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Leadership in an Age of #MeToo: Global Conversations

Special issue call for papers from Gender in Management


Guest Editors

Leigh Fine, Wendy Fox-Kirk, Rita A. Gardiner, Faith Ngunjiri

Initial inquiries should be made to the lead editor of this special issue, Rita A. Gardiner at [email protected].
The #MeToo movement has proven to be a major catalyst for raising public awareness about sexual violence. As such, it is a catalyst to effect major societal change if leaders are willing to confront organizational structures and individual behaviour that lead to violence. Yet because #MeToo is a recent phenomenon, there is a lacuna of research that takes up the challenges leaders face in addressing the issues raised by the movement. #MeToo and other offshoots (Time’s Up, Times Up UK, #SilenceIsNotSpiritual, #MeToo academe to name a few) are challenging organizations not only to address gender and violence issues, but also to come to terms with the negative effects of hypermasculinity on workplace cultures.
Around the world, the #MeToo movement has prompted responses from government and industry to address the insidious and pervasive problem of sexual harassment and workplace violence and the concomitant abuses of power. This has been prompted by the courage of many victims/survivors who are speaking out about long-term and persistent abuse (Gerchiek, 2018a). Recently, Statistics Canada released a report stating there had been a 65% increase in business-related assaults reported to the police from October 2016-October 2017 (Rotenberg & Cotter, 2018). The report suggests that this increased reporting was related to the effects of the #Me Too movement. 
The effects of #MeToo are also being felt in large corporations, such as the global collective workforce action demanding an improvement in Google’s management of sexual predators. At other corporations, such as Uber, we also see that whistleblowers are demanding organizational action to address institutional violence. 
Much of the initial media attention regarding #MeToo concerned women who spoke out against violence in the entertainment industry. However, women are not the only targets of predatory action; young men, trans, and those who identify as genderqueer are vulnerable, too. Yet there is a lack of robust research on who commits sexual violence against LGBTQ victims, leaving readers to assume perpetrators are also LGBTQ but this may not be so (Bedera & Nordmeye 2018). Furthermore, as governments and organizations look at how they can create changes in organizational culture and practices to make workplaces safe and respectful places for all, there is a tendency to focus on a simplistic model of sexual harassment and violence as a mainly heterosexual phenomenon.  We seek to develop a space for new scholarship that is not only cognizant of violence against heterosexual women, but highlights how diverse others experience violence in the workplace. In the US, early responses to the #MeToo movement include new federal laws to restrict the use of non-disclosure agreements to silence victims of sexual harassment and violence (Gurchiek, 2018b). 

The Society for Human Resource Management (2018) highlights that current federal legislation has failed to stop the tide of abuses across industries.  In a recent SHRM study which examined changes in organizations a year after the #MeToo revelations, CEOs and HRM directors maintain there is an urgent need to create self-policing cultures.  This requires a shift in cultural norms that sanctioned violence in the workplace, and a different approach by HR toward victims/survivors.  Across diverse countries and cultures, the effects of #MeToo and similar movements are being felt (Briggs, 2017; Collins, & Grossman-Boder 2018; Norholm, Just, & Muhr, 2018; Burt, 2018). In keeping with this journal’s international focus, we encourage submissions that examine the global effects of these movements, and their impact on the affective aspects of organizational life and leadership experience/s (Fox-Kirk, 2017; Ngunjiri & Gardiner, 2017; Ngunjiri, et al., 2017; Ngunjiri, Chang, & Hernandez, 2018).  This special issue seeks to consider how leadership and #MeToo movement challenges organizational practices and policies in diverse cultural arenas (Fine, 2018; Finn, Gardiner, & Bruijns, 2018; Gardiner, Almquist, Shockness, & Finn, under review; Iverson & Issadore, 2017; Quinlan, Quinlan, Fogel, & Taylor, 2018). The aims of this special issue are:  
1) To provide new lenses with which to view the impact of #MeToo on organizations

2) To expand discourses beyond a narrow heteronormative focus

3) To highlight the global impact of #MeToo.

4) To set an agenda for future organizational and leadership research that examines how  organizations are responding to #MeToo.
We welcome papers that seek to explore the global effects and after-effects of the #MeToo movement in diverse workplaces and cultures from different conceptual and methodological perspectives. We also welcome papers that seek to integrate critical, feminist and/or queer theory so as to enhance women’s leadership theory, organization, and managerial practices. The intent is to provide a forum for new knowledge to emerge, enabling scholars and practitioners to more effectively address sexual violence issues in their workplace and beyond.


1st submission of papers to Gender in Management: An International Journal. Deadline will be November 30th 2019. All submissions to be made via the ScholarOne manuscript submission portal and please follow the author guidelines found here. Publication is likely to be spring 2020.