Critical perspectives on the globally mobile professional and managerial class
The postcolonial thinker Edward Said (1978, 1993) noted that migration was the great marker of our time and that with the increasing global movement of people there would be increasing ‘inter-cultural’ contact. When viewed through the ‘lens’ of critical organization and management studies, the processes and types of mobility, movement and migration in today’s ‘globalized’ environment present interesting possibilities for a reformulation and reconsideration of mobility within contemporary global capitalism.
In particular, there seems to be much room for the critical study of managerial and professional mobility and movement in business and organization studies, and specifically the idea of the “transnational capitalist class”. Beyond conventional expatriation, there are many new kinds of mobility occurring that involve the transnational capitalist class in the contemporary global business environment. They have yet to be exposed to critical investigation in a sustained fashion. In Western-based multinational companies these include the development of mobile ‘global elites’ and increasing numbers of short-term, commuter and rotational assignments and assignees (Dickmann and Doherty, 2010; McKenna and Richardson, 2007; Suutari, 2003).
The implications of these systems and forms of mobility in the broader context of ‘globalization’ and global capitalism have yet to be significantly explored from a critical perspective. In addition, the so-called self-initiated expatriate (SIE) has recently come under scrutiny. The SIE is an individual who ‘expatriates’ independently of an organizational sponsor. Much of the research on the SIE has been conducted on and with professionals moving from Western countries to other parts of the world (Jokinen, Brewster and Suutari, 2008; Myers and Pringle, 2005; Richardson, 2006; Selmer and Lauring, 2010; Tharenou and Caulfield, 2010). While there has been some more critical work undertaken on the ‘whiteness’ of these SIEs and emigrants in the broader sociological literature (Leonard, 2010), very little has been undertaken from a critical paradigm specific to business and organizations.
In this special issue, then, we seek papers that subject the globally mobile managerial and professional class, particularly in the context of business and organizational studies, to critical investigation.
The list below presents illustrative topics for contributions:
• How can we conceptualize organizational and self-initiated managerial professional global mobility critically?
• To what extent do globally mobile professionals represent a transnational capitalist class operating in the interests of global capital? How do this growing transnational class reflect changes in the global labour process?
• To what extent are those who are globally mobile professionals, both within organizational contexts and SIE’s engaging in ‘Imperial careering’? What are the elements of ‘Imperial careering’ in the contemporary business world and how can we link it to a postcolonial analysis?
• Who are the globally mobile elite and why are they being created by corporations? What purposes do a globally mobile elite perform within multinational corporations that maintain and enhance discourses and structures of multinational power and dominance?
• What is the impact of global mobile professionals on the locations to which they move? How is ‘whiteness’ important in this mobility and in forms of racial hierarchicalization in host locations? How can we conceptualize and empirically research globally mobile professionals from non-metropolitan centres? What are the gendered aspects of professional global mobility?
• What do concepts such as hybridization and mimicry offer a critical analysis of mobility and how has hybridization in particular been appropriated by multinational corporations?
• How do globally mobile professionals impact the host countries from a critical perspective?
• How does the movement of the global professional and managerial class underpin a globalized system of neoliberalism? Do the global professional and managerial class constitute a group from all parts of the world who cross borders in support of global capital?
We welcome theoretical, conceptual and empirical papers that explore and investigate the critical dimensions of the global mobility of professionals and managers as a developing transnational capitalist class.
Submissions should follow the author guidelines for Critical Perspective on International Business which can be found at: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/cpoib.htm
The submission deadline is 1st September 2012, with initial reviewing to be completed by 30th November 2012, revisions due by 1st February 2013, final decisions by 1st May 2013, and anticipated publication in early 2014.
Submissions should be via the Scholar One Manuscripts online submission system (http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/cpoib).
Please direct questions to any of the special issue editors at: firstname.lastname@example.org, M.N.Ravishankar@lboro.ac.uk, D.Weir@ucs.ac.uk
Dickmann, M., & Doherty, N. (2010). Exploring organizational and individual career goals, interactions, and outcomes of developmental international assignments. Thunderbird International Business Review, 52, 301-311.
Jokinen, T., Brewster, C., & Suutari, V. (2008). Career capital during international work experiences: contrasting self-initiated expatriate experiences and assigned expatriation. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 19, 979-998.
Leonard, P. (2010). Expatriate Identities in Postcolonial Organizations: Working Whiteness, Surrey: Ashgate.
McKenna , S., & Richardson, J. (2007). The increasing complexity of the internationally mobile professional: issues for research and practice. Cross Cultural Management, 14, 307-329.
Myers, B., & Pringle, J. K. (2005). Self-initiated Foreign Experience as Accelerated Development: Influences of Gender. Journal of World Business, 40, 421-431.
Richardson, J. (2006). Self-directed expatriation: family matters. Personnel Review, 35, 469-486.
Said, E.W. (1978) Orientalism, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd.
Said, E.W. (1993) Culture and Imperialism, New York: Vintage.
Selmer, J., & Lauring, J. (2010). Self-initiated academic expatriates: Inherent demographics and reasons to expatriates. European Management Review, 7, 169-179.
Suutari, V. (2003). Global managers: Career orientation, career tracks, life-style implications and career commitment. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 18, 185-207.
Tharenou, P., & Caulfield, N. (2010). Will I stay or will I go? Explaining repatriation by self-initiated expatriates. Academy of Management Journal, 53, 1009-1028.
Urry, J. (2000), Sociology beyond societies: Mobilities for the twenty-first century, Routledge, London.
About the Guest Editors
Dr Steve McKenna is Professor of Human Resource Management at York University, Toronto. His research interests include global mobility, postcolonial approaches to management and organization studies and the processes involved in ‘learning to work’. He co-convened a sub-theme at EGOS in 2007 from which came a special issue of the Journal of Management Development on ‘Managing, managerial control and managerial identity in the post-bureaucratic world’. He has published articles in Organization, Management Learning, International Journal of Human Resource Management and Management International Review. He is regional editor (North America) for Personnel Review.
Dr. M.N. Ravishankar is Reader in Globalization and Emerging Markets at the School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, UK. His research interests span culture and its interface with business strategies, offshore outsourcing of work and IT-enabled transformations in emerging markets. Ravi’s research has appeared in leading international journals such as Information Systems Research, Journal of Vocational Behaviour and Omega.
Professor David Weir is Dean of the Business School at University Campus Suffolk, UK. He is also Emeritus Professor of the University of Northumbria, Visiting Professor in Management Development at Lancaster University, Visiting Professor Bristol Business School, Professor Affilie, ESC Rennes, France and Distinguished Visiting Professor, ETQM College, Dubai. He is a Companion of the Chartered Institute of Management and the author of several books including the best selling “Modern Britain” series. He is currently completing a book on “Management in the Arab world”. He was a joint editor of the book Critical Management Studies at Work (2009), Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.