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About this book

An exciting new edition of our core textbook written specifically for students studying diversity management, it explores all of the key areas of managing diversity in modern organisations. Written by a team of leading experts drawn from nine different countries it provides an authoritative yet accessible and engaging account of the realities of diversity in the workplace and equips students with the frameworks, tools and techniques to understand and help develop and sustain inclusive and diverse organizations.

Thoroughly updated throughout, this textbook is the ideal course companion for undergraduate, postgraduate and MBA modules in diversity management.

Table of Contents

Framework for Diversity


1. Setting the Scene for Diversity in Organizations

In early European and North American organizational studies one can discern unspoken assumptions that organizations and workplaces are blind to the issues of workforce diversity and differences. For example, scholars have pointed out that organizations and organization studies are gender-blind (Acker, 1992) and colour-blind (Grimes, 2002) rather than gender-neutral and colour-neutral.
Annette Risberg, Heike Mensi-Klarbach, Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger

2. Diversity in Europe: Its Development and Contours

In order to obtain an accurate understanding of diversity in organizations, it is first necessary to investigate issues of culture, history, politics and law in Europe as they relate to equality, non-discrimination and diversity. In this chapter we use the European Union as a starting point for perspectives on Europe because all member states are required to transpose EU directives into national law. European countries that are not members of the European Union often use these directives as a benchmark for their own legislations. Efforts to create a pan-European market, political understanding and harmony following the devastation of the Second World War led to a new valuing of diversity. A shift in attitudes, as well as the introduction of important legal provisions to secure the rights of minorities, was first stimulated by women’s efforts to achieve equality and increased participation in the workforce. Since the 1990s EU guidelines and initiatives, as well as growing demographic diversity, have encouraged ever more employers to turn to diversity management. At the same time, EU enlargement to 28 countries brought unprecedented social and political diversity. Such diversity can bring great economic and other benefits.
Annette Risberg, Heike Mensi-Klarbach, Marie Thérèse Claes

3. Diversity Management: Historical Development and Different Rationales

Diversity management has evolved over the last decades into an important and highly prioritized management concept. One of the most cited definitions of managing diversity was formulated by Taylor Cox in the early 1990s as follows: By managing diversity, I mean planning and implementing organizational systems and practices to manage people so that the potential advantages of diversity are maximised while its potential disadvantages are minimised.
Annette Risberg, Heike Mensi-Klarbach

Diversity in Different Contexts and at Different Levels


4. Diversity Categories Across Cultures

The concept of ‘diversity’ in organizations is generally understood in connection with the notion of difference (for a discussion and definition, see Chapter 1). Some of these differences might be perceived to be based on biology (e.g. sex or race). However, we demonstrate that this is not always the case: all categories understood as ‘differences’ are socially constructed and context dependent. This means that there are important variations in how diversity categories are perceived in different cultures. In some cases the differences are minuscule. In other cases being seen as a member of a social category can have important consequences on work. For example, if you are in a gay relationship, your career prospects are likely to look very different in Denmark than in Slovakia.
Heike Mensi-Klarbach, Annette Risberg, Henriett Primecz, Laurence Romani

5. The ‘Doing Differences’ Perspective on Gender and Diversity

In this chapter we suggest that it is useful to view diversity as something that is actively created or ‘done’ in social practice, rather than merely an assemblage of individuals’ essential traits or fixed characteristics. This ‘doing’ perspective treats diversity as a social accomplishment. In exploring the concept of ‘doing differences’ (West and Fenstermaker, 1995) we focus on social practices and how they reproduce and stabilize identity-relevant categories such as gender, race or ethnicity, class, religion, age, (dis)ability and sexuality in everyday actions and activities.
Annette Risberg, Heike Mensi-Klarbach, Julia Nentwich, Janne Tienari

6. Diversity in Teams

A great deal of work in organizations is performed by teams rather than individuals working alone. For this reason, effective teamwork is seen as essential to organizational success. Good teamwork signifies that organizational members are cooperating in using their skills and abilities to work towards a shared purpose and common goals. The question of whether diversity has an impact on a team’s capacity to do so is the subject of much practitioner discussion and scholarly literature. This chapter will seek to answer that question by reviewing the research on diversity among team members and team processes and performance. First, we will identify the two main theoretical perspectives on the role of diversity in teams. We will go on to explore the research findings on the advantages and disadvantages of diversity in teams, before examining the processes involved in translating team member diversity into team performance. We will then outline the implications of the research findings for managerial practice in team-building. Finally, the chapter concludes with a case study investigating the dynamics of a team characterized by member diversity.
Annette Risberg, Heike Mensi-Klarbach, T. Alexandra Beauregard

Practicing Diversity and Inclusion


7. Diversity as Strategy

In management literature the strategy of an organization serves to secure the future (Müller-Stewens and Lechner, 2011). The central question is how to ensure the long-term viability of an organization. Strategic management generally differs from normative management (exploring the raison d’être of a company and its value contribution to society) and operative management (how to handle the daily business of a company) and connects the two levels.
Annette Risberg, Heike Mensi-Klarbach, Gudrun Sander and, Ines Hartmann

8. Organizational Analysis

As discussed in previous chapters, we understand diversity management as a holistic and strategic process that should encompass all areas of an organization’s activities and business. Several steps are required to implement diversity management.
Heike Mensi-Klarbach, Annette Risberg, Heike Mensi-Klarbach, Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger

9. Organizational Implementation: Diversity Practices and Tools

Organizations have different reasons for engaging in diversity work (see Chapters 1 and 2) and different ways of doing it. Typically, it begins with an analysis of the organization’s current state of diversity and inclusion work (see Chapter 8) and the development of a diversity policy and diversity strategy (see Chapter 7). The typical next step is to implement planned diversity policies and practices. Genuine support and understanding from management must accompany all these efforts for the work to reduce discrimination, foster inclusion and have a lasting impact within the organization. If the organization regards diversity as a topic dealt with solely by the firm’s human resource (HR) department, the full benefits of the programme will not reach areas and responsibilities beyond the HR department. All levels of the organization must therefore be engaged in the diversity work, and the senior management must actively support the work.
Annette Risberg, Heike Mensi-Klarbach, Annette Risberg, Marieke van den Brink

10. Diversity Change and Resistance

The ultimate goal of diversity management is often seen as the transformation of organizational culture from one characterized by exclusion of women and members of minority groups to one characterized by inclusion. This transformation represents a significant form of organizational change, and this chapter will therefore begin by framing diversity management as an organizational change process. After briefly reviewing models of organizational change relevant to the transformation from exclusion to inclusion, we will examine the role of diversity practitioners as change agents. The importance of power, resources, and constraints upon diversity practitioners will be explored. Next, we will turn our attention to organizational and employee resistance to change with regard to diversity. We will first identify the drivers and outcomes of resistance to diversity, before presenting evidence-based suggestions for reducing levels of resistance. The chapter will conclude with a case study of Abercrombie & Fitch, an organization known for its struggle to create a climate of inclusion.
Annette Risberg, Heike Mensi-Klarbach, T. Alexandra Beauregard

11. Critical Reflections on Diversity Management

Imagine: you have been travelling to Canada and you are looking for a taxi in Montreal late at night. This evening you feel exhausted and slightly sick. A taxi picks you up and the driver asks you: ‘Not feeling well? Don’t worry, I have a degree in medicine, just feel safe.’ This statement makes you feel a bit better: if you were in need of some medical advice, the taxi driver can take care of you!
Annette Risberg, Heike Mensi-Klarbach, Laurence Romani and, Christa Binswanger
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