Diversity in Action

Cover of Diversity in Action

Managing Diverse Talent in a Global Economy



Table of contents

(17 chapters)

Part 1 Gender Diversity in Research and Organizational Realities


Gender inequality in employment, pay and leadership positions continue to be a major issue around the world, particularly in many Asian countries such as Japan. To understand the root causes of such inequality better and to synthesize recommendations on what employers can do to integrate, develop, and retain women in the workforce better, we conducted a literature review and interviewed female workers, including managers. We provide new insights by conceptualizing the relationship between women and work from an identity perspective. Our findings from interviews revealed striking differences in the identities, work attitudes and career goals of highly qualified Japanese women. We classified the identities of women into four groups: the Careerist, the Conflicted, the Functionalist and the Caregiver. To better attract, motivate and retain women, employers may provide individualized human resource management practices that meet the demands of the different types of career women.


Gender balance has been a declared goal in business and society for decades as gender diversity leads to more equality and better decision-making, enhances financial performance of organizations, and fosters creativity and innovation. Although there is a steady upward trend in the number of women actively participating in the workplace, there is still a dearth of women in top leadership positions. This motivates a closer look at the reasons why this happens. Stigmatization – a social process of disapproval based on stereotypes or particular distinguishing characteristics of individuals (e.g. gender) – has been recognized as one of the primary explanations for the barriers to career advancement of women. This chapter aims to address workplace inequality by analysing different sources of stigma women face in the workplace. Previous research has mostly focused on visible sources of stigma, such as gender or race/ethnicity. We propose to go beyond visible sources of stigma and expand the focus to other physical (e.g. physical appearance, age, childbearing age), emotional (e.g. mental health) and societal (e.g. flexibility) sources of stigma. We are especially interested in the consequences of stigma for women in the workplace. Stigmatization of women is a multi-level process, so this chapter focuses on the antecedents (sources of stigma) and outcomes (consequences of stigma) for women at the individual level, organizational level and the societal level. The proposed chapter will make contributions to the areas of management, diversity and gender studies.


The issues of women empowerment and gender equality have gained the increased attention of scholars and policymakers in Western societies. Gender diversity and the professional participation of women are increasingly acknowledged as transversal drivers for economic development. However, in less developed countries, research and evidence are still accumulating. Thus, this study aims to explore actors and factors empowering female talent to work and achieve managerial positions and run their businesses in two countries with patriarchal social and cultural norms, Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan. Based on the qualitative interview data collected from 15 female managers and entrepreneurs working in the healthcare sector, we explore the conditions under which women can start their businesses and get promoted to managerial positions in the organizations. Our findings indicate that individual agencies and structural factors in female talent capacity building and empowering women to achieve higher hierarchical positions in organizations form together important dynamics that foster more inclusive practices and internalized schemes. Furthermore, the findings also demonstrate the importance of female talent empowerment in achieving gender diversity in managerial positions in healthcare organizations. Hence, by stating that increased female talent participation in the upper-echelons of the organization and entrepreneurship contributes to the decent employment of women in countries with male-dominated social and cultural norms and promotes the more inclusive and sustainable economic growth of these countries, our research contributes to United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) #5.5, #8.5 and #10.2.

Part 2 Are Generations Really Different? Multiple Strategies to Manage Different Generations


The extant research highlights the importance of understanding the micro-level mechanisms for the development of firm-level international business theories. One of them is institution-based view on strategy in emerging markets that highlights the importance of institutional factors for local actors' decision-making. It attracted significant attention of international business scholars, and it is timely to assess existing body of knowledge about how and why managers and entrepreneur respond to institutional forces. I argue that in this context, a better understanding of microfoundations of these responses is extremely useful for unveiling the complexity associated with institutional influence on emerging market firms' strategy. I undertake a problematizing review to critically examine the current state of research in this field. In doing this, I shed light on the role of managers and entrepreneurs from different national, generational and social backgrounds in shaping institution-based strategies and inform the talent management research about the capabilities and strategies that EM managers and entrepreneurs mobilize to address institutional pressures.


The heterogeneity of Family Firms (FFs) requires ‘traditional’ business practices such as Talent Management (TM) to be properly adapted before implementation. FFs are defined by the intention to retain family ownership and control across generations. This invites specific development and education of future business leaders. However, traditional TM practices become irrelevant in FF context and need to be refined. This chapter focuses on the role of different generations in FF results especially in international markets and considers how different generations influence TM in FFs.


The development of new technologies directly contributed to the emergence of advanced instruments, which in turn enabled the rise of new solutions associated with Industry 4.0 (I4.0). These technologies associated with I4.0 are adapted and used by individual users in diverse ways. Many determinants influence this diversity. One of the significant elements impacting such behaviour is age.

The main objective of this chapter is twofold. Firstly, it is to evaluate the differences among the four generational cohorts in how they use I4.0 tools, and secondly, to develop a conceptual framework of interdependencies between diverse I4.0 tools, their use – along with preferences and attitudes – and the generations as a moderate variable that influences the tools' use. In this chapter, we employ an inductive approach and apply the literature studies according to the SALSA method. This research contributes to the existing literature by framing the interdependencies between individuals' attitudes, their use of I4.0 tools and their age.

Part 3 Migrants, Returnees and Diasporas' Inclusion: Creating Global Talent Pool

Goals and Objectives of the Research

– This chapter aims to increase our understanding on how the language diversity of multiethnic Central Asian countries and their diasporas constitutes a talent and resource-base for local and global businesses. We revisit the role of ‘language capabilities’ for boundary-spanning abilities and the particular challenges and opportunities posed by linguistically diverse contexts among diaspora members and their homeland.


– This chapter provides an overview of prior research and uses qualitative interviews and ethnographic data.


– The findings indicate that language diversity is an important multi-layered resource and a socio-economic link that allows culturally distant markets to interact and bridges the gaps across geographic boundaries. Individuals with multiple languages and migrant ties may develop alternative ways of communicating for business, such as translanguaging and cultural communication mode-shifting.


– The administrative ‘imperial’ languages are often perceived as the oppressor's instrument, however, the alternate perspective presents it as a resource for economic relations and international business development that exists in parallel to the indigenous language heritage. We introduce a concept, on diaspora ‘language portfolio’ that is a toolbox of communication assets that allows migrants to connect and operate interculturally and inter-regionally.

Theoretical or Practical Implications

– We deviate from the English language dominance of the international business literature and address how another geographic and linguistic context such as the Russophone business provides a contextual lens to understand how language capabilities of diaspora members is an asset to both, their home and host nations. We illustrate how both the Russian language and the regional and minority languages offer a great potential for entrepreneurial and trade relations. By introducing a Framework of Diaspora ‘Language Portfolio’ this study underlines that minorities and diasporas are key boundary spanners and connectors in new markets and enhance the development of trade in the region.


As part of the mobility of global talent, returnee entrepreneurs from emerging markets with advance technology are particularly challenged by the increasing geopolitical tension. Returnee entrepreneurs have a stronger reliance on the political relationship when establishing successful business at the home countries. Yet this connection with home-country political actors can negatively affect their technology competence obtained from the host countries during geopolitical uncertainty and turbulence. We empirically investigate the challenges that technology-advanced returnee entrepreneurs encountered in the home market from the changes occurred while they were away, as well as the needs to obtain critical resource and gain market entry for adapting the advance technology possessed from aboard. Our aim, nevertheless, is to expand the discussion of the returnee entrepreneurs in the context of current world where unpredictable geopolitical tensions can jeopardize the success of their business. Our study contributes a nuanced understanding of the key factor that driving business success may turn to a trap that constrains returnee entrepreneurship, and accordingly proposes a future research agenda for returnee entrepreneurship and international human mobility in general.


The development of cities and regions is important for the economy. The most of the possible beneficial mechanisms of this growth can be achieved through the improved organizational performance. This chapter proposes the triadic analysis to the ethnic diversity with the implementation of talent and diversity management practices, in which diasporans serve as mediators. The research contributes to both theory and practice. First, since diasporans create spillover effect and provide transfer of knowledge and other capacities to destinations, their positive impact on cities and firms' performance is introduced. Second, we emphasize the specific practices, which are important to manage diversity issue and attract more skilled individuals, who can be further turned into diasporas. The research has implications for managers and policymakers emphasizing the benefits of diverse talent diasporans and possible strategies on how to leverage their skills and expertise.


The chapter outlines the main forms of diasporas' contributions to the economic development and growth along with the determinants of their scale and scope. It then focuses on the diasporas' economic potential through participation in labour markets as an international staffing option at the level of individual organizations. Both the opportunities and threats of using diaspora members in international staffing are discussed. Finally, possible directions for future research are identified.

Part 4 Multifaceted Diversity in Global World


This chapter explores the role of diversity in the emergence of circular business models by focusing on circular economy innovative born-global start-ups. Diversity refers to a wide range of characteristics that differentiate an individual or group. These include legally protected and/or demographic characteristics, such as age, as well as identity-shaping characteristics, such as cognitive traits and experience. Diversity in organizations has been mostly explored in terms of the former, i.e., culture, age or ethnicity as a key factor in organizational innovation and enhanced performance. This chapter offers a more holistic view on the role of diversity in relation to emerging circular business models. It shows how diversity of previous knowledge, experience, ethnicity and the shared ideation of the organization's founders can be used as compatible and complementary inputs, which can lead to the emergence of a global circular business model by using integration, coordination and fast scaling up. The analysis is on the level of firm micro-foundations. Using data from three circular born-global companies from a single country context, the study identifies different types of diversity as contributing to the emergence of these business model and their configuration. We conclude that circular born-global business models are nurtured by the shared ideation and values of the business model founders, while the design of the business model is enabled by the diversity of competences and capabilities stemming from the founders' knowledge, past experience and diaspora networks. Such a perspective suggests that managers need to adopt a holistic approach in employing diversity in business model configuration in relation to common drivers and ideation, and organizational purpose.


Managing diverse talents has become a necessary part of the human resource management of contemporary organizations. The growing diversity of organizations' workforce makes companies reassess their conventional HRM approaches. State-owned enterprises get the increasing attention of talent management scholars since state firms enthusiastically compete for talents. These companies have some particularities that distinguish them from private firms, and there is a need to analyse the existing research on the HRM in state companies which has the potential to add a missing part to the puzzle of managing diverse talents. We study the major topics in the literature on human resource management and talent management in state-owned enterprises, the key findings researchers provide and the gaps in the literature that need to be covered and the resulting research directions for future studies.


Despite many neurodiverse individuals possessing skills that are desperately needed, few organizations have redesigned their attraction, development and retention practices to capture them. In this chapter, we alert organizations that embracing neurodiversity bodes well for expanding the diversity of the talent pool, thereby mitigating talent risks. We proceed to analyse and explain how neurodiversity can be positioned within the talent management literature and identify opportunities for integrating neurodiversity and talent management research. We begin by exploring the concept of neurodiversity and in particular neurodiversity in the workplace. We then use this foundation to establish how neurodiversity can be engaged within the talent management literature. Finally, we outline a plethora of future research questions and avenues to further explore neurodiversity in the context of talent management.


This chapter critically evaluates opportunities and challenges associated with developing diversity and embracing inclusion of cyber security talent in a multinational consultancy firm and offers recommendations on how to optimize inclusion of young talent in this sensitive business area within a multinational company. Drawing on one of the author's experience as a young cyber security professional with a non-technical background, entering the profession through a consultancy graduate development programme, this paper offers a unique perspective on how to enhance cohesion in diversity across linear and non-linear routes into cyber security.

While the scope is limited to cyber security talent in early careers, the competency-based approach means that recommendations around developing diversity and embracing inclusion can be applied to young talent in other business competence areas. Each recommendation can be used as a building block to influence and shape future equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) strategy in consultancy.

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