Sub-theme 07: Mobility and Organizing in the Global and Local: The space of creation and constraint within, between and beyond organizations


Will Harvey, University of Exeter, United Kingdom
Erica Coslor, University of Melbourne, Australia
Dimitria Groutsis, University of Sydney, Australia
Diane van den Broek, University of Sydney, Australia
Jonathan Beaverstock, University of Bristol, United Kingdom

Call for Papers

Global and local mobility require new thinking in organizational life and organization studies.  Global movements and forms drive economic, political and social change transforming organizations, working lives and the boundaries between work and home.  Movements of people and capital create new spaces and possibilities for workers, organizations and governments, in home and host countries, with growing flexibility.  Together with policy landscape shifts from supply-driven to demand-driven mobility, this flexibility has reshaped workplace policies and processes, work design, management of work and spaces and types of work.

Despite the growing prominence and complexity of global mobility and organizing, our understanding of what drives new movements as well as their impact at different scales of analysis remains somewhat limited.  What connects the global and local?  A detailed focus on new forms of global and local mobility and organization builds on wider projects of economic globalization, global development and global capitalism, advancing discussions of how new forms of spatial contact might create or constrain organizational structures, innovation and competitiveness. This provides us with the opportunity for re-theorising, re-conceptualising and advancing our current empirical knowledge on mobility and organizing both within and between countries, regions and organizations.

The study of such global-local structures and processes provides a means for organization theory to speak to increasingly global organizations and markets.  The mixing of global and local provides new research contexts and objects of study, with the potential to yield new theories (Bamberger & Pratt, 2010) about mobilizing and organizing across boundaries (Kellogg, Orlikowski, & Yates, 2006).  Organization studies researchers are well positioned to study this complicated area due to the combination of theoretical sensitivity and attention to structure and process.

We invite a broad range of papers to widen and deepen our discussions of global-local mobility, structures, processes, spatial aspects, and implications for different forms of organizing, addressing one or several of the following:

Networks and Spaces

  • Global and domestic talent attraction and retention as short and long term government, corporate and community strategies and practices
  • Working in permanent and temporary, visible and invisible ‘non-spaces’ and in-between places
  • The liminality of business travel and mobile work for individuals, organizations, communities and countries

Local and Global

  • New communication technologies and tools, and the importance of location
  • Organizing and coordinating new forms of work
  • Objects and structures that both locate in the local and also span the global

Organized and Disorganized Policies

  • Global mobility control, voice, representation and new institutional actors
  • Convergent and divergent paths: national and global institutions of global mobility
  • Global migration networks, intermediaries and labour markets: emerging actors creating new spaces and policies

Constrained Places

  • Talent gains and losses in different country, city, regional and organizational settings
    • Temporal shifts such as pre-GFC, GFC and post-GFC worker mobility
    • Working in geographically remote and politically disruptive environments



Bamberger, P. A. & Pratt, M. G. 2010. Editorial: Moving Forward by Looking Back: Reclaiming Unconventional Research Contexts and Samples in Organizational Scholarship. Academy of Management Journal, 53(4): 665-671.

Kellogg, K. C., Orlikowski, W. J., & Yates, J. 2006. Life in the Trading Zone: Structuring Coordination across Boundaries in Postbureaucratic Organizations. Organization Science, 17: 22-44.

Will Harvey is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter Business School an Associate Fellow in the Centre for Corporate Reputation at the University of Oxford. Will has published in business and management, sociology, geography, HR and industrial relations journals on corporate reputation, skilled migration and business elites.

Erica Coslor is a Lecturer in Management at the University of Melbourne, Australia, with research spanning economic sociology and management. Her research interests include market structure and process, valuation issues, and calculability, with current research on the use of art as a financial investment.

Dimitria Groutsis is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney Business School. Her research focuses on high and low skilled labour mobility, migration management and diversity management and has appeared in national and international journals, books and the popular press. She currently serves as the Regional Editor (Australasia) for Equality Diversity and Inclusion and, is the co-convenor of the Managing Global Migration Research Group at the University of Sydney.

Diane van den Broek is a Senior Lecturer and Co-Convenor of the Managing Global Migration Research Group at the University of Sydney Business School. Her research interests span issues associated with call centre/telework, aesthetic labor and skilled migration. Her work has been published in journals including Work, Employment and Society; New Technology, Work and Employment; Economic and Industrial Democracy; Policy Studies; Business History, Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations; British Journal of Social Work.

Jonathan Beaverstock is Professor of International Management at the University of Bristol.  Trained as an economic geographer, Jonathan’s research focuses on the globalizing strategies of professionals and professional service firms, global talent mobility, and the competitiveness of the City of London.  Jonathan has published widely in business and management, human geography, sociology, migration and urban studies journals, and is an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences in the UK.

Posted On: June 8, 2014
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