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Workforce diversity in strategic human resource management models: A critical review of the literature and implications for future research

Fernando Martín Alcázar (Business Management Department, University of Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain)
Pedro Miguel Romero Fernández (Business Management Department, University of Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain)
Gonzalo Sánchez Gardey (Business Management Department, University of Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain)

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Article publication date: 1 February 2013

27269

Abstract

Purpose

Workforce diversity is considered one of the main challenges for human resource management in modern organizations. Despite its strategic importance, the majority of models in this field implicitly consider workforce as a generic and homogeneous category, and do not take into account cultural differences among employees. The aim of this paper is to present a systematic review of the literature on diversity among employees in strategic human resource management (SHRM). The objective of this conceptual analysis is to identify limitations in previous research and unresolved issues that could drive future research in this field.

Design/methodology/approach

To develop this conceptual analysis, the paper reviews previous literature on SHRM, drawing on the distinction between the universalistic, contingent and configurational perspectives. Each of these approaches is explored, looking for the way in which they have treated workforce diversity and cross‐culturality.

Findings

The paper concludes that managing a heterogeneous workforce requires a holistic transformation of human resource strategies. Nevertheless, efforts to define cross‐cultural and diversity‐oriented models still remain undeveloped. Limitations of previous research in the diversity‐SHRM field are indentified in the paper.

Research limitations/implications

Drawing on the limitations of the treatment given to diversity in SHRM research, the paper identifies four research questions that still need to be addressed: deeper analysis of the concept of diversity, introduction of psychological processes mediating the diversity‐performance relationship, development of diversity oriented SHRM typologies and redefinition of performance indicators to measure the effects of diversity.

Originality/value

This paper proposes a theoretical model to illustrate present state of the art and future research lines in the fields of diversity, cross‐cultural management and SHRM.

Keywords

Citation

Martín Alcázar, F., Miguel Romero Fernández, P. and Sánchez Gardey, G. (2013), "Workforce diversity in strategic human resource management models: A critical review of the literature and implications for future research", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 39-49. https://doi.org/10.1108/13527601311296247

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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