Call for Papers – “Gender, Generation and Leadership: Insights from South Asia”

Special issue call for papers from South Asian Journal of Global Business Research

“Gender, Generation and Leadership: Insights from South Asia”

Guest Editors
Shaista E. Khilji
Jawad Syed
Mary Sully De Luque


Global leadership has served as a hallmark topic in leadership research for the past few decades, in response to an unprecedented growth of international firms and markets (Ajarimah, 2001; Caligiuri, 2006; Gentry et al., 2014; Khilji et al., 2010; Mendenhall et al., 2012). However, scholars have described it as a western-centric (Arvey et al., 2015), seemingly age-blind (Spisak et al., 2014) and male-dominated (Kyriakidou, 2012; Syed & Murray, 2008) field. The intersectional effects of gender, age and other forms of identity remain relatively under-explored in the leadership literature. Arvey et. al. (2015) note that western scholars and western data predominantly drive global leadership research. To energize this field and add to theoretical significance (Glynn & Raffaelli, 2010), it is important to examine global leadership and its interplay with gender and inter-generations in non-western or ‘unconventional’ contexts (Bamberger & Pratt, 2010; Khilji & Rowley, 2013; Scandura & Dorfman, 2004; Steers et al., 2012).

For the past two decades, South Asia has attracted greater interest among business leaders, politicians and academics alike. It has become one of the most dynamic and fast-growing regions in the world, which many multinational companies consider as an important strategic growth market for their business activities, as they invest in local production facilities and integrate domestic companies into their value chains (Khilji, 2012; Khilji & Rowley, 2013). Goldman Sachs (2011) predicts continued development in the region- as India is likely to emerge as world’s second largest economy by 2050, and Bangladesh and Pakistan have a high potential of becoming two of the world’s largest 11 economies (referred to as Next-11) in the 21st century, along with BRIC, (Goldman Sachs, 2011). Recently, Pakistan has attracted US$ 46 billion of investment from China, which is expected to boost Pakistan’s socio-economic development (CNN Money, 2015; The Wall Street Journal, 2015).

From a generational perspective, leadership literature has paid relatively less attention to age (Spisak, et al., 2014). Age remains an important issue within South Asia context given the population growth and demographic mix in that region. In stark contrast to many developed countries, South Asia has a significantly younger population that is continuing to grow. If qualified and skilled, then this population is likely to be in high demand in future global labor market (Khilji, 2012; Khilji & Keilson, 2014). Recent reviews of national talent development initiatives indicate that South Asian countries, particularly Pakistan and Bangladesh, are acutely aware of a long standing ‘leadership deficit’ there, with many reports indicating that the young have a growing level of anxiety about renewal of leadership (Khilji & Keilson, 2014; Masood, 2013). To address this, respective governments have implemented a wide range of leadership development initiatives. Further, scholars have also argued that the Indian subcontinent –given its fast changing environment and resource constraints – should serve as a training ground for future global leaders (Khilji & Rowley, 2013; Power, 2011). In sum, there is a necessity to learn more about leadership in and from South Asia, because demographically and contextually, South Asia is likely to exert significant influences on global leadership research and practice. Specifically, examining South Asian generational views on leadership is likely to offer new insights for future theory and practice of leadership (Pio & Syed, 2014).

From a gender perspective, the leadership field is strongly focused on, and influenced by, men. Some scholars have even argued that the term leadership is “conventionally constructed in masculine terms” (Kyriakidou, 2012, p. 4; Vinkenburg et al., 2011). In order to overcome this limitation, several scholars have undertaken studies to examine leadership through a gender lens (Eagley & Heilman, 2015; Peus et al., 2015). A majority of gender research has adopted an equity and fairness perspective, focusing on the gender gap in leadership (Hausmann, Tyson, & Zahidi, 2011; Peus, et al., 2015; Schuh et al., 2014). While this research has contributed fundamentally to the literature, it may be worthwhile to link leadership studies to broader domains of gender- including gender roles, identity, social location and relationships (Glynn & Raffaelli, 2010). Such topics are not only important for reconsidering the role of gender in leadership and evaluating conceptualizations of leadership but also most appropriate for South Asia where gender inequities appear to be more significant than in the West (UNDP, 2013). However, there are also several South Asian women who are defying organizational and social norms (Pio & Syed, 2013). Some of these women are leading multinational corporations, while others are at the forefront of socio-economic change through their entrepreneurial ventures. For example, Malala Yusafzai’s effort for girls’ right to education, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw’s rise as the Indian biotech queen, Bibi Russell’s building of a pioneering fashion house in Bangladesh, Naina Lal Kidwai’s appointment as the Indian Country Head of HSBC, Nasreen Kasuri as founder of the international chain of Beaconhouse School System in Pakistan and Roshane Zafar’s drive as an award winning Pakistani social entrepreneur.

Through this Special Issue (SI), we want to foster research on gender, generation and leadership from the South Asia region or from a South Asian perspective. The SI seeks to improve understanding of demographic and social development in the context of leadership in South Asia and the factors that influence these developments. With the purpose of providing an unconventional non-western perspective (Bamberger & Pratt, 2010; Khilji & Rowley, 2013) and also in line with the intersectionality perspective (Shields, 2008), we are interested in publishing research that explores South Asian leadership experiences and perspectives about gender, and/or generations. An examination of the intersections between gender and leadership, generations and leadership, and/or generation and gender in leadership (including life course stage and age) can help us to understand changes in gender, intergenerational and other social relations over time. An intersectional lens is helpful to deconstruct categories within which policy makers and academics often confine groups and individuals, providing a nuanced and holistic understanding of how women are located within various social situations and contexts (Shields, 2008). The lens is also useful for developing an understanding of the leadership process – including leadership development in organizations – in terms of how women’s potential as business leaders may be fully utilized, as well as the mechanisms for changes over time. A critical analysis of gender and generations is also crucial to understanding leadership because of the constantly evolving relations between women and men, and between younger and older generations (IIED, 2013). Both of these approaches encourage South Asian voices to emerge, as these are predominantly absent in the leadership literature.

Glynn & Raffaelli (2010) highlight methodological convergence among leadership scholars. To expand the scope as well as focus on theoretical development of the global leadership field, submissions of studies using non-traditional research methods are also encouraged for this SI. In recent years, studies using diverse research methods (such as storytelling, narrative, ethnographic) that have offered rich insights into leadership patterns. Thus, we urge submission of all forms of rigorous analyses as well as critical perspectives.

We seek rigorous data-driven and strong conceptual frameworks for this SI. We encourage papers and frameworks that go beyond merely finding cross-cultural, cross-gender and cross-generational differences (or similarities) to highlighting diverse, local and unexplored perspectives that can enrich theoretical developments in global leadership and offer ‘frame-breaking’ insights (Youssef & Luthans, 2012). The mission of SAJGBR is to advance theoretical and empirical knowledge of business issues facing multinational and local organizations of South Asia and South Asian diaspora. With this in mind, we request only paper submissions that are based upon data collected from any South Asian country, as per the World Bank classification (i.e., Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.


The purpose of this SI is to offer view of South Asian leadership from gender and generational lens. Thus, authors are allowed to construct their own definition of leadership, gender and generations to be able to incorporate diverse views and conceptualization, and truly capture South Asian perspectives. We are interested in a variety of submissions, so long as they address an issue relating to gender and leadership OR generations and leadership OR a combination of gender, generations and leadership in the South Asian context specifically. We expect contributors to make an important theoretical contribution and clearly incorporate cultural or contextual variations.

Topics could include, but are not limited to:

1. What are the concepts and perspectives, processes and outcomes of leadership in South Asia? How (and why) are these influenced (or not influenced) by gender and/or generations?
2. How do South Asian women lead multinational companies and other organizations in South Asian and/or non-South Asian context? 3. What are some of the current views of gender and generations in leadership in South Asia? What new views are emerging?
4. How does gender or generations intersect with other forms of identity such as social class, faith, ethnicity, caste and urban/rural background and to what extent do such intersections affect leadership in South Asia?
5. How is gender reproduced, maintained, negotiated and re-created through practice and development of leadership?
6. What are salient features of women’s multiple social identities in South Asia? How do these reinforce, neutralize and constitute each other to construct leadership identities?
7. How are gender and/or generational stereotyping portrayed in South Asian leadership? How does this effect business?
8. Do the younger generations of leaders act as agents of change. How?
9. What are the varying gender and/or generational expectations from leadership? How are organizations accommodating these expectations in South Asia?
10. What is the relationship between global and local ways of understanding gender and generation in leadership?
11. How is leadership development related to gender and emerging leaders?
12. Given that entrepreneurial ventures provide women the opportunities to practice leadership (Bullough et al., 2015), how does entrepreneurial creativity and independence allow women to become good leaders? What are some of the opportunities and challenges that women may be faced with as an entrepreneur leader?

For theoretical contributions, we also encourage stocktaking reviews and analyses. If researchers are to pursue this line of research, we strongly encourage them to review Stinchombe’s (2002) conceptualization of theory development, Glynn & Raffaelli’s (2010) meta-analysis of leadership research, and Khilji & Matthew’s (2012) review of research focused upon South Asia.

Submission Guidelines and Schedule

All manuscripts will undergo a double-blind review process. Submissions should be between 7000-8000 words including references, figures, and tables. Please follow submission guidelines at

A selection of the submitted papers may also be considered for inclusion into a presentation symposium to be submitted to the 2016 Academy of Management Conference – subject to the paper’s potential and authors’ interest and availability. Hence, submission deadline for full paper and/or expanded abstracts of no less than 4000 words (for consideration for inclusion in the AOM 2016 symposium proposal) is: December 10, 2015.

Submission deadline for full paper (for all papers): April 10, 2016.
Expected publication date: September 2017.

Authors are welcome, though not required, to contact the SI editors to discuss their ideas before formal submission. Please direct all queries to all editors via email: Shaista E. Khilji (, Jawad Syed ( ), and Mary Sully De Luque ( ).

Note: The title of the Journal may change from 2017. More information will be shared with authors, when available.


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