Diversity at a critical juncture: New theories for a complex phenomenon

Stella M. Nkomo, Myrtle P. Bell, Laura Morgan Roberts, Aparna Joshi, Sherry M.B. Thatcher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


In 2015 we issued a call for papers for a Special Topic Forum (STF) on Diversity at a Critical Juncture in response to contextual shifts that raised questions regarding the assumptions, scope, and implications of prevalent theorizing on diversity in management. Four years later, societal trends have made this call even more urgent and relevant. Although these trends are both ominous and disruptive to the current state of knowledge, they also provide opportunities to pursue new questions and develop new theories on the topic of diversity. The articles published in this STF advance diversity theory by addressing several aspects of our changing context and the complexities associated with it. We begin this introduction to the STF by first tracking the trajectory of diversity theorizing over the past five decades, highlighting various epochal shifts at the societal level as well as within the Academy of Management that marked the ascendancy of the field of diversity. We then describe the current critical juncture, highlighting how the articles address the issues identified in our initial call. We close by offering several pathways for further theorizing that incorporate the complexity, unpredictability, and importance of studying diversity at this current critical juncture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-517
Number of pages20
JournalAcademy of Management Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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