Call for Abstracts: Hybrid ISA World Congress of Sociology

Organizational Sociology for the hybrid ISA World Congress of Sociology
2023, Melbourne, Australia, June 25-July 1, 2023.

Deadline for submission of abstracts (max. 300 words) is September 30, 2022.

We are delighted to invite you to submit your abstracts for the ISA World Congress of Sociology 2023. The ISA World Congress of Sociology of the International Sociological Association offers a unique forum to discuss current developments with a global scholarship.

The Research Committee on Sociology of Organizations (RC17) calls for submissions related to the following 13 topics. All sessions accept submissions in English, many also in French and Spanish. The conference will take place in a hybrid format, meaning that you can choose to either participate in person on site or digitally.

More information under:

Call for Submissions: Employability, Research in the Sociology of Work


Call for Papers to be Published in Research in the Sociology of Work
Rick Delbridge, Markus Helfen, Andi Pekarek, and Gretchen Purser, editors

Employability has become an increasingly widespread concept both in management and policy,
reflecting significant transformations in the world of work. Employability refers to a broad and
amorphous collection of personal characteristics that purportedly make someone more able to
gain and maintain employment. It points beyond hard skills to things like attitude, flexibility,
emotional intelligence, resilience, initiative, and character. Framed as an attribute of a person,
individuals are thus lauded as “employable” or dismissed as “unemployable.” This rhetoric of
employability is intensely individualizing, shifting attention away from labor market structures
and dynamics and towards one’s self and personal capabilities and shortcomings. Rarely asking
the question of what “employability” may mean for employing organizations, employability
works hand in hand with the neoliberal doctrine on individual responsibility and
commodification, legitimating unemployment and labor market marginalization. Thus
responsibility – for skills development and employment opportunities – falls to individuals not
employers and the state.
Yet, for the individual worker, employability itself appears as a moving target and a never secure
status. Employability is therefore deemed to be something one must constantly pursue,
particularly given the precarious character of work and the erosion of long-term employment
relationships. For those in employment, the aggressive promotion and unending pursuit of
employability have exacerbated all those unremunerated but time-consuming activities that do
not count as work but are required to sell oneself to an employer and/or keep a toehold in the
labor market: networking, training, resume writing, character building, skill acquiring.
For those out of employment, employability animates a labor market policy in which all kinds of
state and nonprofit programs and street-level bureaucrats focus on helping individuals navigate

and maximize their chances in the labor market including “reprogramming” those deemed “hard-
to-employ”. The individualizing discourse of employability extends to coping with job loss and

the encouragement to be resilient and resourceful. Employability has similarly come to shape
schooling, vocational training, and higher education policy, with universities and schools
increasingly offering “career readiness” certification and subordinating academic aspirations to
hypothetical employer demands for ever-more “employable” job candidates.

This special issue of Research in the Sociology of Work invites papers that explore all aspects of
employability. We welcome both empirical and conceptual papers. Articles may address any of a
wide range of topics and themes, including but not limited to the following:
! Employability programs
! Employability and labor market policy
! The politics of employability
! Employability and educational practices and policies
! The cultural rhetoric of employability
! The “unemployable”
! Employability and disability
! Employability, inclusivity and inequality
! Gender, race, and employability
! Employability and identity
! Institutions of employability
! Unions and employability
! Employability in operation: HRM policy and practice
! Employment management work
! Employers and employability: Regulation and responsibilities
! Working time and employability investments

Submissions may be made at any time up until November 30, 2022. Please submit your
manuscript to and include “Employability” in the subject line.

Call for Submissions: Essentiality of Work, Research in the Sociology of Work

Essentiality of Work

Call for Papers to be Published in Research in the Sociology of Work

Rick Delbridge, Markus Helfen, Andi Pekarek and Gretchen Purser, editors

The Covid pandemic has had a variety of significant consequences for work, workers and
workplaces, the lasting effects of which are still to be determined. One of the more interesting
and complex of these has been the invocation of notions of essentiality. For example,
policymakers and the media have made wide reference to ‘essential work’ and ‘essential
workers’, shaping the ways in which governments have sought to respond to the crisis. Whether
work is essential or not has been (re-)discovered as an important question in public and
academic debate during periods of societal disruption, in this case caused by Covid, but also
important during earlier periods of crisis.

Such questions reveal the social character of work – and the socially constructed discourses that
shape and inform the nature of work, the experiences of workers and the wider perceptions of
these – in consequential ways. This rediscovery of essentiality alludes to the diverging societal
relevance attached to various types of work, but also reminds us of the questions of valuation
and valorization of different activities as work. What has been exposed is the jarring disconnect
between those whose roles have central significance to the functioning of society and everyday
life and the ‘value’ that society places upon their work. While essential work is often invisible
and forgotten in normal times, deemed to be subject to replacement and automation in polarized
labour markets and taking place in locations and sites distant from sanitized office spaces,
during periods of crisis those activities come to the fore. Unfortunately, the pay, status and
working conditions of many of those delivering essential work – including care work – are
inferior compared to other jobs and occupations. Indeed, much of this essential work is
undertaken by those suffering the greatest societal and economic disadvantages, including
women and immigrants.

There are deeper considerations that are also brought to the surface when contemplating the
meaning of essential work and workers, and the dimensions of the essentiality of work. These
discussions raise considerations about the centrality of the work experience in modern life for
those working and raise new questions about the essence of work and its place in contemporary

This issue of Research in the Sociology of Work seeks to shed new light on both the enduring
and newly emerging questions concerning the essentiality (or non-essentiality) of work by
publishing papers engaging with theoretical and empirical aspects of these questions. For
example, we are interested in understanding the perceptions and experiences of those labelled
‘essential workers’ during and after the Covid-19 crisis, and in comparative explorations in
the experiences of essential workers during other periods (e.g. the global financial crisis of
2007-2008) and across different geographies. We also encourage submissions that examine whether and how workers and their allies (e.g. unions) can mobilize positive public sentiment
towards essential work in campaigns for better pay and working conditions. Further, we are
interested in reflections on how government policies respond to the need for essential work to
be maintained and any legacies there may be in the future. We also welcome papers that
explore the methodological issues in how to research the essentiality of work and deeper
philosophical considerations of the meanings and consequences of ‘essential work’. In
exploring the concept of essentiality in its varieties, we invite contributions that seek to
expand the analytical potential of studying work from the bottom-up.

Articles can address any of a wide range of topics and themes, including but not limited to the
• Essential work in various sectors and industries such as care work, hospitals, transport,
and retail
• “Non-essential” work and workers
• Precarity, inequality, and essentiality
• Reproductive and care work
• Institutions and the boundaries of (non)essential work
• Valuation and valorization of essentiality of work and workers
• Discourses of essential work and essential workers
• Media portrayals of essential work
• Futures of essential work, pay, automation and skills
• Essential work in the context of the climate crisis
• Spaces and places of essentiality, including remote work
Submissions may be made at any time up until the extended deadline of August 31, 2022. Please
submit your manuscript to and include Essentiality in the subject line.

Job Posting: Assistant Professor, Social Stratification/Inequality, Quantitative Methods at Syracuse University

Social Stratification/Inequality and Quantitative Methods

Department, Rank, & Specialty: Sociology, Assistant Professor, Social Stratification/Inequality
and Quantitative Methods.

The Department of Sociology at Syracuse University invites applications for a position at the
rank of assistant professor in the areas of social stratification/inequality and quantitative
methods. We seek a scholar with expertise in the theories, concepts, and statistical methods for
sociological research on social stratification/inequality related to social class or other
dimensions of socioeconomic status. Specific topics of interest could include but are not limited
to recent patterns and trends in inequality; causes and consequences of inequality; the impact
of institutions, culture, power, politics, and globalization on inequality; and/or intersections
related to social class and other axes of inequality.
We seek candidates whose substantive interests in social stratification/inequality are paired
with advanced quantitative skills. These skills may include but are not limited to multilevel
modeling, machine learning, social networks, causal inference, and/or longitudinal methods.
Preference will be given to candidates who can also contribute to other strengths in the

department (please visit
department/research) as well as the Maxwell School more broadly.

Candidates must have a Ph.D. in Sociology or Demography and have a track record of, or show
potential for, success in academic publishing and securing external research funding.
Candidates must have the ability to teach undergraduate and graduate course in both social
stratification/inequality and advanced quantitative methods, as well as advise doctoral students
in sociology. We also seek candidates whose research, teaching, and service have prepared
them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and inclusion in higher education.
Review of applications will begin September 1, 2022. For consideration, interested candidates
must apply at by completing a brief faculty application. Candidates must
attach a letter of interest, curriculum vita, one publication or writing sample, research
statement, teaching statement, and a diversity statement. A list of names with contact
information for three references should be provided at the time of application. Applicants with
be notified prior to references being contacted.
Syracuse University is an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action institution. The University
prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, color, creed, religion, sex, gender,
national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender
identity and gender expression, veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law
to the extent prohibited by law. This nondiscrimination policy covers admissions, employment,
and access to and treatment in University programs, services, and activities.
To apply go to: Syracuse University Online Employment Site | Assistant Professor – Social
Stratification and Quantitative Methods (

Call for Submissions: Organization Studies, Special issue: Trust in Uncertain Times

Organization Studies Call for Papers – Special Issue on “Trust in Uncertain Times”

Organization Studies is soliciting submissions to its upcoming Special Issue on “Trust in
Uncertain Times.” The Special Issue is guest edited by CTS Director Oliver Schilke, CTS Board
Member Reinhard Bachmann, Kirsimarja Blomqvist, Rekha Krishnan, and Jörg Sydow. The
objective of the Special Issue is to serve as a focal point for theory development on and
empirical insights into the various ways in which trust and uncertainty intersect, with a special
emphasis on the role of institutions in explaining the interface between the two. The deadline
for submissions is June 30, 2023.

For more details, see the Call for Papers.

MORE information:

Trust has become one of the most widely researched topics in organization studies (de Jong, et
al., 2017). Often broadly understood as the willingness to make oneself vulnerable to the actions
of another party (Mayer, et al., 1995; Rousseau, et al., 1998), trust plays a central role in virtually
all intra- and inter-organizational interactions. Prior research suggests that trust can alleviate
concerns of opportunism, which reduces inter-partner conflict and transaction costs (Anderson,
et al., 2017; Zaheer, et al., 1998).
Although the study of trust represents a long-standing area of inquiry in organization studies,
several recent technological advancements and geopolitical developments have dramatically
changed the landscape in which trust is embedded, pointing to the need for a re-examination and
extension of earlier accounts. Perhaps most notably, the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution
(Schwab, 2017) is fundamentally altering both economic transactions and social exchange
(Meyer & Quattrone, 2021). Supported by unprecedented degrees of connectivity and processing
of vast amounts of data (Hanelt, et al., 2021), digital technologies provide significant
opportunities to re-design work and develop more open, flexible, and scalable organizing;
however, their fast development and complexity also create considerable uncertainty for
organizations. Digital technologies are transforming the nature of human interactions (Iansiti &
Lakhani, 2020), with profound impacts on organizations, organizing, and the organized (Alaimo,
forthcoming). Specifically, there are reasons to believe that digital technologies may cause trust
to become more institution-based (Lumineau, et al., 2020), with formal mechanisms substituting
for a history of interpersonal exchange as the source of trust. For instance, digital platforms
facilitate trust between strangers (Abrahao, et al., 2017; Kuwabara, 2015; Mikołajewska-Zając,
et al., forthcoming), blockchains can automate agreements with unknown partners (Hsieh, et al.,
2018; Lumineau, et al., 2021), and artificial intelligence (AI) helps in assessing partners’
trustworthiness (Liu, et al., 2014). As a result, trust may become comparatively less personal
(Seidel, 2018; Vanhala, et al., 2011) and more embedded in the institutional environment
(Bachmann & Inkpen, 2011).

These technological developments come amidst unprecedented levels of geopolitical uncertainty
and an accelerated decline of trust in institutions (Citrin & Stoker, 2018). Thought of as a relic
from the past, a new cold war seems to be possible again. The Russian invasion of Ukraine
exemplifies how key tenets of the economic world order—such as globalisation, free trade, and
democracy—are more fragile than many assumed. What is more, China has emerged as a new
superpower that is increasingly demanding its share of the global system of power and influence,
leading to tensions and new challenges. The world has been massively shaken by a pandemic
that has demonstrated the instability of trust in the absence of strong institutions (Fancourt, et al.,
2020) while highlighting the critical need for various forms of trust in times of distress (Schilke,
et al., 2021). In parallel, climate change will force humanity to completely rethink our energy
sourcing, with a substantial impact on almost every industry, transportation, and private

consumption, and trust in reliable institutions may represent a critical mechanism supporting pro-
environmental behaviour that could address this challenge (Smith & Mayer, 2018).

Our theories of trust in organizations and processes of organizing need to reflect these
transformative changes. Against this background, we believe it is both important and timely to
reassess the role of trust in intra- and inter-organizational settings to better understand how
relevant contemporary developments affect and are affected by trust. The ongoing disruptive
technological, political, and societal changes that are affecting organizations call for revisiting
the very concept of trust, along with its consequences and the processes that underly its
development, maintenance, and repair.
The objective of this Special Issue is to serve as a focal point for theory development on and
empirical insights into the various ways in which trust and uncertainty intersect, with a special
emphasis on the role of institutions in explaining the interface between the two.
The Special Issue invites submissions that make substantial contributions to our understanding of
trust in organized settings.
We embrace a wide variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. The range of

theoretical orientations may include institutional, structurationist, ethnomethodological, socio-
material, phenomenological, and beyond. Diverse methodological approaches are welcome,

including case studies, experiments, secondary data analyses, and surveys. Purely conceptual
papers, empirical investigations, and combinations of theoretical and empirical research will also
be considered.

Our interest is directed toward trust at various analytical levels (i.e., micro, meso, and macro-
levels), as long as organizations or organizing have a central place in the analysis. At the micro

level, for instance, we find it worthwhile to revisit the role of ‘facework’ (Giddens, 1990),
boundary work (Weber, et al., forthcoming), and rituals (Collins, 2004; Krishnan, et al., 2021) in

organizational settings, as such analyses will be clearly geared toward a better understanding of
the relationship between trust and institutional arrangements in uncertain contexts.
Below, we list a total of nine exemplary research topics that we believe will provide useful
springboards for contributions that fit the scope of the special issue. However, submissions do
not have to be limited to these themes.
Potential Research Topics

  • Uncertainty and trust. Uncertainty, in its various forms, is inseparably linked to the
    concept of trust. Uncertainty is often thought of as a precondition for trust, in that trust
    tends to be more relevant when uncertainty is high (Deutsch, 1958; Yamagishi, et al.,
    1998). Yet, it is precisely under conditions of high uncertainty when trust is particularly
    difficult to produce, given the trustor’s difficulty to reliably predict the trustee’s level of
    trustworthiness. Thus, many forms of trust production, and in particular institution-based
    trust production mechanisms, are fundamentally aimed at reducing uncertainty
    (Bachmann, 2001; Zucker, 1986). Taken together, these two positions result in an
    intriguing paradox (Krishnan, et al., 2006; Yamagishi, 2011): trust is more important
    when uncertainty is high but its presence reduces this very uncertainty. Given their
    complex interplay, we need greater insight into how different forms of uncertainty and
    trust coevolve and are reciprocally intertwined.
  • A broader understanding of institution-based trust. Institutions are central to
    prominent accounts of trust production (Bachmann & Inkpen, 2011; Fuglsang & Jagd,
    2015; Möllering, 2006; Nooteboom, 2007; Owen & Currie, forthcoming; Schilke, et al.,
    2017; Zucker, 1986), but most of these discussions have focused on a rather limited set of

institutions, such as reputation systems and intermediaries. Broadly understood as taken-
for-granted, normatively sanctioned role structures and interaction orders (Ocasio, et al.,

2017), institutions are everywhere (albeit certainly not everything, Ocasio & Gai, 2020).
They exist at several levels of analysis—ranging from dyadic relationships to
organizations, inter-organizational networks, organizational fields, societies, and the
world system. Armed with this insight, we need to expand our repertoire of institutions
that shape the production of trust in a wide variety of contexts. Embracing the contingent
nature of trust production, we need to address the following question: What types of
institutions effectively support or restrict which types of trust in what settings? How is
trust in one institution intertwined with trust in another institution?

  • Platform-enabled institutions and trust. It is also important to explore the ways
    institutions may serve as substitutes (rather than bases) for trust by eliminating the
    vulnerability of actors that is often seen as a defining feature of trust (Cook, 2015). One
    case in point are platform-enabled peer-to-peer reputation systems, which have emerged
    as important online institutions shaping exchanges through mechanisms such as peer
    feedback (Bauman & Bachmann, 2017; Kuwabara, 2015). Do such institutional
    arrangements indeed foster trust, or do they safeguard exchange partners against
    opportunism by enforcing cooperation? Under what conditions can platform-based
    institutions give rise to trusting communities?


  • Micro-level mechanisms of the trust and institutions nexus. Institutions are a key
    source of trust production, but the precise mechanisms through which they create trust are
    largely unknown (Zucker & Schilke, 2020). Why do people trust individuals and
    organizations that are institutionally endorsed? In particular, what role does legitimacy—
    as a key institutional process—play in institution-based trust production? Conversely,
    what are the mechanisms through which trust affects actors’ engagement with
  • Trust of meso-level institutions. The notion that institutions can be a target of trust is
    largely uncontroversial; however, the questions of whether and in what ways formal
    institutions—including organizations—have the capacity to place trust in other actors
    have often been ignored (but see Sydow, 2006). We need a better theoretical account for
    elaborating organizations’ capacity to trust that avoids merely anthropomorphizing
    collective entities. In what ways is trust placed by collective actors similar to and
    different from trust placed by individuals? Are the drivers of individuals’ trust
    generalizable to those of organizations’ trust?
  • Macro-level institutions and trust. There are substantial differences among institutions
    embedded in distinct national environments (Henisz & Swaminathan, 2008; North,
    1990); similarly, trust is known to differ markedly across nations (Lane & Bachmann,
    1996; Yamagishi & Yamagishi, 1994). Nonetheless, a systematic account of how
    country-level institutions shape trust at the individual and organizational levels is largely
    lacking. Thus, we ask these questions: Which types of regulatory, normative, and
    cognitive institutions at the country level can explain generalized trust? Moreover, is
    there a reciprocal effect of generalized trust on the emergence of country-level
  • Institutionalisation of trust. In some cases, the amount of trust placed is the result of a
    deliberate and reflective cognitive process that systematically weighs the pros and cons
    (Hardin, 1992); however, in many other cases, trust represents a rather automatic and
    highly institutionalised process (Kroeger, 2011, 2013; Schilke, et al., 2013). We need to
    know more about this institutionalised side of trust—under what circumstances it is likely
    to dominate and what (positive and negative) consequences it may entail. Particularly
    useful would be a process-oriented approach (e.g., Brattström, et al., 2019; Weber, et al.,
    forthcoming) that identifies relevant stages in the institutionalisation of trust—for
    instance, ranging from habitualisation to objectification to sedimentation (Berger &
    Luckmann, 1966; Tolbert & Zucker, 1996) and deinstitutionalisation (Clemente &
    Roulet, 2015). What are the mechanisms explaining the shift from one stage to another,
    and what conditions affect the pace at which the institutionalisation process may unfold
    in organizations and society as a whole?
  • Erosion of trust in institutions. Institutions that enjoy public trust are a bedrock of
    society as we know it, yet trust in institutions is in stark decline, raising concerns about
    the rise of populism and conspiracy theories (Hosking, 2019). The reasons for this
    downward trend have remained largely elusive and require greater elaboration. Going

beyond interactions between citizens and the state, trust in public institutions has
important trickle-down effects on trust in private and public organizations. Examining the
nested nature of these trust relations—that is, how trust in institutions is related to trust in
organizations and individuals—provides much potential for approaching trust from a
systems perspective that allows for appreciating the relational complexity in trust
dynamics in society.

  • Digital technologies and trust. The decline of trust in institutions has coincided with the
    advent of digital technologies. Several aspects of digital technologies—including
    blockchains, big data, and AI—may have critical implications for trust in organizational
    o An increasing number of organizations consider the adoption of blockchains for
    structuring a wide variety of transactions (Lumineau, et al., 2021). In what ways
    and under which conditions do blockchains complement and/or substitute for
    trust? And how do blockchains alter the nature of trust if economic actors are no
    longer directly connected and may not even know each other (Hsieh, et al., 2018)?
    o Big data may come with huge benefits for society but also significant potential for
    misuse (Symons & Alvarado, 2016), and overreliance on big data analytics may
    transform organizations into near total institutions where conformity is enforced
    via constant surveillance (Anteby & Chan, 2018; Newlands, 2021). How may
    trusting communities emerge despite digital surveillance, and how can digital
    surveillance systems be used in a trustworthy fashion?
    o As AI is increasingly taking over decision making within and between
    organizations (Glikson & Woolley, 2020; Kaur, et al., 2022), the trustworthiness
    of this technology becomes an important issue (Shrestha, et al., 2019; Srinivasan
    & Chander, 2021). As a result, we need to reassess the age-old question of when
    opaque technological systems can be (dis)trusted.

Submitting your paper
Please submit your manuscript through the journal’s online submission system
( ). You will need to create a user account if you do not
already have one, and you must select the appropriate Special Issue at the “Manuscript Type”
option. The Special Issue Editors handle all manuscripts in accordance with the journal’s policies
and procedures; they expect authors to follow the journal’s submission guidelines You can submit your manuscript for this
Special Issue between June 8 and June 30 2023. For administrative support and general queries,
you may contact Sophia Tzagaraki, Managing Editor of Organization Studies, at


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New Publication: Negotiating Racialized Organizational Spaces and Intimacies: An Ethnography of Playpen Strip Club.

Hi OOW members! Today we’re sharing a new publication from Cristina Silva, Michelle Newton-Francis and Salvador Vidal-Ortiz:

Citation: Silva, Cristina, Michelle Newton-Francis, and Salvador Vidal-Ortiz. 2022. “Negotiating Racialized Organizational Spaces and Intimacies: An Ethnography of Playpen Strip Club.” Gender, Work & Organization: 1–18.


Based on 18 months of ethnographic research in a Northeast corridor strip club we call Playpen, we engage sex negotiations, erotic service exchanges, and the circulation of desire within an informal, weekly “Latina Night” event. We treat Playpen as a gendered and racialized organization in which patrons, dancers, and employees manage established, yet unspoken rules. Labor interactions and dynamics between dancers and clients are racialized when gesturing toward bodily currency – which materializes in tips, drinks, paid lap dances, and more exclusive attention; dancers compete for such currency, using their selection of music and dance, movements, adornments, body modifications and emotional labor. Selected pairings negotiate open spaces by turning pockets of the club into semi-private, intimate ones. Dancers’ and clients’ gendered and racialized notions of currency (in this case, racialized Latinidad) clash, ultimately serving the club in keeping “Latina Night” in place. 

Call for Submissions: Special Issue on Sustainable Work and Employment in Social Care, Human Resource Management

Call for Papers


Guest Editors:

Ian Kessler (King’s College London, UK,
Aoife McDermott (Cardiff University, UK,
Valeria Pulignano (KU Leuven, Belgium,
Lander Vermeerbergen (Radboud University, The Netherlands,

Brian Harney (Dublin City University,

Rationale and objectives:
The social care workforce supports the most vulnerable members of society through the
provision of personal support and practical assistance, typically in a community, residential or
domestic setting. Yet this is a workforce itself vulnerable to low pay, precarious employment,
and limited career development opportunities (Harley et al., 2010; Rubery et al., 2015). Despite
these challenges, and indeed the significant and growing scale of the social care workforce in
most developed countries (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022), social care work and
employment have received limited attention in the HRM literature, particularly relative to the
healthcare sector (Cooke & Bartram, 2015). While the health and social care sectors are
interdependent, often dealing with the same vulnerable groups at different stages of their care
journey, they remain structurally and organizationally distinct. Social care is a fragmented
sector, comprising many small and medium-sized care providers, limiting their capacity to
develop a supportive HRM infrastructure, in turn contributing to endemic problems of
recruiting and retaining staff in the sector. Most recently liberalization has introduced new
market forces into the sector placing downward pressures on workforce terms and conditions
as employers seek to compete on the basis of cost (Hermann & Flecker, 2012).
The workforce challenges in social care have become even more pressing in the wake of
COVID-19. Often treated by policy makers as the ‘poor relation’ to healthcare in fighting the
pandemic, social care has been inadequately prepared and resourced to deal with the crisis,
placing inordinate and intense job demands on employees (Barnett & Grabowski, 2020).
Indeed, COVID has generated new workforce concerns for the sector, relating to: employee
well-being; the balance between risk and reward; and the effective articulation of employee
voice (Butterick & Charlwood, 2020; Johnson & Pulignano, 2021). In focusing on social care,
this Special Issue aims to deepen understanding of workforce management in a much neglected
but growing sector, emerging from a crisis with challenges to traditional assumptions about the
low value and poor treatment of its workforce. The Special Issue is keen to bring together
international, comparative, and critical perspectives on the nature, causes and consequences of
employment systems in social care. It seeks to shape the future research agenda on HRM in the
social care sector, and to contribute to the development of policy and practice as a means of
improving care and the quality of life for those giving and receiving it.

Potential theoretical advancement and practical significance:
Social care work and employment raise myriad theoretical issues. First, multi-level analysis
allows for contributions examining cross national, national, organizational, and individual

employee approaches to and experiences of work and employment in social care. However, the
Special Issue provides a chance to consider how these different levels interact with one another,
shaping developments and experiences. Thus, there is an opportunity to draw upon and
contribute to institutional theory, for instance, by examining how the form assumed by national
welfare states influences the architecture of employment systems in the social care sector, in
turn influencing choices available to and constraints on social care employers as they manage
their workforces and with implications for how employees experience work.
Second, with the social care workforce heavily feminized and often ethnically diverse,
theoretical issues on or relating to the value (or lack of) attached to the care work performed
by these employees move ‘center stage’. The intersection between gender and ethnicity,
perhaps overlapping with migrant status, assumes particular importance in explaining the
often-precarious working lives of social care workers (Burns et al., 2016; Rubery et al., 2015).
Closely related there is scope to advance theory on segmented labor markets, especially the
creation of secondary labor markets for social care workers, generating low paid, low status
jobs. Employers are often “the architects of inequalities in labor markets’ (Grimshaw et al.,
2017) encouraging an interest in whether, why and how social care providers, perhaps along
with other actors such as the State, contribute to the degraded work and employment terms and
conditions of their workforce.
Third, the Special Issue is keen to theorize on the relationship between workforce management
and organizational outcomes in social care. The strategic HRM literature (SHRM) centers on
the connection between HRM practices and organizational performance, principally viewed in
terms of financial outcomes (profit, shareholder value) (Boxall & Purcell, 2011). In social care,
organizational performance assumes a very different form, for example, as public value
(Brewer, 2013), along with the well-being of vulnerable community members. This prompts
interest in whether and how the management of the social care workforce impacts these
outcomes. The mainstream SHRM literature focuses on a positive link between organizational
performance and ‘soft’ workforce management practices, typically characterized as ‘high
commitment’ or ‘high involvement’ (Guest, 2017). This would appear to be at odds with the
‘harder’ cost minimization practices often associated with the social care sector.
Finally, the Special Issue can advance theory on interest aggregation and articulation,
particularly given the various actors involved in HRM in social care, with shared, but often
conflicting interests. Stakeholder interaction has been studied through various perspectives
within the HRM literature (Heery, 2017), with pluralists and radical approaches focusing on
traditional HRM actors – employers, workers, and the State – typically seeking to manage
tensions through the collective regulation of employment. In social care, other potential HRM
actors come to the fore (Vermeerbergen et al., 2021), for example: the generic user of social
care services, their family, and friends; civil society organizations, representing these user
interests; and individuals with lived experience of conditions – homelessness, substance abuse,
mental illness – increasingly employed in the social care sector workforce (Kessler & Bach,
2011). Whether, and how these new stakeholders combine with more traditional actors to
address shared workforce issues, and with what consequences, becomes a central issue, not
least given the generally disorganized nature of employment regulation in social care.
Contributions might use and contribute to mobilization or advocacy coalition (Tattersall, 2010)
theory, with paradox theory helping to examine how different and competing interests of
groups might be balanced and pursued (Jarzabkowski et al., 2013).

Key themes/scope of focus:
Broadly aligned with the four theoretical streams outlined above, this Special Issue invites
papers to discuss themes and issues including but not limited to the following:
Theme 1: Antecedents of sustainable work and employment systems in social care:
• How do national models of the welfare state, and approaches to the delivery and funding
of social care impact the sector’s employment system?
• How resilient has this employment system been? Has it been subject to change, for
example in the context of austerity or financialization bringing forth new types of social
care provider, and with what implications for the social care workforce, HRM and its
• How and to what extent are key challenges like recruiting and retaining staff in the
social care sector effectively addressed by national and organizational policies?
Theme 2: Workforce diversity and precarious employment in social care
• Why and how do secondary labor markets founded on low pay, low status, insecure
employment, and poor career development opportunities emerge in social care?
• How do gender, ethnicity, and migrant status intersect to shape the work and
employment treatment and experience of social care workers?
• To what extent and how will the workforce challenges exposed by Covid be addressed
by the State, employers, labor unions and other actors, not least in securing a fairer
balance between the high societal value displayed by a largely feminized social care
workforce and the rewards received?
Theme 3: Strategic HRM in social care
• Are there examples of ‘best practice’ in the management of the social care workforce,
whether in terms of pay, career development, work design, workforce planning or skill
mix, and is the adoption of such practice related to organizational outcomes?
• How developed is the specialist HR function in social care, especially given the small
and medium sized nature of many social care providers, and what role do line managers
play in dealing with the social care workforce?
• With care delivered to different user groups in a variety of settings – care homes for the
elderly and children at risk, sheltered accommodation for those with disabilities and
personal residences for those with less severe chronic conditions, does the treatment of
the workforce vary according to these market segments and if so how and why?
Theme 4: New HRM actors in social care
• Are new HRM actors, such as civil society organizations, services users, volunteers,
and personal assistants playing a role in shaping the workforce management agenda in
social care, and if so, what forms does it take?
• Are coalitions in social care being developed between traditional HRM actors, for
example trade unions, and newer actors to pursue shared and complementary goals?
• In wake of Covid are employees and perhaps employers seeking a stronger employee
voice in social care, and the development of collective institutions to regulate work and
employment relations?

Submission Process:
Authors can submit their paper between March 1st – 31st 2023 to HRM for review. Details on
the manuscript submission process will be made available nearer to the submission period.

Papers should be prepared and submitted according to the journal’s
All papers will be subject to the same double-blind peer review process as regular issues of
The management of social care work and employment can be studied through various
disciplinary lenses, with this Special Issue providing scope for collaborations between scholars
from, for example, public management, public policy, and finance as well as HRM. The papers
do, however, need to relate and contribute to debates in the field of HRM, advancing theory
and practice.
If you have questions about a potential submission, we encourage you to make email contact:

Submission Window: March 1st – 31st 2023

Call for Research Assistants: Census Book Project with danah boyd

Freelance Research Assistant Positions: danah boyd, 2020 Census Book Project

I am seeking ~3 research assistants to provide support on my current book project about the 2020 U.S. census (title still tbd, under contract with University of Chicago Press). These freelance positions will each require approximately 80-100 hours somewhere between July and October.

For the last four years, I have conducted ethnographic fieldwork inside the U.S. Census Bureau and among census stakeholders; I have also conducted over 100 interviews with informants involved in this process. I am currently writing a book on my findings to examine the technical, social, and political production of data. The book focuses on how government officials at the Census Bureau averted a series of near-disasters to produce the Constitutionally required data only to face significant threats to the legitimacy of the work.

As a researcher and writer, I start with empirical data and build from there. I have already produced a first draft that is rich with empirical material. In subsequent drafts I am seeking research assistance to thicken my engagement with relevant literatures and currently scholarly debates. Much of my writing implicitly invokes different literatures, but I need to ensure that these conversations are legible to scholars from different fields. I am looking for RAs who are familiar with the literature that I’m engaging with, can push me to ensure that I am actively and strategically engaging with said literature, and can point me to literature I am less familiar with. This book crosses multiple disciplines and multiple literatures – and it is quite likely that I have significant gaps in my knowledge that I should contend with. In short, these RAships are a form of deeply engaged peer review.

I am looking for RAs who are already well-versed in at least one of the literatures I’m engaging with though coursework, qualifying exams, dissertation writing, or their own publications. The key literatures that are woven throughout this book include:

  • STS. Lots on infrastructures and sociotechnical imaginaries with a mix of SCOT, feminist STS, and occasionally some ANT (sans Latour ::wink::).
  • Organizational sociology. Much of this is a public-sector orgs ethnography of the Diane Vaughn or Janet Vertesi style. I’m also looking at organizational failure and resilience, and organizational communication.
  • History of statistics/politics of numbers. Think Porter, Daston, Gallison, Hacking, Bouk, James Scott.
  • Public administration (and some administrative law), with a U.S. bent. Think Dan Carpenter, Pamela Herd, Don Moynihan, Elizabeth Popp Berman, David Pozen.

I am also picking up assorted other literatures along the way. Right now, I connect haphazardly to literatures on “partnerships,” activism, and multi-stakeholder engagement; legitimacy, agnotology, and conflicting epistemic constructions; network power; and various threads connected to political science. All of this needs to be strengthened in future drafts. (Needless to say, I’m also engaging deeply with census-related histories, including those concerning the history of race and the census, but I am not looking for help in this area.)

Responsibilities. RAs will be asked to read the partially written book with an eye towards the literature they’re responsible for (e.g., “sts” or “organizational sociology”) and engage me in both written (aka email/trackbacks) and oral (aka Teams/Zoom) modes. They will be asked to challenge my use of the literature, flag where I should be engaging with the literature better/differently/more, and suggest additional literature for me to engage with based on their own knowledge of the debates. I will also ask the RAs where to place certain literature/arguments based on their read. RAs may be encouraged to write footnotes and commentary based on their knowledge; some of this may be used in the final book (with credit).  RAs might also be asked to track down specific literature or trace the lineage of certain arguments. RAs are not expected to have any knowledge about the census (and it may be better if they do not). Think: non-anonymous paid peer review where you get to flag all the missing literature!

Compensation and Logistics. These are hourly contractor positions, paid at $25/hour. My expectation is that the basic work will take 80-100 hours; additional hours may be available depending on the quality of the work. Ideally, the work will take place in August or September, although some early work is possible in July and there may be additional work in October. As freelancers, RAs will need to invoice me for their hours and will be responsible for their own taxes, equipment, library access, healthcare, etc. (Freelancers are also responsible for the knowing their jurisdiction’s rules on accepting contract pay.) The hours are flexible, although I ask RAs to keep me abreast of their progress. Those who complete the work in a satisfactory manner (and anyone whose work is directly used) will also be acknowledged in the book.

Please note: I am hiring these contractor positions directly; these freelance RA positions are not associated with any organizations with which I am affiliated. I cannot support visas, provide library access, or otherwise offer organizational support.  
Qualifications. These positions are intended for RAs who are already well-versed in at least one of the relevant literatures. Qualified RAs might have taken their qualifying exams in these areas or written extensively on related topics. I do not expect any one RA to be familiar with all of the various academic literatures; I am looking for complementary RAs with diverse knowledge sets. Preference will be given to those who approach literature from a citational justice perspective. While these positions are envisioned for ABD PhD students, those with equivalent experience are welcome to apply. Postdocs, alt-ac scholars, and other post-graduate school researchers may find this work to be a fulfilling complement to their own work.

Ideal qualities include:

  • Depth and breadth of relevant scholarly literature in at least one of STS, sociology, public administration, or related fields. Know the literature and the debates.
  • Reliable with strong organization and written communication skills, as well as attention to detail. You provide the schedule and stick to it.
  • Comfort challenging my interpretation/analysis and pushing me to go deeper/rethink my argument. The Reviewer #2 you wish you had.
  • Able to easily explain the key arguments of a scholar’s work in a way that makes the ideas shine. Relish the inner professorial desires.
  • Familiarity with Zotero, Microsoft Word, Dropbox, and relevant research library search engines. Know your tools.

To Apply. Please send the following information to me at  

  • Cover letter that includes why you are interested and describes your experience and which literatures you are familiar with.
  • CV that reflects your experience as a scholar.
  • A document that reflects the relevant literature that you know well. This could be your qualifying exam reading list, a syllabus you taught/TAed, a paper you wrote with a relevant bibliography, an annotated bibliography, or equivalent document.  

Deadline. I will begin reviewing applicants on July 1, 2022 and continue accepting applications until the positions are filled.

Questions? Do not hesitate to reach out to me directly at  If you would like to see if this project is substantively of interest to you, I am happy to share a draft of the introduction in advance.

Call for Student Interns: Board of Graduate Interns at the Socio-Economic Review


Socio-Economic Review (SER) is calling for applications to its Board of Graduate Interns. Published by Oxford University Press, SER is the official journal of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE), and is an international journal with contributors from all over the world. SER’s core mandate is to understand the socio-political foundations of the economy and the intersection between economy and society. Articles in SER explore how the economy is or should be governed by social relations, institutional rules, political decisions, and cultural values. The journal also focuses on inequalities and politics. SER receives about five hundred article manuscripts a year, and publishes four issues per year and less than 10% of submissions. 5-year impact factor (2020) is 5.741.

Graduate interns will help with tasks such as initial manuscript selection, finding and evaluating reviewers, organizing book symposia published in the journal, promoting recent articles published in SER, and doing research on SER that goes into the journal’s annual report. Interns will participate in online monthly meetings. The workload will be proportional to that of an independent reading course. The members of the Board of Graduate Interns will be listed by name in the impressum of the journal. Graduate interns will receive free membership and registration for the annual conference of SASE.

 The internship runs September to August.

Graduate interns must have successfully completed the first two years of their doctoral program in any social science discipline. Prior editorial experience is a plus.

This is a truly exciting opportunity to learn about article publishing, to build professional networks and to see the latest research in the field. 

To apply, send your letter of intent and a CV to and with a subject SER Student Interns by August 1, 2022.

New Publication: Diversity Initiatives in the US Workplace: A Brief History, Their Intended and Unintended Consequences

Hi OOW members! Today we’re sharing a new publication by Sandra Portocarrero and James T. Carter!


Portocarrero, Sandra, and James T. Carter. “Diversity Initiatives in the US Workplace: A Brief History, Their Intended and Unintended Consequences.” Sociology Compass, May 24, 2022.


Diversity initiatives are designed to help workers from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve equitable opportunities and outcomes in organizations. However, these programs are often ineffective. To better understand less-than-de- sired outcomes and the shifting diversity landscape, we synthesize literature on how corporate affirmative action programs became diversity initiatives and current literature on their effectiveness. We focus specifically on work deal- ing with mechanisms that make diversity initiatives effective as well as their unintended consequences. When taken together, these literature point to several inequality-specific omissions in contemporary discussions of organizational diversity initiatives, such as the omission of racial inequality. As we contend in the first section of this review, without affirmative action law, which initially tasked US employers with ending racial discrimination at the workplace, we would not have diversity initiatives. We conclude by providing directions for future research and elaborating on several core foci that scholars might pursue to better (re)connect issues of organizational diversity with the aims of equity, equality and social justice.


affirmative action, diversity initiatives, organizations, US workplace