Organizational Behavior and Human Processes
June 1, 2022
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Call for Papers: Special Issue: Allyship, Advocacy and Social Justice to Support Equality for Marginalized Groups in the Workplace

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

Guest Editors: Ellen Ernst Kossek, Jamie Ladge, Laura Little, Denise Lewin Loyd, Alexis Nicole Smith, Catherine H. Tinsley

Guest editor authorship is alphabetical, all co-editor contributed equally. Submission Deadline  June 1, 2022

Organizational transformation without equity and allyship is meaningless. —Lupe Poblano

The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.         —Albert Einstein

Allyship is a growing concept in diversity and inclusion, and social justice research. It is emerging as an effective way to create organizational change toward the advancement of equality (Sue et al., 2019) and inclusive climates in organizations (King & Cortina, 2010; Scully & Rowe, 2009).  While the term “allyship” is relatively new, research related to the support of marginalized  and stigmatized individuals and groups in the workplace is prevalent in the scholarly and practitioner literatures.   Allyship has many different motivations, including one’s identification with principles of social justice and equality, benevolence and paternalism, altruism, empathy, spiritual values, social identification and support, and self-interest (Edwards, 2006; Patton & Bondi, 2015).

 Allyship as a Social Change Lever and  Recent Societal Events

Apart from promoting organizational equity, allyship can also hasten societal change to address gaps in existing social institutions and status hierarchies. For example, police shootings of  George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other unarmed Black people precipitated mass demonstrations including people of color and White allies alike. As acts of public allyship, these widespread protests have provoked discourse around systemic solutions to racial injustice.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic also has made increasing visible the inequities embedded in our employment systems and social fabric. Allyship may offer one more route towards leveling various playing fields.  For example,  the work-life inequities entrenched in gender roles, and limited supports,  have become magnified as the labor force is in quarantine.  As one study reported,  women shouldered 90 percent of the schooling and care during pandemic lockdowns (Kossek, Allen & Dumas, 2020).  This gender gap might be addressed with increased organizational workplace support for caregiving roles, paid family leaves,  and the greater involvement of men and domestic partners as shared allies in caregiving. Moreover allyship for  “essential” workers  during the pandemic, such  as those in health care, food service, and many front-line working industries often received  statements of public support that was sometimes not aligned with social  realities (Henekamm, et al, 2020). For example,  most essential workers – including many  women and people of color – faced work-life inequality as they could not telework, making child care and homeschooling challenging, and  increasing exposure to COVID-19 (Kossek & Lee, 2020). Simple acts of allyship such as grocery customers wearing masks while shopping and coworkers encouraging sick colleagues to stay home, could help attenuate such workplace inequities.

Recently, new federal policies have arisen to serve allying purposes. For example, on his first few days in office, the new U.S. President, Joe Biden,  has issued several Executive Orders unequivocally reinforcing the U.S. government’s comment to equity, inclusion, and importantly, allyship. These executive orders include eliminating further federal spending on a  physical wall on the US-Mexico border, as well as rejecting a previous discriminatory bans on transgender men and women’s participation in the armed forces, on Muslim travel into the United States, and on educational attempts to examine and address systemic racism.[1]

Growing global awareness of these social inequities and the importance of addressing diversity, inclusion, and social justice efforts is instantiated in recent G7 leaders’ summit pledge to OECD’s “Business for Inclusive Growth.” The pledge commits nations and leading companies to advance this agenda to strengthen equality of opportunity geographically, promote diversity and inclusion, and reduce gender inequality by advancing human rights in business operations, building inclusive workplaces, and strengthening inclusion in organizational value chains and ecosystems (OECD, 2019).  Thus allyship, as a possible process for reducing inequality, is a relevant topic both for organizational and social science researchers.

Expanding Notions of Allyship to Advance Research and Social Justice

Existing theory and research on allyship has primarily studied allyship as a positive phenomenon, often at the individual level of analysis, emanating from a position of privilege and dominance.  An ally has been defined as a person who belongs to “advantaged groups engaging in committed action to improve the treatment and status of a disadvantaged group” (Louis et al., 2019, p. 6).  Washington and Evans (1991) defined an ally as someone who adopts the role of supporting another group in which they do not belong, to support either acceptance, fair treatment, or inclusion.

Research on allyship has focused on 1) ally identity development (e.g., Broido, 2000; Edwards, 2006); 2) antecedents of allyship (Duhigg et al., 2010; Iyer & Ryan, 2009): and 3) consequences of allyship (Dickter et al., 2011; Droogendyk et al., 2016) across a range of disciplines and contexts.  Attitudinal pathways (Cropanzano et al., 2001) to allyship and support for social justice have been identified as involving motivations including 1) moral inclusion – that is seeing a group as meriting fair treatment (Opotow, 1990), 2) affinity for the group (Pittinsky et al,  1991), and 3) intergroup contact fostering perceptions of mutual goals (Tropp & Bianchi, 2006).

In this special issue, we aim to advance knowledge on allyship by seeking papers that may link current studies to seminal theory on these relevant concepts as well as those that expand notions of allyship to reflect current societal and organizational contexts.  Sometimes allyship has been narrowly defined to focus on dominant identity  group members’ support for subordinated identity[2]  groups. Yet we maintain that subordinated identity  groups can also support other subordinated and dominant identity groups as well. Thus, we argue that scholars, individuals, groups, and organizations need to broaden conceptualizations of allyship to include both nonmarginalized and marginalized group members, as well as intergroup support, beliefs, and actions.  Further , the concepts of dominant and subordinated identity groups may also be useful to explore in ally research as some terms such as minority and majority may not necessarily fit a growing mult-cultural society across economic strata. For example, in some states such as California, whites comprise a  numeric minority. Research might also recognize that although allyship is usually pursued for positive social change, movements within social and institutional system can have both upsides and unintended negative consequences.

The goal of this special issue is to bring to the forefront a collection of high quality theoretical insights and empirical research that adds to our understanding of the dynamics, antecedents and outcomes associated with being an ally, engaging in allyship, or experiencing the consequences of allyship for a wide variety of marginalized members of social identity groups across a range of contexts. These may include but are not limited to marginalization based on gender, gender identity, gender orientation, race and cultural ethnicity, religion, age, parental status, nationality, geography, and physical or mental ability.  We acknowledge that to date most allyship research has been largely applied and advocacy-focused, as well as written from the assumption that allyship results in positive outcomes.  Such research assumptions present an opportunity to explore both positive aspects and benefits of allyship that are both theoretically and empirical-based as well as the downside and potentially detrimental effects of allyship. Thus, in this special issue, we welcome a range of theoretical insights and empirical approaches that tackle the issue of allyship in novel ways, link allyship conceptualization to the rich seminal concepts noted above on intergroup relations and stigma support that preceded it, and that add new perspectives on the challenges and unintended consequences of allyship or caveats of using privilege or aligned intergroup interests to advance others.  Submissions should address topical and timely issues of relevance to a broad audience of organizational scholarship.

Topics and Foci

Specifically, we seek submissions on a broad range of topics that could investigate the following questions, topics and approaches:

  • Conceptualization and Measurement of Allyship
    • How should allyship be defined, conceptualized, and measured? For example, how is allyship similar to or different from similar concepts such as workplace altruism, advocacy, bystander, mentorship, sponsorship, paternalism, empathy, family-supportive behaviors?
    • What are the needs to refine, revise, or expand current theories and definitions? For example, how might one measure ally identity, allyship, ally behaviors?
    • What new measures and concepts are needed to better understand the dynamics of allyship (e.g., marginalized group members’ perceptions of need for and benefits allyship?) Should terms such as dominant and subordinated identity groups be used to replace traditional terms such as minority and majority ?
    • Should allyship be expanded conceptually to not just include nonmarginalized groups but peer support from group members in one’s own identity group?
    • How do different pathways for allyship (e.g. moral, affinity, shared goals) influence processes and outcomes in organizations?
  • Privilege, Trust, and Allyship
    • How should privilege be defined and linked to being an ally?
    • Do allies have to, by definition, be members of another group or can they be privileged, ingroup members? How are ingroup allies different than outgroup allies?
    • What are the consequences (intended and unintended) of trusting other groups to speak up for a marginalized group?
    • What if groups reject the allyship of those offering?
  • Intersectionality and Allyship
    • What are the implications of allyship directed towards people with multiple disadvantaged identities? Do the dynamics of allyship vary for different types of social identity groups (e.g., marginalization based on gender, gender identity, gender orientation, race and cultural ethnicity, religion, age, parental status, nationality and geography, and physical or mental ability).
    • What are the intersectional commonalities and differences in allyship needs for social identity subgroups?
    • Are certain social identities more likely to be supported over others in organizations?
  • Pitfalls, Downsides or Unintended Consequences of Allyship
    • Under what circumstances can allyship be harmful to the disadvantaged group members?
    • Are there downsides or negative consequences of being an ally for the ally or the target group being supported?
    • How does the process of allyship play out in an intergroup context?
  • Multi-Level Contextual Dynamics of Allyship
    • What are the conditions that lead to allyship from phenomena at different levels of analysis (i.e., individual, group and organizational and societal levels)?
    • How might allyship be conceptualized with differential moderators, mediating mechanisms and outcomes?
    • How do we define a climate for allyship and to what extent can organization develop such climates?
  • Antecedents and Barriers to Allyship
    • What are the different types of allies and which organizational actors are most likely to engage in and provide such support?
    • What does it take for allyship transfer to occur? Does being an ally to one group encourage or facilitate that person to be an ally to other disadvantaged groups?
    • What are the individual, contextual, organizational antecedents of allyship and ally behaviors?
  • Effective Behaviors, Policies, Practice and Interventions
    • What are effective and less effective ally behaviors?
    • Are there theoretically based training and transformational practices to advance allyship?
    • What are the best practices to encourage ally behaviors in organizations?
  • Allyship and Social Justice in times of Crisis
    • What types of workplace allyship are most effective to advance racial equality, particularly during times of visible social injustices involving hate crimes and to support movements in response such as Black Lives matter?
    • How did the covid-19 pandemic hinder or advance allyship across gender, racial and socio-economic groups?
    • How might our existing social institutions be changed to encourage allyship during times of crises?
    • What interventions are needed to increase the prevalence of allyship behaviors in the workplace and society?

Note: this list is not meant to be exhaustive and is not limited to the aforementioned ideas. We encourage employing a range of qualitative and quantitative methods and study designs. OBHDP seeks research that adopts rigorous methodologies, including conducting studies using different manipulations of the same variable, multiple samples, multiple contexts, or multiple methods (e.g., experiments and field studies). We do not publish work that relies on just one cross-sectional same-source study (despite the richness of the data you collected), that is not enough to provide the type of compelling evidence needed.

Review Process Papers submitted to the special issue will follow the standard review procedure for OBHDP.

Deadline:    June 1, 2022 Link for call:

March 22-25 , 2022  Diversity Conference paper development opportunity.

A conference on diversity and inclusion is planned at Purdue University Krannert School of  Management in  March 22 -25, 2022.   Scholars who are interested in presenting a working draft of their paper for peer mentoring feedback prior to submission can submit an abstract of their paper by Nov. 1, 2021.  Information on the conference is here.

2022 Conference – Purdue Krannert

While attendance at the conference is not at all required to submit to the special issue and presenting at the conference is no guarantee that a paper will be considered for the issue, interested scholars who plan to submit to the OBHDP special issue and would like to get peer mentoring feedback on their paper drafts prior to the journal submission are encouraged to attend the conference. Accepted abstracts relevant to the special issue themes will have their own research tracks.


Broido, E. M. 2000. The development of social justice allies during college: A phenomenological investigation (Doctoral dissertation. Journal of College Student Development, 41: 3–17.

Cropanzano R., D.E. Rupp, C.J. Mohler and M. Schminke. 2001. Three Roads to Organizational Justice. In: Ferris G. (Ed.). Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. 1-113

Dickter, C. L., Kittel, J. A., & Gyurovski, I. I. 2012. Perceptions of non-target confronters in response to racist and heterosexist remarks. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42: 112–119.

Droogendyk, L., Louis, W. R., & Wright, S. C. (2016). Renewed promise for positive cross-group contact: The role of supportive contact in empowering collective action. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science / Revue Canadienne Des Sciences Du Comportement, 48: 317–327.

Duhigg, J. M., Rostosky, S. S., Gray, B. E., & Wimsatt, M. K. (2010). Development of Heterosexuals into Sexual-Minority Allies: A Qualitative Exploration. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 7: 2–14.

Edwards, K.E. 2006. Aspiring Social Justice Ally Identity Development: A Conceptual Model, NASPA Journal, 43:4, 39-60

Einstein, A. 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2019 from

Hennekam, S., Ladge, J., & Shymko, Y. 2020. From zero to hero: An exploratory study examining sudden hero status among nonphysician health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Applied Psychology, 105(10), 1088-1100.

Iyer, A., & Ryan, M. K. 2009. Why Do Men and Women Challenge Gender Discrimination in the Workplace? The Role of Group Status and In-group Identification in Predicting Pathways to Collective Action. Journal of Social Issues, 65:, 791–814.

King, E. B., & Cortina, J. M. 2010. The Social and Economic Imperative of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Supportive Organizational Policies. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 3: 69–78.

Kossek, E. E.  Allen, T., Dumas, T. In press.   Boundaryless Work: The Impact of COVID-19 on Work-Life Boundary Management, Integration, and Gendered Divisions of Labor for Academic Women in STEMM.   Wash., DC: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Kossek, E. E., & Lee, K.-H. 2020. The coronavirus & work–life inequality: Three evidence-based initiatives to update U.S. work–life employment policies. Behavioral Science & Policy. Retrieved from

Louis, W. R., Thomas, E., Chapman, C. M., Achia, T., Wibisono, S., Mirnajafi, Z., & Droogendyk, L. 2019. Emerging research on intergroup prosociality: Group members’ charitable giving, positive contact, allyship, and solidarity with others. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 13: e12436.

OECD.  August 23, 2019. Business pledging against inequalities at the G7 summit 2017. Retrieved from

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: An introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 1–20.

Patton, L.D. & Bondi, S. 2015. Nice white men or social justice allies?: Using critical race theory to examine how White male faculty and administrators engage in ally work, Race Ethnicity and Education, 18: 488-514.

Pittinsky, T.Matthew Montoya, R.Tropp, L. and Chen, A. (2007), “How and When Leader Behavior Affects Intergroup Liking: Affect, Approval, and Allophilia”, Mannix, E.Neale, M. and Anderson, C. (Ed.) Affect and Groups (Research on Managing Groups and Teams, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 125-144.

Poblano, L. 2019. San Francisco: Compasspoint. Organizational transformation without equity and allyship is meaningless.  Retrieved August 27 from

Scully, M., & Rowe, M. 2009. Bystander training within organizations. Journal of the International Ombudsman Association, 2: 1–9.

Sue, D. W., Alsaidi, S., Awad, M. N., Glaeser, E., Calle, C. Z., & Mendez, N. 2019. Disarming racial microaggressions: Microintervention strategies for targets, White allies, and bystanders. American Psychologist, 74: 128–142.

Tropp, L. R., & Bianchi, R. A. (2006). Valuing diversity and intergroup contact. Journal of Social Issues, 62, 533-551.

Washington, J. & Evans, N. 1991. Becoming an ally In Beyond tolerance: Gays, Lesbians & Bisexuals on campus. (P. 195-204). Alexandria: American College Personnel Association.


[2] We use the terms dominant and subordinated identity groups here instead of minority and majority groups as in some  cases allying as a dominant group member may not actually put you in the numerical majority (i.e., there are way more middle/working/poor folks than wealthy/super wealthy – yet, it is the rich that are empowered and dominated.  Further societal and organizational  stakeholder economic groups and  their links to resources and power often covary by gender and race, ethnicity sexuality, religion and other forms of  social difference.