I am pleased to share a very exciting and seminal project that I am privileged to be a part of. Led by my colleague, Kimberly Scott at Northwestern University, a community of scholars and practitioners are coming together to create a massively open anthology project on Social Justice in organizational Change. I was part of conceptualizing the initial framing as per the excerpt of the introduction to the anthology below and I am currently working on a co-authored chapter with Dorie Ellzey Blesoff for the project as well. If you are interested in this project, read on and find out how to get involved.
Excerpt from: Introduction: Social Justice in Organizational Change
Citation: Scott, K. S., Blesoff, D. E., Gilpin-Jackson, Y., Kaleel, S., & Nguyen, N. (2023). Introduction: Social Justice in Organizational Change. In K. S. Scott (Ed.), Social Justice in Organizational Change: An Inclusive Anthology. https://doi.org/10.21428/3ce64483.4b948b6a
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”James Baldwin (1962)
We endeavor to articulate as honestly as we can our collective starting point and our individual perspectives on topics relating to this big question: How might we evolve the practice and study of organizational change to advance commitment to social justice? As with any big question, there are a number of spin-off questions that emerge, for example: How might we critique, disrupt, and re-imagine organizational change to accelerate social justice? Where are racism and other forms of oppression implicitly baked into the dominant theories of organizational change we have been trained in? How might we embed equity, inclusion, belonging, and justice into all aspects of organizational change instead of treating Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) as a separate type of change? In what ways do our experiences with and understanding of DEIJ impact our study and practice of organizational change? Our big question isn’t new, and most of the ideas we present here aren’t original. However, we are committed to elevating this work because we believe that it is necessary for those of us in the field of organizational change to individually and collectively engage in developing a broader awareness of what is harmful about the intellectual and conceptual legacy of our field and the practices we continue to rely on today. We are committed to relearning the roots of human-centered and holistic approaches found in Indigenous and traditional cultures and found in voices who have resisted Western cultural domination but have been silenced, ignored, or commoditized. We are “reflecting in public” to make a contribution that we hope will enable our dialogue to deepen and our field to evolve.
While some may criticize the elevation of anti-racism and anti-oppression as politically-charged activism that has no place in the scholarly literature or practice of organizational change, at no time is our work as change scholars and practitioners value-neutral or bias-free. Indeed, a controversial “debate” series about diversity in the field of psychology reveals a critical need for more attention to our values, biases in publishing, and the need for more learning and dialogue to understand how racialized experiences impact our work (Bartlett, 2022; Roberts, 2022; Roberts, Bareket-Shavit, Dollins,Goldie, & Mortenson 2020). The theories, analyses, plans, narratives, action items, facilitation techniques, and tools we use in this domain are developed by people who have made choices about how to “best” do this work. These choices are grounded not only in our own perspectives and values, but also in the perspectives and values of our research, our colleagues, and our teachers. How we talk, think about, and collaborate with others to study and change organizations is informed by what the disciplines and fields we draw from have determined to be credible knowledge about organizational change. It is our responsibility as researchers, practitioners, leaders, and educators to think critically about this, the underlying assumptions, biases and values, and to be mindful about the choices we make in doing this work.
In this introductory chapter, we offer our reasons for convening writers and reviewers to construct this anthology, our hopes for this project, the approach we have chosen to take, the context influencing us, and our invitation for your participation. As we share our hopes, we invite you to reflect, hone in on your own hopes and inquiry, and find the best match for your own intentions.
See and download full chapter here
Find out how to get involved here.