Management and Diversity: Volume 4

Cover of Management and Diversity

Thematic Approaches

Subject:

Table of contents

(18 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-x
Content available

Introduction

Pages 1-15
Content available

Diversity, Competence, Performance and Creativity

Abstract

In this chapter, we first show how the concept of competency, and management of or by competency, can be a factor in helping more people find employment, improve employability and develop competency, thus contributing to increased diversity in the workforce at every level of an organisation. We then examine a different part of the literature, more closely related to organisational learning, which finds that deviance and diversity can potentially boost competency. Subsequently, we look at diversity management first as an organisational competency, then as an individual competency. Concerning the reasons for the spread of management by competency and diversity management, we shall see that their respective advocates employ the same rhetoric of economic rationality, with both types of practice being justified by an objective change in the environment and, for this reason, presented as unavoidable and to some extent as simply “moving with the times”. In opposition to this supposed rationality as seen by companies, we will show that, in France, the two concepts of competency and diversity interact closely with institutional processes of mimetism, normalisation and coercion. In the final section, we shall look more closely at critical views of management by competency and diversity, as the criticisms of the two concepts are very similar and question their (possible) claims to be propelling society towards a fairer society.

Abstract

The sociological and demographic reality of recent decades has meant that western companies have seen an evolution towards greater diversification among their staff members. The implementing of a diversity policy in a company cannot be reduced to a managerial fashion or fad, to professional rhetoric or to a set of superficial or illusory initiatives, but it can aim at social transformation. That is why, in this chapter, the authors have chosen to portray the deployment of such an approach from the standpoint of an organisation-changing process, which can, at the same time, alter the language, the standards and the practices of the organisation and led them at the end to identify three managerial levers capable of transforming team diversity into performance enhancers.

Abstract

Since Richard Florida’s book The Rise of the Creative Class published in 2000, our attention has been drawn towards a peculiar characteristic of the cities where such a creative class thrives, and that is tolerance. We intend to explore in this paper whether one can use Hofstede’s “Uncertainty Avoidance” dimension to ponder if societies that are “Uncertainty avoidant” can provide a nurturing soil for a creative class to emerge within their bosom. To discuss this question, we examine the case of the Province of Québec (Canada) and most specifically, that of the city of Montréal, a city that has been dubbed by many observers as a creative city. In other words, our question is can a creative class thrive in a city that is located in an “Uncertainty avoidant” cultural and political unit?

Content available
Abstract

Analyzing the trajectory of atypical bosses does not mean denying the existence of the mechanisms of both reproduction and global domination, but instead necessitates a heightened interest in the minority phenomena that splinter these individuals. This approach relies on the principal that a system is never transformed by its center, but always by its margins.

Atypical bosses do not consider the working world in the same way that regular bosses tend to. The experience of difference instead leads them to understand the company as a world in which their place is not given, but that rather has been acquired. They have learned to be relatively foreign in the professional world in which they act. But being strangers – i.e. not mobilising that which is implicit in the dominant culture – also leads them to adopt a posture altogether rare within normal managers: they look on, not just in order to see, but to question the meaning, utility and purpose of social practices that the majority has taken for granted.

Diversity Categories and Discrimination: Some Critical Reflections

Abstract

This chapter considers the conflicts which arise at the intersection of the free exercise of religion and sexual minority rights in the domains of work and non-work activities. Specifically, by examining the key features of various discrimination cases from the US and UK contexts, the chapter identifies the possible tensions between different minority groups and the negotiation and settlement of their respective interests and entitlements. In an effort to reconcile the seemingly competing claims made for equality, the chapter considers a theoretical middle range within which the existing debates may be addressed through the careful application of Isaiah Berlin’s theory of positive and negative freedoms in public life. The use of Berlin’s theory contributes to the analysis of the justice standing of religious and sexual minority groups, what protections minority groups in conflict must be accorded vis-à-vis each other, and the nature of remedies which should be accorded to each group in theory and practice.

Abstract

Physical appearances constitute a criterion of discrimination recognised by the French law. This topic is often raised in the field of media and advertising, but the consequences of stereotypes and prejudices about appearances at work are not taken into account as much. However, this criterion is subject to a multitude of normative injunctions, located in time and space, and significantly affects all spheres of life. Voluntary or involuntary transgression of these norms leads to processes of segregation, discrimination and harassment. These processes are all the more insidious because their legitimacy is less questioned than when it concerns a criterion shared by a collective such as race or gender. Appearances are, in fact, perceived as individual characteristics; moreover, some of them are perceived as controllable, which justifies the unfavourable treatment of people who do not fit the norm.

At work, recruitment is the most obvious step in which appearances play a role because first impressions are largely based on them. But remuneration or daily life at the office is also affected by beliefs and expectations about appearances. After presenting testimonies from focus groups on this issue, we offer some advices for organisations concerned by the topic.

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to understand how academics in management deal with the concept of generation in the workplace. We begin by conducting an interdisciplinary literature analysis, thereby elaborating a conceptual framework concerning generational diversity. This framework consists of four levels of analysis (society, career, organisation and occupation) and three dimensions (age, cohort and event/period). We then conduct a meta-analysis using this conceptual framework to analyse papers from the management field. The results from this analysis reveal the existence of a diversity of generational approaches, which focus on the dimensions of age and cohort on a societal level. Four factors seem to explain these results: the recent de-synchronisation of generational dimensions and levels, the novelty of theoretical models, the amplification of stereotypes by mass media and the methodologies employed by researchers. In sum, this article contributes to a more realistic view of generational diversity in the workplace for both academics and practitioners.

Abstract

Debates over ritual slaughter, sacred food, fasts, and forbidden foods, perpetuated by religion and tradition, are nothing new. Dietary obligations and prohibitions, in all their diversity, have always been the object of comment, critique, or even concern from one human group towards another. The consumption of meat (or its prohibition) has always been about more than its nutritional function. Reducing religious dietary obligations to hygienic or gustatory practices would be an unrealistic attempt to erase the diversity of the procedures which people undertake to give meaning to life, death, and the world, and to locate themselves in relation to “others”. These rites, ­legitimated by myths, inevitably provoke phenomena of influence, reciprocated within and outside groups. The selection of food – of meat in particular – plays a primordial role as a social marker, the rules of which contribute to the organisation of groups by tracing ­differences between individuals, between men and women, and between communities. Formerly attached to a totemic group and its territory, then to a religion and its society, dietary practices are globalising and encountering one-another. Questions are now raised about the management, in shared spaces, of a diversity of dietary prohibitions and obligations. These questions are at the core of this chapter, notably, what place should be reserved for dietary particularities in collective catering in human organisations? And what limits should be given to the expectations of each regarding dietary purity or fasting?

Socio-Political Issues on Diversity Management and Perspectives

Abstract

Entrepreneurship is a politically charged discourse. It has positive aspects but also destabilises societal, economic and political power relations, and leads to various categories of inclusion and exclusion. Despite the Western governmental grand narrative that portrays a vision of society whereby the entrepreneurial values such as resourcefulness, risk-taking, self-efficacy, autonomy and confidence can be appropriated by everyone, regardless of their background and profile, entrepreneurship does not often elevate and liberate marginalised people who are in subordinate positions. Presupposed assumptions of entrepreneurship should be challenged when pursuing the lines of critical inquiry as advocated in this chapter. Entrepreneurship is not only a socio-economic process but also functions as a political ideology, which can be instrumental in reproducing and reinforcing conservative assumptions and actions and hence shape public policy and public perception in ways that serve conservative political or capitalist ends, as evident in the case of social enterprise and entrepreneurship in the UK. Therefore, policy implications of the intersection of diversity and entrepreneurship are fundamentally important.

Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to take stock of the aspect of the social concertation in the framework of policies of diversity management. It rests in particular on the work of a commission created by the AFMD (French Association of Diversity Managers), in partnership with ORSE (a French Societal Observatory). The commission has involved several larges French companies and organised meetings between the representatives of the different employers’ and workers’ organisations. Another source is the numerous actions led by the Labour Unions in Belgium in the framework of the Consortium Diversité Wallonie, which exists since 2007. This study tries to remind some objectives of social concertation in regards to policies of diversity management, to take stock of the legal constraints on concertation in regards to particular targets, to show the multiple conceptions of this notion of diversity management among social partners, to give an overview of the content of the agreements, and to present the steps of a social concertation sensible to diversity.

Abstract

Most publications on the management of diversity in Western countries pay homage to history by referring back to the way regulatory frameworks developed to promote equal treatment and to oppose discrimination. In work on English speaking countries, particular attention has been given to the struggles waged in the USA for civil rights and for gender equality in the 1960s and their impact on the emergence of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action laws and policies. Generally, these developments are depicted as the antecedents to the emergence of diversity management in the USA. This genealogical orientation is usually designed to establish historical foundations. However, as we see it, this approach to history has promoted an impression of linear evolution. Our general aim in this chapter is to show how an historical perspective can help uncover continuities in regard to equal employment opportunity, affirmative action and diversity management policies and strategies in Australia, particularly in relation to the management of cultural diversity in Australian workplaces. Rather than seeing development in linear terms, our aim is to highlight connections and the implications of such connections. Accordingly, this chapter relates each of these policies/strategies to analogous political and legal developments that emerged concurrently, in particular such initiatives as multiculturalism, anti-discrimination laws and what became known in Australia as ‘productive diversity’ policies.

Abstract

Diversity management is now a well-established field of research in organisation and management studies. Yet, the majority of the managing diversity studies are based on quantitative research, whereas some others use qualitative data or case studies in order to explore issues related to diversity management. This chapter is a rare example, which offers an analysis of empirical data by incorporating both qualitative and quantitative methods. As the mainstream diversity management literature engenders a tendency to de-contextualise the diversity management process by isolating it from its socio-economic and organisational settings, overlooking the issues of power which are embedded in organisational processes of diversity management is particularly relevant. But the agency of diversity managers, who are the most visible actors in the process of managing diversity, still continues to be an under-researched area. This chapter acknowledges that diversity managers, whose agency is relational and multi-layered, are important actors in diversity management process, using a Bourdieuan approach in order to understand diversity managers as a professional group through the combined explanatory power of individual, organisational and societal influences.

Abstract

In this chapter, we examine the interrelationship between politics of neo-liberalism and practices of equality and diversity at work. In so doing, we illustrate how macro-national politics, in particular the contemporary neo-liberal expansion, impact the definitions, activities, beneficiaries and overall impact of diversity management at the organisational level. The chapter focuses on three fundamental assumptions of neo-liberalism, beliefs in the utility of deregulation (voluntarism), individualism and competition in order to organise economic and social life. The chapter goes on to examine the reflection of these neo-liberal beliefs on construction of diversity management in contexts where neo-liberal politics dominate. The chapter concludes by a critical assessment of how diversity can be freed from the clutches of neo-liberalism, which merely serves to limit the repertoire and imagination of interventions for diversity management.

Abstract

To keep pace with the changing business environment, researchers have studied diversity from a number of disciplines, theoretical perspectives and levels. As such, there is a substantive body of research that investigates the concept of diversity, its effects, and the mechanisms through which such effects occur. Despite this work, its findings and the subsequent conclusions that can be drawn are complex. A number of questions regarding the what, why, when and how of diversity still remain. This chapter provides an overview and assesses the state of the field to highlight important areas for future research that can advance our understanding of the meaning, import, operation and consequences of diversity in organizations. It draws attention to overarching topics within the diversity literature, such as the conceptualization of diversity, theoretical perspectives, diversity management, and system approaches to the phenomenon, underscoring conclusions that can be drawn from such work. More importantly, it identifies gaps in each of these areas as well as points of integration to offer directions for future research.

Index

Pages 371-381
Content available
Cover of Management and Diversity
DOI
10.1108/S2051-2333201604
Publication date
2017-10-18
Book series
International Perspectives on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78635-490-7
eISBN
978-1-78635-489-1
Book series ISSN
2051-2333