Call for Papers: Special Issue of the Journal of Professions and Organization

Special Issue of the Journal of Professions and Organization: Diversity and Inclusion in Changing Professional Organizations

Swethaa Ballakrishnen, University of California, Irvine
David Brock, Ben-Gurion University
Elizabeth Gorman, University of Virginia

Contemporary scholars have shed considerable light on processes of gender, racial-ethnic, and social class inequality in traditional professional organizations. Yet much has happened over the past two or three decades to reshape contexts for professional services, as well as the kinds of individuals who populate them. Alongside older organizational forms, there have been shifts to institutionalize new kinds of work resulting in larger and more bureaucratic organizational logics across professional fields. Many have established different kinds of transnational presences with continuing implications for the interrelated relationships between the local and the global across sites. Liberalized regulatory structures in many countries permit new organizational structures and forms of ownership. Artificial intelligence and information technology have replaced and transformed the work that professionals once have done and/or need to do much longer. New occupations that lack longstanding professional traditions, such as data scientists and project managers, are now providing “professional” knowledge-based services. These structural changes have, in turn, had important effects on individual capacities, outcomes, and experiences. At the broadest levels, inequality in income, status, and autonomy within professions has grown. At the same time, there have been new kinds of inequities buttressed as progress, and new rewards to interactional capital. The demographics of the kinds of individuals who seek (and are sought within) these professional milieus are changing, strategic corporate investments as they relate to global social movements have begun to offer new kinds of opportunities, and these changes have resulted in corresponding changes within professional experiences and environments.

What do these myriad changes and movements across different levels of analysis mean for gender, racial ethnic, class, and other forms of difference and inequality in professional organizations? At the individual level, do the same mechanisms of bias and exclusion previously identified in traditional professional service firms—such as stereotyping and preference for social similarity—continue to affect career outcomes as before? Do these changes have different implications for different demographic groups, or in different geographic sites? What career strategies do individual professionals utilize as they seek to navigate these changing waters? At the organizational level, what practices and structures promote or hinder diversity and inclusion? How have professional organizations sought to manage their increasing diversity? Which deliberate interventions are most effective, and which conflict with other organizational practices and goals? How, if at all, have clients influenced professional organizations’ efforts with respect to diversity and inclusion?

To address these and related questions, we invite scholarly papers from a wide range of disciplines and academic perspectives. We welcome submissions that address different levels of analysis (individual, firm, interactional, field) and make use of a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods. We especially encourage authors who investigate new forms of inequality, new managerial and organizational approaches to diversity and inclusion, and research on sites that are transnational, comparative, and/or global. If you have questions about whether you project might be a fit, please reach out to one or more of the guest editors (,,

Deadline for full papers: June 15, 2021 Submit via:

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