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Postmodern approaches to management and rising new forms of organizations in the Euro-Mediterranean Region

Special issue call for papers from EuroMed Journal of Business

SI Topic Background

Following decades of research focus on technological innovation (Henderson & Clark, 1990), scholarly attention  over the last fifteen years has shifted to o other forms of innovation, such as  service, business model,  and process innovation.  And yet, another equally important form of innovation in organization studies, concerning the very nature of the practices implemented to manage and change organizations has remained comparatively understudied. Since  the 1980’s and the research of Damanpour & Evan (1984) the topic has stimulated scholars and practitioners alike, and  Birkinshaw, Hamel and Mol (2008)  redefined management innovation as "the invention and implementation of a management practice, process, structure, or technique […] that is new to the state of the art and is intended to further organizational goals" (p.825).

Recently, companies are facing a dynamic, unstable and, above all, rapidly changing business environment due to multiple factors: new information and communication technologies development , cultural changes and the desire for greater autonomy in the organization of work, the evolution of markets towards an increasing personalization of needs and services, etc (Zammuto et al, 2007, Chebbi et al., 2017). This new business context has inevitably led to corresponding and proportionally significant  organizational changes and evolutions in companies, which adapted to the new conditions by adopting different new concepts and ideas: teleworking, fablabs, agility, co-working, strategic reflexivity, collaborative work, intrapreneurship, corporate hacking, and liberated companies to name a few. All these trends reflect the core changes in working methods (de Vaujany and Vaast, 2014) and management and strategy approaches are changing in depth (Chebbi, Yahiaoui and Thrassou, 2017; Santoro et al. 2017); and underline that contemporary companies organize and manage themselves much differently, innovatively and unconventionally than the recent past.

Further Theoretical Foundations

Current trends indicate a continuing shift in organizational forms away from high hierarchy, to apply internet platforms, co-working spaces (Spinuzzi, 2012; Neuberg, 2014), teleworking (Sewell and Taskin, 2015), fab labs and hackerspaces (Anderson, 2012 ; Dougherty, 2012), etc. One of the most new "trendy" terms is “the liberated company” (Casalegno, 2017; Colle et al., 2017; Fox and Pichault, 2017; Gilbert, Raulet-Croset, et al., 2017). Translated from Tom Peters' pioneering notion of "Liberation management" (1992), this concept is now more actively questioning the academic community since the publication of Bryan Carney and Isaac Getz's book (2009) "an organizational form in which employees have complete freedom and responsibility to take the actions that they, and not their supervisors, believe are best" (Carney & Getz, 2009, p.34).

All these organizational transformations that companies are undergoing today call for changes in management methods and practices. The different management models that we have known until now evolved over time, seeking well-being at work, agility, collaboration and flexibility for organizations, enabling them to cope with the complexity of the different environments (Thrassou, Vrontis and Bresciani, 2018). We understand so that the evolution of management models is linked to the technological and organizational paradigm revolutions, as mentioned by Bodrozic and Adler (2018) “The evolution of management models represents the emergent result of bottom-up and top-down innovation and selection. It is driven by the tension between the possibilities opened up by technological revolution and the constraints created by established organizational paradigms and practices.” (p115). For example, companies are increasingly seeking to create a culture of inclusion to take advantage of the cultural diversity that makes up their teams. It is based on mutual understanding, openness in terms of decision-making, mutual trust, integrity and recognition of differences. A profound managerial transformation approach is also more and more designed to unleash the energy and creativity of employees in order to optimize the company's overall performance Chebbi et al., 2015). These innovative new approaches to management add to the  value of each employee, leading to the development of intrapreneurial cultures, collaborative innovations and entrepreneurial leadership. Most organizations, however,  lack the knowledge, expertise and competencies to developnew ways of working and managing (Birkinshaw et al., 2008) and management innovation has risen to be a primary challenge for companies.

Special Issue Rationale and Key Questions

Irrevocably, the qualitatively and quantitatively substantive changes in organizational theory and practice have led to a visible resurgence of research interest in this area, but extant literature is still very fragmented. Partly, it is dealing with new forms of organizations (Sewell and Taskin, 2015) or new organizational paradigms (Bodrozic and Adler, 2018), while some scholars are paying particular attention to new managerial practices (Carney & Getz, 2009; Mol and Birkinshaw, 2014). Defining, understanding, refining and implementing these rising new management paradigms, notions, concepts and ideas, has thus become an obvious need and challenge for scholars across the globe.

The link, particularly between the various types of management innovation still remains unexplored. Scholarly questions are yet to be answered, such as “Is the liberated company a new managerial mode, a new organizational form, or both”, “how might a new organizational form affect management practice, and vice versa”', “how have new management approaches and/or organizational forms adapted to contemporary industries and markets”, “how can the shift from the old to the new forms be effectively realized”, “what evidence exists regarding the longer term success of already applied concepts”, “are there regional differences pertaining to Euro-Mediterranean companies” and more. The latter, especially, is of unique fit to the journal's (EMJB) general focus and aims to additionally fill the knowledge gap of Euro-Mediterranean cultural, geographic, political and other specificities in the above contexts.

Topicality, Aim and Research themes

The subject, framed as ‘management innovation’, is of particular relevance to contemporary discussions and researches across the globe, and of parallel interest to practitioners as well. And while 'new management approaches' and 'new forms of organizations' are subjects of diachronic interest, they lately attract greater attention than ever. This is hardly a random occurrence, as the incessantly changing and unpredictable business environments increasingly call for new and innovative management and organizational concepts, systems, approaches and notions to replace the time-honored, albeit gradually ineffective orthodox concepts of the past. 
This special issue aims to define and delineate the managerial and organizational challenges facing businesses presently and in the foreseeable future, and to present appropriate, corresponding and innovative management theories and practices, and new organizational forms that effectively respond to these contemporary challenges.

With the boundary between the two being blurry this special issue examines the relationship between new management practices and the increasingly developing organizational form to develop new insights to the progress of research on the evolution of entrepreneurial leadership, agility, design thinking, intrapreneurial culture, inclusive organizations, and others. This will provide theoretical and empirical knowledge to scholars towards further research and/or  testing and/or practical application; and will further serve as a guide to help managers implement managerial transformation processes and to maximize the 'hard' (effectiveness, efficiency etc.) and 'soft' (creativity, innovation etc.) potentialities of their human resources.

The special issue, thus, invites authors to  submit either conceptual or empirical manuscripts relevant to Euro-Mediterranean companies, and dealing with the above discussion; including, but not limited to the subjects of :

-    New work and collaborative practices (Teleworkers, co-workers, collaborative work, fablabs, hackers, etc)
-    Corporate entrepreneurship and innovation
-    Reflexive and adaptable organizational systems and structures
-    Entrepreneurial and horizontal leadership
-    Cultural diversity and inclusive organizations - Adaptive and reactive change management
-    Adopting and adapting organizational forms to digital managerial and marketing transformations
-    Collaborative innovation in various contexts (SME, multinationals, M&A)
-    Contemporary innovative human resource practices
-    Relations, problems and solutions on the interface between innovative management practices and new organization forms
-    Future management and leadership techniques

Important Dates

Submission portal opens:         March 1st, 2019
Manuscript submission deadline:     October 27th, 2019

Special issue will be published in:     2020

Submission and review process

EuroMed Journal of Business, the official journal of the EuroMed Academy of Business, invites submissions for a Special Issue that seeks to advance research on new approaches of management practices and rising new forms of organizations. The Special Issue invites and will accept empirical and theoretical papers that are primarily of scholarly nature and of true scientific standard, as demanded by the quality of the journal (EMJB) itself; and with special welcome to works of parallel managerial/practical worth as well.

All papers submitted to EuroMed Journal of Business will undergo a double-blind peer review process. The manuscripts should be structured in line with the guidelines, available at Authors are invited to submit their manuscript through the following link:

Guest editors

Professor Alkis Thrassou, University of Nicosia, Cyprus; EuroMed Academy of Business, EU (

Professor Hela Chebbi, ESG-University of Quebec at Montreal UQAM, EuroMed Academy of Business, (

Indicative References

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