. Regardless of how it was intended, the central character is more-often-than-not presented as a white male who is primarily interested in profitability, efficiency and the bottom line (Nkomo, 1992). In other words, it is not only scenarios that are constructed but people who are privileged, ignored and/or marginalized. It is to the processes of marginalization, ignorance and alternative accounts that this volume turns.

We are seeking contributions that explore the various ways that images of the other are developed, presented, and accounted for through powerful and dominant narratives. We are looking for papers that, collectively, help us to understand, resist, and provide strategies of change through various analyses of how business narratives come to develop, get written, are legitimized, are challenged, and get changed over time.

This volume on ‘Diversity and Business Storytelling’ will provide insights into stories fostering the idea and characterization of diversity, including, but not limited to:

  • Cyborgs and other narratives (Haraway, 2006)
  • Network activities and discriminatory tales (Hartt, Durepos, Mills, & Helms Mills, 2017)
  • The role of history and the past in gendered tales of the present (Williams & Mills, 2017)
  • Revisiting classic tales (Acker & Van Houten, 1974)
  • Business narratives and voices from the South (Prasad, 2003)
  • Antenarratives  (Boje, 2010)
  • Case studies as gendered narratives (Godwin, 2017)
  • Business storytelling and gendered narration (Calás & Smircich, 1996)
  • Archival silences and other narratives of marginalization (Decker, 2013)
  • Boundary narratives and decolonizing thought (Mignolo, 1991)
  • Deconstructing organizational stories through a postcolonial lens (Said, 1978)
  • Business storytelling and intersectional characterizations (Brah & Phoenix, 2004)
  • Going Against the Grain and other alternative narratives of business (Prasad, 2012)
  • Dominant narratives and the voices of the Subaltern (Spivak, 1988)
  • Voices of the South and new perspectives of business theory (Faria, Ibarra-Colado, & Guedes, 2010)
  • Reframing Diversity Management (Faria, 2015)
  • Stories of self and resistance (Katila & Merilainen, 2002)


Chapters should explore stories/narratives used in the process of producing ideas of diversity. There is no methodological preference for this chapter and authors may use any forms of method ranging from liberal to transnational feminist approaches (Calás & Smircich, 2006).    

Submissions should be no more than thirty pages, double spaced, times new roman 12 font, with one-inch margins.  All questions regarding chapters should be directed to Jean Helms Mills, volume editor ( 

Proposals for chapters should be no more than three double spaced pages and are due on May 22, 2019.   


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Banerjee, S. B., & Linstead, S. (2001). Globalization, multiculturalism and other fictions: Colonialism for the new millennium? Organization, 8(4), 683-722.

Bendix, R. (1974). Work and Authority in Industry. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

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Katila, S., & Merilainen, S. (2002). Self in research: hopelessly entangled in the gendered organizational culture. In I. Aaltio & A. J. Mills (Eds.), Gender, Identity and the Culture of Organizations (pp. 185-200). London: Routledge.

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Williams, K. S., & Mills, A. J. (2017). Frances Perkins: gender, context and history in the neglect of a management theorist. Journal of Management History, 23(1), 32-50. doi:10.1108/jmh-09-2016-0055

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