02 Mar 2022

BJM Special Issue Call for Papers - Reimagining Business and Management as a Force for Good

Special Issue Call for Papers

Reimagining Business and Management as a Force for Good

Guest Editors:

Professor Ken McPhail, Alliance, Manchester Business School ([email protected])

Professor Mario Kafouros Alliance, Manchester Business School ([email protected])

Professor Peter McKiernan, Strathclyde Business School ([email protected])

Professor Nelarine Cornelius, Queen Mary University ([email protected])


Paper submission deadline: 15 October 2022


Societal, governmental and investor expectations about the purpose of business are fundamentally changing (British Academy, 2019). In a shift away from Friedman’s view that “the sole purpose of a business is to generate profits for its shareholders”, business is now expected to be a force for good, generate value in different ways and for different groups, and partner with government and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) to address our most urgent global challenges (Ferraro et al., 2015; George et al., 2016).



New organisational forms are emerging to tackle these wicked problems (Arciniegas Pradilla, et al., 2022; Battilana, 2018), while existing firms are reformulating their business models in an effort to find the optimal balance between generating profits for their shareholders (or attracting new investors) and generating value for the environment, society and the economy. These real and envisioned shifts in business and management practice prompt the need to increase our knowledge of how these challenges are impacting businesses and the experience of work (George et al., 2016).  Policy makers and business leaders also need to understand how business and management contribute to these problems; how business can help solve them; and the factors that influence where efforts to mobilize are successful or become displaced (Grodal and O’Mahony, 2017). We need to “use the methodological and theoretical toolkit at our disposal to co-create the future” (Gümüsay and Reinecke, 2021).


The British Journal of Management (BJM) will publish a special issue on “Reimagining business and management as a force for good” in 2024.  This special issue encourages theoretical and empirical contributions on how business and management is taking on a broader social purpose in order to address grand societal challenges. The collection of papers will complement and enrich existing theoretical and empirical work on the changing nature of the firm, new organisational futures, and sources of innovation and value generation. We are also interested in how these shifts impact business growth and productivity along with the internal management practises and intangible capitals responsible for driving these outcomes.

The call for papers welcomes theoretical, comparative and empirically based submissions. We are particularly interested in contributions that approach the theme from an interdisciplinary perspective. While we encourage submissions on the themes outlined below, the list is not exhaustive.

Political Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) & Democracy. A key question in relation to understanding the role of business in addressing grand challenges relates to their role in filling governance gaps where state regulation is failing (Fougère and Solitander, 2020). While some research views emerging multi-stakeholder forms of governance as promising new modes of institutional democracy (Donaghey and Reinecke, 2018) that can deliver economic and social upgrading (Barrientos et al., 2011), others argue they bypass democratic institutions and reinforce economic and cultural imperialism (Alamgir and Banerjee, 2019).  We welcome contributions to these profound questions that bring contemporary developments in political science and policy domains to the study of these new collaborative forms of governance, to help understand how they could operate in ways compatible with democratic values (Scherer et al., 2016).


Business & Human Rights - Since the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) were unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011, a growing body of literature has studied the role of the corporation in both protecting and respecting human rights (McPhail and Adams, 2016).  However, the implications for business models and processes of a shift in perspective from a stakeholder view of CSR to a rights holder framework, grounded in international law, is currently lacking from the business and management literature. The third pillar of the UNGP’s, which places a responsibility on business to provide remedy for human rights abuses has also remained relatively unexplored (Maher et al., 2021; Schormair and Gerlach, 2020). We welcome submissions that seek to understand business-related human rights abuses, particularly within a digital context, and non-state mechanisms that provide access to remedy. We also welcome further analysis of the way businesses are protecting social, political and economic rights and beginning to associate the realization of rights with new market opportunities.


Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Humanitarianism – Although we know that firms create value through innovation both internally and collaboratively with partners, less is known about how the different ways in which organizations innovate, impact value creation (and different types of value) (Kafouros et al. 2022). We welcome studies that investigate how the way firms and entrepreneurs innovate influences the creation of value for different organizations and helps address grand challenges.  A related body of research is beginning to explore the extent to which grand challenges are a source of innovation and value generation (Battlana, 2018). For example, while, MNC’s have gradually entered the humanitarian market over the last twenty years (Carbonnier and Lightfoot, 2016; Sezgin and Dijkzeul, 2016) business and management scholarship on corporate engagement in humanitarian action remains limited (Scott-Smith, 2016). While we are less interested in corporate philanthropy, we encourage submissions that explore where corporate engagement in humanitarianism is delivering technological innovation; workplace enhancement and access to lucrative business markets (Andonova and Carbonnier, 2014; Scott-Smith, 2016; Zyck and Kent, 2014).


The Generation and Distribution of Economic, Social & Environmental Value – We welcome further theoretical and empirical investigations of how businesses are viewing grand challenges as sources of economic as well as social and environmental value (Ferraro et al., 2015). However, a crucial but comparatively unexplored question that underpins many of the grand challenges we face, relates to how value generated by economic activity is distributed and the role of business in reinforcing and reducing inequalities more generally. The literature is beginning to explore the role that international business can play in addressing social and economic upgrading across supply chains (Ashwin et al., 2020). We particularly encourage submissions which explore how grand challenges affect foreign direct investment (FDI) and other internationalisation activities (Buckley et al., 2017) and the subsequent impact this may have on inequality (Amis et al., 2020, 2021). In addition, we know that firm internationalisation involves cycles of internationalization and de-internationalization which effectively means that firms often reduce the depth and spread of their international footprint, reconfigure their portfolio of international operations, or even withdraw from foreign markets completely (Kafouros et al., 2021). We welcome research that investigates how changes in the configurations of the foreign operations of firms influences the way in they generate (and in certain cases co-create) value for themselves and external organisations.


Accounting for Grand Challenges - Finally, the literature has identified the need for more research on the role of accounting in addressing the sustainable development goals (Bebbington and Unerman, 2020, 2018). The lack of accounting literature on the SDG’s does not reflect the level of engagement in practice (PWC, 2019). We welcome theoretical and empirical studies of how grand challenges are made accountable and auditable through internal management practises and how organisations are being held accountable in ways which help understand and undermine the extent to which these challenges are being ameliorated (Islam, Deegan and Gray, 2018).  However, in addition to studies of how companies are managing these challenges, we also welcome papers that explore the role of utopias and envisioned futures in upholding our trust in the numbers (Gümüsay and Reinecke, 2021).


BJM is published by the British Academy of Management and provides an outlet for research and scholarship on management-orientated themes and topics. It publishes articles of a multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary nature as well as empirical research from within traditional disciplines and managerial functions. With contributions from around the globe, the Journal includes articles across the full range of business and management disciplines. High quality papers that do not make the final set of papers for the special issue may be considered for publication in a regular issue of the journal.

Deadline for paper submissions: 15 October 2022

Special issue published: 2024

Authors should ensure they adhere to the journal author guidelines which are available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1467-8551/homepage/ForAuthors.html.

Submissions should be uploaded to the British Journal of Management ScholarOne Manuscripts site at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjm. Authors should select ‘special issue paper’ as the paper type, ensure they answer ‘yes’ to the question ‘Is this submission for a special issue?’ and enter the title of the special issue in the box provided.


Alamgir, F. and S. B. Banerjee (2019). ‘Contested compliance regimes in global production networks: Insights from the Bangladesh garment industry’, Human Relations, 72, pp. 272–297.


Amis, J., S. Brickson, P. Haack and M. Hernandez (2021). ‘Taking inequality seriously’, Academy of Management Review, 46, pp. 431-439.


Amis J. M., J. Mair and K. A. Munir (2020). ‘The Organisational Reproduction of Inequality’, Academy of Management Annals, 14, pp. 195-230.


Amis J. M., K. A. Munir, T. B. Lawrence, P. Hirsch and A. McGahan (2018). ‘Inequality, Institutions and Organizations’, Organization Studies, 39, pp. 1131–1152.


Andonova, L. B. and G. Carbonnier (2014). ‘Business–Humanitarian Partnerships: Processes of Normative Legitimation’, Globalizations, 11, pp. 349–67.


Arciniegas Pradilla C., J. Bento da Silva and J. Reinecke (2022). ‘Wicked Problems and New Ways of Organising: How Fe y Alegria Confronted Changing Manifestations of Poverty’, forthcoming in A. A. Gümüsay, E. Marti, H. Trittin-Ulbrich, and C. Wickert  (eds), Organizing for Societal Grand Challenges: Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 79.


Ashwin, S., Kabeer, N. and Schüßler, E. (2020). Contested understandings in the global garment industry after Rana Plaza. Development and Change, 51 (5): 1296-1305.


Barrientos, S., G. Gereffi and A. Rossi (2011). ‘Economic and social upgrading in global production networks: A new paradigm for a changing world’, International Labour Review, 150, pp. 319-340.


Battilana, J. (2018). ‘Cracking the Organizational Challenge of Pursuing Joint Social and Financial Goals: Social Enterprise as a Laboratory to Understand Hybrid Organizing’, M@n@gement, 21, pp. 1278–1305.


Battilana, J, and S. Dorado (2010). ‘Building Sustainable Hybrid Oorganizations: The Case of Commercial Microfinance Organizations’, The Academy of Management Journal, 53, pp. 1419–40.


Bebbington, J. and J. Unerman (2020). ‘Advancing research into accounting and the UN Sustainable Development Goals’, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 33, pp. 1657-1670.


Bebbington, J. and J. Unerman (2018). ‘Achieving the united nations sustainable development goals: an enabling role for accounting research’, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 31 pp. 2-24.


The British Academy (2019). Principles for Purposeful Business: How to Deliver the Framework for the Future of the Corporation, London: The British Academy.


Buckley, P. J., J. P. Doh and M. H. Benischke (2017). ‘Towards a renaissance in international business research? Big questions, grand challenges, and the future of IB scholarship’, Journal of International Business Studies, 48, pp. 1045-1064.


Carbonnier, G, and P. Lightfoot (2016). ‘Business in Humantarian Crises: For Better of for Worse?’, In The New Humanitarians in International Practice: Emerging Actors and Contested Principles, eds. Zeynep Sezgin and Dennis Dijkzeul. New York: Routledge.


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Ferraro F., D. Etzion, and J. Gehman (2015). ‘Tackling Grand Challenges Pragmatically: Robust Action Revisited’, Organization Studies, 36, pp. 363–390.


Fougère, M., and N. Solitander (2020). ‘Dissent in Consensusland: An Agonistic Problematization of Multi-stakeholder Governance’, Journal of Business Ethics, 164, pp683–699. 


George, G., J. Howard-Grenville, A. Joshi, and L. Tihanyi (2016). ‘Understanding and tackling societal grand challenges through management research’, Academy of Management Journal, 592, pp. 1880-1895.


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Grodal, S. and S. O’Mahony (2017). ‘How does a grand challenge become displaced? Explaining the duality of field mobilization’, Academy of Management Journal, 60, pp. 1801-1827.


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Islam, M. A., C. Deegan, and R. Gray (2018). ‘Social compliance audits and multinational corporation supply chain: evidence from a study of the rituals of social audits’, Accounting and Business Research, 4, pp. 190-224.


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Kafouros, M., S. T. Cavusgil, T. M. Devinney, P. Ganotakis, and S. Fainshmidt (2021). ‘Cycles of de-internationalization and re-internationalization: Towards an integrative framework’, Journal of World Business, 57, pp. 1-16.

Kafouros, M., N. Hashai, J. A. Tardios and E. Y. Wang (2022). ‘How do MNEs invent? An invention-based perspective of MNE profitability’, Journal of International Business Studies, forthcoming.

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Maher, R., D. Monciardini and S. Böhm (2021). ‘Torn between legal claiming and privatized remedy: Rights mobilization against gold mining in Chile.’ Business Ethics Quarterly, 31, pp. 37-74.


McPhail, K. and C. A. Adams (2016). ‘Corporate respect for human rights: meaning, scope, and the shifting order of discourse’, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 29, pp. 650 – 678.



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