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Dr Penelope Muzanenhamo awarded Human Relations Journal Paper of the Year 2023

  • Date: Mon, Oct 23, 2023

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By Beth Gormley, Communications and PR Manager, UCD College of Business

UCD College of Business Assistant Professor Penelope Muzanenhamo was awarded Paper of the Year 2023 by the journal of Human Relations Journal for her research titled, ‘Epistemic injustice and hegemonic ordeal in management and organization studies: Advancing Black scholarship’. 

Dr Muzanenhamo co-authored this award winning research with Professor Rashedur Chowdhury, University of Essex, UK. They both received Human Relations Paper of the Year 2023 award at the Academy of Management 83rd Annual Conference, August 2023, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Human Relations is an international peer reviewed journal ranked among the World’s top tier journals (ABS4 and FT50). The journal publishes the highest quality original research that advances an understanding of social relationships at and around work. Commenting on her Human Relations Paper of the Year 2023 award, Dr Muzanenhamo stated:

I thank the Human Relations editors and reviewers for listening to our Black voices, and showing the World that Black Lives Matter. I dedicate this award to particularly Black female scholars, who despite being traditionally the least valued academic actors and employees because of their race and gender, continue persevering with dignity and love their hearts. I have cited some of the Black female scholars’ work. Their work has given me voice, and I see every Black female scholar as a role model in one way or the other. 

Dr Muzanenhamo further reflected on the journey she walked in developing her award-winning research:

The earliest version of this research received a Best Paper Award 2020 from the Critical Management Studies (CMS) division of the Academy of Management. The Human Relations Paper of the Year 2023 award validates the judgement of quality made by the CMS reviewers, programme chairs and executive committee in awarding AoM-CMS Best Paper 2020. I am grateful to the CMS community for supporting my growth as a scholar and a human being.

Through my interactions and observations within the AoM-CMS community, I have learnt that as Critical Management scholars, we are critical of inequalities, injustices and their sources. I believe as a CMS Community, we don't look at someone or an organization and decide, ‘Oh, we don't like this entity, and now let's be critical of it’. Instead, we look at the reasons why someone is treated as irrelevant, inadequate and dispensable. I believe we then ask what we can do collectively to change that dehumanization. These are the central concerns addressed by our Human Relations Paper of the Year 2023, with a focus on epistemic injustice and advancing Black scholarship.

Abstract of ‘Epistemic injustice and hegemonic ordeal in management and organization studies: Advancing Black scholarship’:

Why do the majority of (White) academics within management and organization studies (MOS) endorse discourses of equality, diversity and inclusion on the one hand yet ignore the epistemic injustice suffered by Black scholars on the other? 

We demonstrate how White supremacy within a historically racist academia marginalizes non-White bodies from knowledge production and dissemination by embedding epistemic injustice in MOS, and diminishing their utility globally. 

To expose the multifaceted harm caused by White supremacy, we reflect on Black scholars’ experiences of epistemic injustice, conceptualizing their work (i.e. Black scholarship) as underpinned by epistemic struggle and epistemic survival. We conceptualize epistemic struggle as striving to produce and disseminate knowledge in the face of difficulties and resistance generated by structural and agential powers. Epistemic survival denotes the sustained presence of Black scholarship through compromise, collusion and radicalism. Subsequently, we propose collective intellectual activism based on cross-racial coalitions to eliminate epistemic injustice and locate Black scholarship at the center of MOS.

The full paper can be read online here

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