Epistemic Justice: Dr. Penelope Muzanenhamo’s ‘Paper of the Year’ Creating Paradigm Shift in Management and Organization Studies

Assistant Professor Penelope Muzanenhamo, a force of intellectual prowess at the UCD College of Business and has just been bestowed with the prestigious ‘Paper of the Year’ award by Human Relations, one of the world’s foremost journals.

In her seminal work titled “Epistemic Injustice and Hegemonic Ordeal in Management and Organization Studies: Advancing Black Scholarship,” Dr. Muzanenhamo delves into the complex interplay between White supremacy and academia, uncovering the systemic marginalization faced by Black scholars within the realm of Management and Organization Studies (MOS).

The research questions the disconcerting paradox wherein the majority of White academics, champions of equality, diversity, and inclusion, seem to turn a blind eye to the epistemic injustices endured by their Black counterparts. Dr. Muzanenhamo’s work exposes how historical racism within academia perpetuates a cycle of injustice, obstructing the global utility of non-White scholarship.

The crux of the research lies in the conceptualization of ‘epistemic struggle’ and ‘epistemic survival.’ Driven by a commitment to producing and disseminating knowledge despite structural and agential resistance, Black scholars embody epistemic struggle. Meanwhile, epistemic survival represents the endurance of Black scholarship through compromise, collusion, and radicalism.

“We propose collective intellectual activism based on cross-racial coalitions to eliminate epistemic injustice and locate Black scholarship at the center of MOS,” asserts Dr. Muzanenhamo. Her call to action urges a transformative shift towards inclusivity, challenging the very foundations of hegemonic theories that have long dominated MOS.

Dr. Penelope Muzanenhamo’s accolades extend beyond this groundbreaking research. As an Assistant Professor in Marketing and Society, she seamlessly intertwines Marketing scholarship with societal concerns and Critical Management Perspectives. Her interdisciplinary role speaks volumes about her commitment to a holistic understanding of academia’s role in shaping societies.

Notably, Dr. Muzanenhamo’s trajectory in academia has been studded with awards, including the Human Relations Paper of the Year 2023. Her previous recognitions underscore a consistent dedication to transformative research—whether it be Best Paper awards from the Academy of Management or nominations for the Carolyn B. Dexter Award.

Before assuming her current role, Dr. Muzanenhamo served as the Proudly Made in Africa (PMIA) Fellow, championing the integration of Africa into business curricula. Her efforts reached across Ireland, impacting 8200 students through guest lectures and collaborative initiatives with 50 lecturers. Her commitment to promoting African voices in mainstream business education and research was further recognized by the Plaque from Morgan State University in 2018.

Dr. Muzanenhamo’s leadership extends beyond her academic roles. As the Executive Co-Director for the research theme ‘People, Work, Society’ within the UCD Earth Institute and the Africa Lead at UCD College of Business-Centre for Business and Society (CeBaS), she is driving conversations that transcend borders.

With her role as Co-Chair in the Academy of Management Critical Management Studies Division and Media and Artefacts Review Editor for the journal Organization, Dr. Muzanenhamo continues to shape the discourse that defines our understanding of management and organizational studies.

Dr. Penelope Muzanenhamo’s ‘Paper of the Year’ is not just an accolade; it’s a call to arms. As the academic community grapples with the implications of her research, the hope is for a future where the echelons of academia stand as beacons of epistemic justice, breaking free from the chains of a historical narrative that has long perpetuated exclusion.