The American Educational Research Association (AERA) awarded Dr. Leslie D. Gonzales, Associate Professor, and doctoral candidates, Dana Kanhai and Kayon A. Hall the 2019 Division J Outstanding Publication Award for "Reimagining Organizational Theory"

The AERA-Division J Publication and Research Awards Committee selected Dr. Leslie D. Gonzales, Dana Kanhai, and Kayon Hall’s chapter “Reimagining Organizational Theory,” which was published in The Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, for the 2019 Outstanding Publication Award. This award recognizes the authors’ chapter for making a substantial contribution to the literature and graduate student instruction. The committee unanimously recommended this chapter, noting that it offers a critical framework for understanding higher education and for imagining justice-focused transformations in the institution.  

The chapter is organized in four sections. In section one, Gonzales, Kanhai, and Hall (2018) set higher education in context and highlight ways in which justice has historically and persistently been undermined in U.S. higher education. In section two, they sketch out their intention to integrate traditional organizational theory perspectives with theories from the critical paradigm. They go on to discuss in section three, several familiar organizational perspectives—which they present under the label of four schools of thought—only to reimagine them by infusing each with “ideas, commitments, and insights drawn from the critical paradigm” (Gonzales et al., 2018, p. 546). To illustrate how conventional and reimagined organizational perspectives assist leaders and researchers and how they differ, they apply both to pressing problems in U.S. higher education. Finally, in section four, Gonzales, Kanhai, and Hall (2018) conclude with a summative discussion, note the limitations of their work, and offer various ways that leaders and scholars might use this chapter for policy, practice, and research. Each chapter contains useful teaching tools, keywords, and seminal readings to support both seasoned and new higher education researchers. 

Gonzales, Kanhai, and Hall recognized this chapter as an opportunity to bring together the expansive bodies of work on organizational theory and critical theory, which many believe to be in tension, and highlight how these perspectives might work together. They were especially interested in developing language and pathways for current and future graduate students who are interested in conducting critical organizational research. The authors sincerely thank the nominators and letter writers for advocating for this work and the AERA awards committee for seeing the value in their thinking.