CfP: Minority in Asia Special Issue

Special Issue

Asia Pacific Journal of Management

Diversity and Minority in Organizations in Asia: Towards a More Inclusive Workplace?

Guest editors:

Kelly Z. Peng (Hong Kong Shue Yan University & Lanzhou University,

Fang Lee Cooke (Monash University,

Xuhua Wei (Lanzhou University,

Diversity and its relevance in the Asia Context

The development experience in the world over the last century has shown that economic growth cannot be sustained without better minority socioeconomic and political accommodations, which underpins the diversity and inclusion policy and practice as part of human resource management (HRM) at the organizational level. However, despite the growing interest in diversity and inclusion management in both research and practice in various parts of the world, attention on diversity management in general and on minorities specifically in Asian countries remains limited. Minority groups exist in various organizations in a wide range of societies. Minority can be defined as a group that people who have or are believed to have an attribute that marks them as different and leads them to be devalued in the eyes of others (Major & O’Brien, 2005). They are members of out-group that can be exploited for in-group gain (Kurzban & Leary, 2001). Asia is the most populated and diverse continent in terms of political systems, historical tradition, races, religions and cultural heritage (Cooke & Kim, 2018). Managing gender and sexual orientation in the workplace may also be much more complicated in most Asian countries due to traditional societal perceptions towards women and sexual orientations. While many Asian countries have gender equality regulation and policy in place (though often not well enforced), their laws are much more opaque regarding protection on sexual orientation. Therefore, developing a deeper understanding of the diversity issue involving various types of minority groups is of particular importance and relevance to business organizations in Asia.

Extant research has found that workplace discrimination on various minorities was directly and indirectly associated with higher psychological distress (e.g., Velez, Cox, Polihronakis, & Moradial, 2018). It is consistent with minority stress theory that posits that disproportionate stress related to marginalized status of minority is linked to their psychological health and well-being (e.g., Meyer, 2003; Holman, 2018). Gender inequality has been a main issue in many Asian societies and workplaces (United Nations Development Programme, 2020). For example, pregnant working women are viewed as being more emotional, less competent, less committed to, and more likely to withdraw from, the organization (Cunningham & Macan, 2007). And the enactment of the two-child policy in China since the mid-2010s has led to a new wave of recruitment discrimination against female university graduates (Cooke, 2017).

            Nevertheless, minorities could influence the workplace in certain circumstances. For example, ethnic-racial minority employees are often treated unequally. Once they have power or leader position, they may attempt to reduce these inequalities (Cook & Glass, 2015). Although it has been argued that workforce diversity can enhance group performance and individual outcomes (e.g., Dreachslin, Weech & Dansky, 2004), the specific roles of the minorities are seldom mentioned, even less in Asian contexts. One theoretical possibility may come from minority influenced theory in sociology (Nemeth, 2012), in order to shed light on the role of minority in workplace diversity management. It is argued that it is possible for minority influence to overcome majority influence (Moscovici, 1980). Minority influence refer to a form of social influence, it takes place when a member of a minority group influences the majority to accept the minority’s beliefs or behaviour. So if minority groups appear flexible and compromising, they will be seen as less extreme and more reasonable, having a better chance of changing majority views (Mugny & Papastamou, 1980). People may not publicly agree with the minority position but they may state it privately, later or in a different form (David & Turner, 2001). Thus, we are curious about a question: what explanatory power does this and other theoretical perspectives have in conceptualizing workplace diversity management on minorities in workplaces in Asia?  

In this special issue, we call for research to shed light on diversity issues and practices in minorities to extend our knowledge in this field of research as well as to better integrate minorities at workplaces in the Asian setting. We welcome conceptual papers and empirical research related to minority groups (ethic and racial, gender, age, sexuality, etc.). Studies may adopt a wide range of theoretical perspectives and research methods to investigate minority issues at various levels, including cross-industry and cross-country analysis. In short, we would like to know more about “what is happening”, “why does this happen”, “what may the future hold”, “how minorities are influenced at work or influencing the workplace”, and “so what” for minority research, policy and management in Asia.

Examples of research topics

Specific topics that are relevant for this proposed special issue may include, but not restricted to, the following in the Asia context:

Obstacles hindering the effective management of diversity issues;Factors contributing to the effective integration of minorities in organizations;The phenomenon and effects of discrimination on minorities and trends of anti-discrimination in the workplace;Differences in work perception, attitudes, behaviors, and experiences among the majority and minority groups;Comparison of diversity management practices on minorities with non-Asian countries; When and how minorities could influence the majorities at workplaces to build an inclusive culture; The impact of having minorities participating in the top level governance of Asia organizations; Any other topics that are relevant to the diversity and inclusion issues.

Submission deadline:  August 30, 2021

Submission Process and Highlights:
* All manuscripts submitted to this Special Issue will be reviewed by the normal process of APJM. Manuscripts must be submitted on or before August 30, 2021 to be included in this Special Issue.

* The guest editors of this Special Issue will arrange Professional Development Workshop (PDW) at the June 2021 Asia Academy of Management Meeting. Authors of papers submitted to this Special Issue may be invited to participate in this PDW so that they can meet the guest editors.

* For informal inquires related to the Special Issue, the PDW in AAOM 2021, proposed topics and potential fit with the Special Issue objectives, please contact the guest editors.


Cook, A., & Glass, C. 2015. The power of one or power in numbers? Analyzing the effect of minority leaders on diversity policy and practice. Work and Occupations, 42(2): 183–215.

Cooke, F. L. 2017. The two-child policy in China: A bless or a curse for the employment of female university graduates? In D. Grimshaw, C. Fagan, G. Hebson, & I. Tavora (Eds.), Making work more equal: A new labour segmentation approach (pp. 227–245). Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Cooke, F. L. and Kim, S. H. 2018. Routledge handbook of human resource management in Asia. London: Routledge.

Cunningham, J., & Macan, T. 2007. Effects of applicant pregnancy on hiring decisions and interview ratings. Sex Roles, 57(7–8): 497–508.

David, B., & Turner, J. C. 2001. Self-categorization principles underlying majority and minority influence. In J. P. Forgas & K. D. Williams (Eds.), Social influence: Direct and indirect processes (pp. 293–314). Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.

Dreachslin, J. L., Weech-Maldonado, R., & Dansky, K. H. 2004. Racial and ethnic diversity and organizational behavior: A focused research agenda for health services management. Social Science & Medicine, 59(5): 961–971.

Holman, E. 2018. Theoretical extensions of minority stress theory for sexual minority individuals in the workplace: A cross‐contextual understanding of minority stress processes. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 10(1): 165–180.

Kurzban, R., & Leary, M. R. 2001. Evolutionary origins of stigmatization: The functions of social exclusion. Psychological Bulletin, 127(2): 187–208.

Major, B., & O'Brien, L. 2005. The social psychology of stigma. Annual Review of Psychology, 56(1): 393–421.

Meyer, I. H. 2003. Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129(5): 674–697.

Moscovici, S. 1980. Toward a theory of conversion behavior. In L. Berkowitz (Eds.), Advances in experimental social psychology, (Vol. 13, pp. 209–237). New York, NY: Academic Press.

Mugny, G., & Papastamou, S. 1980. When rigidity does not fail: Individualization and psychologization as resistances to the diffusion of minority innovations. European Journal of Social Psychology, 10(1): 43–61.

Nemeth, C. J. 2012. Minority influence theory. In P. A. M. Van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of theories of social psychology (pp. 362–378). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 

United Nations Development Programme. 2019. Human development report 2019. Retrieved from

Velez, B., Cox, R., Polihronakis, C., & Moradi, B. 2018. Discrimination, work outcomes, and mental health among women of color: The protective role of womanist attitudes. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 65(2): 178–193.

Working on a manuscript?

Avoid the most common mistakes and prepare your manuscript for journal editors.

Learn more