Special Issue "Gender Equality, Diversity, and Self-Efficacy at Work"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Gender Studies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Konstanze Senge
Guest Editor
Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Institut für Soziologie, Emil-Abderhalden-Str. 26–27 06108 Halle (Saale), Germany
Dr. Veronika Zink
Guest Editor
Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Institut für Soziologie, Emil-Abderhalden-Str. 26–27 06108 Halle (Saale), Germany

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

As a result of the profound changes in modern market economies, we are confronted with a fundamental transformation of contemporary working societies (e.g., wage labour). The shift in labour policy towards deregulation as well as the organisation of employment, variously captioned as a process of the globalization, digitalization, and subjectivation of labour, is reflected in an ongoing politically and academically contested debate about the societal potentialities and the limitations of this change—be it discussions about general changes in global labour markets as well as transnational work, the increasing employment of women in many countries, the aging of Western European societies, the increasing tendencies towards precarity in prosperous nations, and about new demands on work and organisation through subjectivation or, last but not least, the invoked lack of skilled professionals.

At the heart of these controversies lies a realigned engagement with social issues at stake. In as much as the social divide on the one hand as well as processes of social cohesion on the other often arise from the structure of the working world, one wonders how the changed working environment either reflects, reproduces, or changes existing social inequalities. How do the overall changes of the labour market affect diverse social and cultural groups as well as their social situation? What are the organisational and subjective prospects of dealing with inequalities in the field of labour?

Specifically, this Special Issue aims to investigate the effects of these developments and challenges on the working conditions as well as their implications for gender inequality or equality, diversity, and the experience of self-efficacy at work:

How do various changes in work conditions affect organisations and employers, and what gender effects result from this? How do these processes and challenges reproduce or transform social (e.g., gender, ethnic, age-related or health-related) inequalities in organizations and on the job? How are women and men with a migration and refugee background integrated into the labour market, and what related inequalities manifest themselves? How do companies and other employers deal with the cultural and religious diversity of employees?

Furthermore, and with respect to the subjective level, in as much as the concept of self-efficacy does not only stand for socio-situational awareness, but has variously been described as strategy for empowerment (especially in working environments and regarding one’s performance), we would like to discuss the meaning and function of this idea for the contemporary labour force under sign of subjectivation. What is the role of self-efficacy at work for the individual in dealing with social inequalities? How does the experience of self-efficacy influence the cognition of social inequalities? Finally, on what social and cultural resources does the formation of the capability for being self-efficient depend, and in what ways does this concept not only resolve social problems but might also reinforce social inequity?

We encourage papers that tackle the following aspects:

  1. Practices of marginalisation in profit-gaining employment, not-for-profit oriented labour, and in profit- and not-for-profit oriented organisations: Practices of marginalisation, including discrimination or disclassification, are often taking place in relation to differentiating characteristics such as gender and sexuality, ethnicity/race, language, religion, national or social origin, and the attribution of disability or the body. However, how do we identify practices or marginalisation, and which practices of disclassification are characteristic to current paradigms and structures of organizing labour? Conversely, do we encounter specific practices of resistance and/or refusal of marginalised workers enabling injustices either to become blatant or even to dissolve?
  2. The subjective experience of inequality and the role of self-efficacy: We are especially interested in social research on experiences that mediate the feeling of inequality and marginalisation. Beside the objective dimensions of social inequality we want to encourage studies that analyse subjective experiences of inequality such as emotional dimensions, symbolic aspects, and distinct experiences such as self-efficacy as well as concomitant cognitive and affective strategies.
  3. Organisational responses to inequality or organisational conditions that foster unequal working conditions for women, men, and diversities: Organisations (e.g., service organisations), companies (e.g., cleaning or meatpacking companies), and the so-called supporting infrastructures of the professional world (vocational training centres, equal opportunity programmes as well as the job centre), typical job requirements (part-time, temporary work) as well as structural specificities (career patterns, hierarchies) also contribute to the marginalisation and discrimination of employees. We are interested how the marginalisation of social groups works in specific jobs or typical organisational contexts and how it is brought about. What causes marginalisation, who is particularly affected? Further, what organisational strategies can be observed to counteract inequalities with regard to social groups?
  4. Theoretical contributions to an understanding of the connection between self-efficacy, gender, diversity and inequality in the context of organised employment: Current incentives to uncover mechanisms of inequality can be found above all in Anglo-American debates and in critical theoretical traditions (including Feminist Theory, Critical Theory, Men’s Studies, Intersectionality Research, Postcolonial Studies, Queer Studies, Critical Migration Research, Critical Whiteness Studies or Disability Studies). We particularly welcome papers that discuss social theoretical problems offering analytical formulations and empirical settings to be analysed, in order to adequately deal with the understanding and explanation of inequalities related to gender, diversity and self-efficacy at work.

Suggestion for a Timeline:

  • All authors shall send a short paper of 4 pages that outlines the argument of the full paper by 31 July to Konstanze Senge <[email protected]> and Veronika Zink <[email protected]>.
  • Notification of invitation to submit a full paper of 12 pages by 15 September
  • Full paper due by 15 December 2020

Prof. Konstanze Senge
Dr. Veronika Zink
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Gender Diversity Inequality Self-Eficacy Subjecitivation Marginalization Sociology of Work

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
A Tendency to Essentialism? Discourses about Women’s Leadership
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(8), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9080130 - 27 Jul 2020
The main objective of this research is to identify the women’s leadership model diffused through management literature in order to determine if there is a pre-eminence of essentialist and exclusionary principles in its sense. Through the Appraisal Theory and by analyzing a recent [...] Read more.
The main objective of this research is to identify the women’s leadership model diffused through management literature in order to determine if there is a pre-eminence of essentialist and exclusionary principles in its sense. Through the Appraisal Theory and by analyzing a recent management literature sample, the values associated with the women’s leadership model are identified, and a conclusion about their essentialist character is reached. The initial hypothesis is that the women’s leadership model, disseminated to professional women through management literature, contains an essentialist character that reproduces gender dichotomies and the rational homo oeconomicus model by hindering gender equality and the development of egalitarian leadership models from being accomplished. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equality, Diversity, and Self-Efficacy at Work)
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