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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Stella M. Nkomo and Akram Al Ariss

– The purpose of this paper is to trace the genealogy of ethnic (white) privilege in US organizations and its continuing significance in organizations today.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to trace the genealogy of ethnic (white) privilege in US organizations and its continuing significance in organizations today.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper relies upon the historical literature on work, culture, and society found primarily in the fields of labor history and sociology. It also references contemporary organization studies and sociological literature to illustrate the continuing significance of ethnic (white) privilege in the workplace.

Findings

There is an inexorable link between European global expansion and colonization, industrialization, and the racialization/ethnicization of nineteenth and twentieth century US organizations. Furthermore, the particular manifestations of ethnic (white) privilege today must be understood within its historical development and the new meanings whiteness has acquired within the workplace if scholars and practitioners are to be successful in creating inclusive workplaces.

Research limitations/implications

The focus in this paper is on the USA and ethnic (white) privilege to the exclusion of other forms of difference and contexts. Suggestions for future research are provided along with managerial implications.

Originality/value

This paper provides historical insight into the formation of white privilege in organizations and constitutes a prelude to fully understanding its contemporary manifestations in the workplace. These insights suggest ways to disrupt inequality and create inclusive organizations that do not privilege one ethnic or racial group over another.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Doyin Atewologun and Ruth Sealy

In management studies, assumptions surround the fixed, categorical and binary nature of male, ethnic and other privileges. Compared to white, middle-class men, “others”…

Abstract

Purpose

In management studies, assumptions surround the fixed, categorical and binary nature of male, ethnic and other privileges. Compared to white, middle-class men, “others” are typically assumed not to experience privilege. The authors counter this assumption by applying intersectionality to examine privilege's juxtaposition with disadvantage. The paper offers an elaborated conceptualisation of organisational privilege and insight into the agency employed by individuals traditionally perceived as non-privileged. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Using diaries and interviews, the paper analyses 20 micro-episodes from four senior minority ethnic women and men's accounts of intersecting ethnic, gender and senior identities. The paper identifies how privilege plays out at the juxtaposition of (male gender and hierarchical) advantage with (female gender and ethnic) disadvantage.

Findings

The fluidity of privilege is revealed through contextual, contested and conferred dimensions. Additionally, privilege is experienced in everyday micro-level encounters and the paper illustrates how “sometimes privileged” individuals manage their identities at intersections.

Research limitations/implications

This in-depth analysis draws on a small sample of unique British minority ethnic individuals to illustrate dimensions of privilege.

Practical implications

It is often challenging to discuss privilege. However, the focus on atypical wielders of power challenges binary assumptions of privilege. This can provide a common platform for dominant and non-dominant group members to share how societal and organisational privileges differentially impact groups. This inclusive approach could reduce dominant group members’ psychological and emotional resistance to social justice.

Originality/value

Through bridging privilege and intersectionality perspectives, the paper offers a complex and nuanced perspective that contrasts against prevalent conceptions of privilege as invisible and uncontested.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Akram Al Ariss, Mustafa Özbilgin, Ahu Tatli and Kurt April

– The purpose of this paper is to offer a theoretical and methodological framework to overcome knowledge gaps on Whiteness in organizational and management studies.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer a theoretical and methodological framework to overcome knowledge gaps on Whiteness in organizational and management studies.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on a brief review of literature on ethnic privileges.

Findings

The authors propose a relational approach to tackling ethnic privileges in organizations and management research.

Research limitations/implications

The framework contributes to a better understanding and deconstruction of ethnic privileges at work.

Originality/value

The paper proposes a theoretical and a methodological framework for tackling Whiteness in organizational and management studies. By doing so, it elucidates the topic of Whiteness, bringing new insights from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 22 September 2020

Eddy S. Ng, Greg J. Sears and Muge Bakkaloglu

Building on the notion of “White fragility,” this study aims to explore how Whites react and cope with perceived discrimination at work. Specifically, the authors explore…

Abstract

Purpose

Building on the notion of “White fragility,” this study aims to explore how Whites react and cope with perceived discrimination at work. Specifically, the authors explore whether: (1) Whites react more negatively than minorities when they perceive discrimination at work and (2) Whites are more likely than minorities to restore the status quo by leaving the situation when they perceive discrimination at work.

Design/methodology/approach

Data for this study were obtained from the Professional Worker Career Experience Survey. In total, 527 working professionals from multiple organizations across the central USA participated in the survey.

Findings

The authors find evidence that Whites experience more negative psychological effects (i.e. lower job satisfaction and higher work stress) from perceived discrimination than minority employees and are more likely to act to restore conditions of privilege by leaving their current job and employer. The stronger negative effects of perceived discrimination for Whites (vs minorities) were restricted to work outcomes (job satisfaction, work stress, turnover intentions from one's employer) and were not evident with respect to perceptions of overall well-being (i.e. life satisfaction), suggesting that White fragility may play a particularly influential role in work settings, wherein racial stress may be more readily activated.

Originality/value

Consistent with the notion of White fragility, the study’s results demonstrate that the deleterious impact of perceived discrimination on employee work outcomes may, in some cases, be stronger for White than minority employees.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Article
Publication date: 18 April 2016

Helena Liu and Ekaterina Pechenkina

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on critical race theory’s application in organisational visuals research with a focus on forms of visual white supremacy in the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on critical race theory’s application in organisational visuals research with a focus on forms of visual white supremacy in the workplace.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on the authors’ personal experiences as racialised “Others” with organisational white supremacy, this paper employs reflective autoethnography to elucidate how whiteness is positioned in the academic workplace through the use of visual imagery. The university, departments and colleagues appearing in this study have been de-identified to ensure their anonymity and protect their privacy.

Findings

The authors’ autoethnographic accounts discuss how people of colour are appropriated, commodified and subordinated in the ongoing practice of whiteness.

Research limitations/implications

Illuminating the subtle ways through which white supremacy is embedded in the visual and aesthetic dimensions of the organisation provides a more critical awareness of workplace racism.

Originality/value

This paper advances the critical project of organisational visual studies by interrogating the ways by which white dominance is enacted and reinforced via the everyday visual and aesthetic dimensions of the workplace. An added contribution of this paper is in demonstrating that visual racism extends beyond misrepresentations of people of colour, but can also manifest in what the authors conceptualise as “visual white supremacy”.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 35 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 19 August 2019

Rennie Naidoo, Kalley Coleman and Cordelia Guyo

The purpose of this paper is to adopt a critical relational dialectics framework to identify and explore gender discursive struggles about social inclusion observed in an…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to adopt a critical relational dialectics framework to identify and explore gender discursive struggles about social inclusion observed in an online gaming community, in South Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a technique called contrapuntal analysis to identify and explore competing discourses in over 200 messages on gender struggles about social inclusion posted in the local community’s gamer discussion board, based on seven threads initiated by women gamer activists.

Findings

The findings show how four interrelated gender discursive struggles about social inclusion and social exclusion animated the meanings of online gamer relations: dominance vs equality, stereotyping vs diversity, competitiveness vs cooperativeness and privilege vs empowerment.

Practical implications

Game designers should reinforce more accurate and positive stereotypes to cater for the rapidly growing female gamer segment joining the online gaming market and to develop a less chauvinistic and more diversely representative online gaming community. Enlightened gamers should exercise greater solidarity in fighting for gender equality in online gaming communities.

Originality/value

The critical relational dialectics analysis adopted in this study offers a promising avenue to understand and critique the discursive struggles that arise when online gamers from the different gender groups relate. The findings highlight the unequal discursive power and privilege of many white male gamers when discussing social inclusion. Advancing our understanding of these discursive struggles creates the possibilities for improving social inclusion in online gaming communities.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2021

Stella M. Nkomo

The purpose of this article is to share reflections about the progress toward the inclusion of race as a core analytical concept in MOS since the article. The emperor has…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to share reflections about the progress toward the inclusion of race as a core analytical concept in MOS since the article. The emperor has no clothes: Rewriting “race in organizations” was published in the Academy of Management Review twenty-nine years ago.

Design/methodology/approach

I critically reflect upon the past and future of race in management and organizations studies drawing upon my own subjective position in what has transpired over the past twenty-nine years. Specifically, I reflect upon the past and future of the study of race in organizations and also offer some recommendations for theories that may help advance it as a core theoretical concept in MOS drawing.

Findings

Dethroning the “emperor” remains a challenge. There has been a lack of significant progress toward positioning race as a core analytical concept in MOS. There is still much to do to elevate race to a significant analytical concept in MOS. Post-colonial theory, whiteness and the literature on the sociology of race may assist scholars in making progress.

Research limitations/implications

I readily acknowledge that my subjective position as the author of an article declaring the significance of race in MOS and as a Black woman whose life and career has unfolded in a world of systemic racism shape my reflections. It may be time for to consider whether positioning race as a core analytical concept in MOS can be achieved under the diversity paradigm. Perhaps it is time for a new field of study – race in organizations.

Practical implications

Theorizing race in organizations is central to undoing the continuing effects of racism. Otherwise, it will be difficult to develop strategies that get to the roots of racial inequality in organizations.

Social implications

The confluence of resurgent white supremacy, the stark global racial inequalities revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic and calls to end anti-Blackness and systemic racism by the Black Lives Matter Movement underscore the immense importance of race in every aspect of society including organizations.

Originality/value

This essay is my first reflections on what has transpired since the publication of the article. The essay reveals my insights and experiences of writing the article and why rewriting race into MOS is a much larger project than the one envisioned in 1992.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 40 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 40 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Article
Publication date: 16 June 2020

Georgianna Meléndez and Banu Özkazanç-Pan

This paper considers the phenomenon of “opting out” from an intersectional lens, bringing in hitherto undertheorized dimensions of gender, race and power into the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper considers the phenomenon of “opting out” from an intersectional lens, bringing in hitherto undertheorized dimensions of gender, race and power into the conversation related to why and how some women of color may make the “choice” to leave an organization.

Design/methodology/approach

Through a single case study approach, our research elucidates how identity-connected experiences unconnected to work/life balance constraints and tensions caused one immigrant woman of color to leave the workplace. We expand upon the current use of intersectionality in management and organization studies by applying it as a lens to bring into consideration power relations in organizations and structural inequality as the context for understanding why and how some women of color may leave their places of employment.

Findings

Based on our in-depth case study, we demonstrate that microaggressions, power relations, and structural inequities contribute to some women of color opting out.

Originality/value

This paper is of value to scholars interested in intersectionality framework applications.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

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Article
Publication date: 21 August 2020

Stella M. Nkomo

The purpose of this article is to provoke diversity scholars to think about the implications of the confluence of the racial disparities in the effects of the Coronavirus…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to provoke diversity scholars to think about the implications of the confluence of the racial disparities in the effects of the Coronavirus and the persistence of racial inequality for a new direction of theorizing in the field.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing upon three major analogies between the Coronavirus and the virus of racism, the author discusses their similarities as a means to think about why racism persists despite efforts to eradicate it. The history of racism in the United States forms a key part of the discussion.

Findings

The current theoretical tools diversity scholars primarily use to address racial inequality in organizations may only at best mitigate, not eradicate, racism in organizations. There is a need to direct theoretical development toward the concepts of racialization and deracialization.

Research limitations/implications

The views and proposals for new theorizing reflect the author's positionality and biases. It also relies on three of the many possible analogies that can be made between racism as a virus and the Coronavirus.

Practical implications

Understanding racism through the lens of racialization and deracialization can help organizations and the leaders of them to identify the structures that embed racism and also how to change them.

Social implications

Understanding racism and processes of racialization is critical to achieving racial equality. Organizations are one of the main societal institutions that shape and perpetuate the racism and inequality among African-Americans and other people of color experience. Awareness of the continuing effects of racism is critical to anticipating how virus pandemics increase the vulnerability of marginalized racial groups to greater health risks and precariousness.

Originality/value

This essay provokes diversity scholars to engage in reflexive discomfort about the current path of theorizing in the field. It suggests ways that the concept of racialization can be used descriptively and normatively to theorize racism in organizations. In addition, it proposes deracialization as a frame for supplanting the ideology of White supremacy and theorizing nonracial organizations.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 39 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

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