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Diversity management in the integration of minorities in the job market: policies and practices

Tehila Kalagy (Department of Public Policy and Management, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel)
Orna Braun-Lewensohn (Conflict Management and Conflict Resolution Program, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 24 November 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

Cultural variance represents a significant challenge to policy designers and, in practice, to employers in the varied employment spaces. Providing workplace accessibility for the integration of various cultural groups requires deep thinking and creating unique possibilities for each group in accord with its particular heritage. Ultra-Orthodox society in Israel is a religious minority group that has undergone significant changes, from a desire to maintain total separation, to gradual integration into a variety of areas in Israeli society. In light of these changes, we sought to examine what policies should be adopted in order to improve ultra- Orthodox integration.

Design/methodology/approach

Methodologically, we examined the cultural variance of ultra-Orthodox academics in their workplace using combined methods. The study included 745 ultra-Orthodox academics who responded to an online questionnaire that examined the issue in question from various aspects. In addition, four focus groups were convened, in which discussion examined issues.

Findings

The study findings reveal that the integration policies of the various workplaces were above and beyond the expectations of the cultural diversity management approach. Although the study focused on the personal perspective of the ultra-Orthodox employees who integrated, the employers' open and accepting attitudes were very prominent. The participants' comments showed that the employers showed great consideration for their needs and exceptional cultural sensitivity towards the employees' temperament. This dialogue constitutes the basis for managing variance in a multicultural society. The understanding by the employer of the background and cultural legacy from which the worker has come, alongside the difficulties he must cope with constitutes, in itself, the basis for building a stable relationship between employer and worker and for optimal integration of a minority group in society.

Practical implications

The findings indicate that cultural adjustment is required in four areas: a. Adaptation from the social and cultural aspect in the workplace. b. The definition of different areas of employment specific to gender. c. Consideration of the employees' halachic needs d. Professional preparation for employees prior to their absorption.

Originality/value

This study is a pioneering one, examining the integration of ultra-Orthodox academics in the Israeli economy. This process is very significant in a political entity with different cultural identities. The acquisition of a higher education in ultra-Orthodox society in Israel and subsequent integration into the Israeli economy has a decisive cultural and economic impact on both the ultra-Orthodox and general societies simultaneously. An examination of the issue of integration of the ultra-Orthodox minority in employment is intended not only to investigate the character and nature of the process, but also to examine the place of multiculturalism in Western societies and the interaction between a minority group and the majority group, with an emphasis on employment.

Keywords

Citation

Kalagy, T. and Braun-Lewensohn, O. (2022), "Diversity management in the integration of minorities in the job market: policies and practices", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-09-2022-0228

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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