It is more than 15 years that in Anglo-Saxon countries the discourse on Diversity Management has been under investigation but we can still see a confusing frame of the matter and a divided scientific community. Academics have not reached a shared definition of diversity management, named by some as an open-ended ness concept, (nevertheless a diversity management approach suggests some general characteristics: diversity is recognised, respected and valued and is part of organisational mission and values; each employee is seen as a relevant asset for the organisational competitive advantage. It is claimed that diversity management is a proactive long-term organisational approach that: · needs to be integrated with business strategy; · asks for a mutual cultural change · aims to create an inclusive environment in which information are shared and everyone feels valued and can use their full potential; · needs a committed management that support diversity values and policies; · requests a continue audit of all organisational processes and systems to eliminate discrimination and to create fair processes. Hence we can distinguish two main approaches: Managing Diversity, an Individualistic approach rooted on a Resource based view, focused on “business case” and Diversity Management, a more collectivistic framework rooted on a Stakeholder view, that combines the “business case” and “social justice” concerns. The academic community appears split between the outcomes that diversity management can achieve for organisations and employees. Critics are mainly focused on costs , intra-inter group conflicts, difficulties in communications, ‘rhetoric’ of solutions. On the other hand those supportive focus on benefits in terms of organisational outputs such as: reduction of costs; increased team creativity, problem-solving capabilities and flexibility; better understanding of customer needs; enhancement of organisational reputation and image; improved ability in attracting the ‘best employees’; all benefits that however, are more declared than empirically proved. The increase in labour workforce diversity, the alighted international attention on anti-discrimination and equal opportunity solutions, together with the promulgated positive effects of diversity management on organisational legitimation and reputation, along with the increasing number of studies that show the connection between HRM and organisational outcomes have clearly fostered research interest and discourses on diversity management even if the field can be labelled as a mass of unclear approaches. If there is conceptual confusion around diversity management in the countries where it is most utilised (e.g. Anglo American), the situation is exacerbated in country contexts such as Italy where the concept and practice of diversity management is still extremely under-investigated. In fact, Italy tends to be a copy-cat country, but if what is to be copied is currently unclear, the probability is that Italian firms will prefer to wait for more clarity. However this is problematic because despite a lack of attention to date to the issues, the presence of a diverse workforce is a reality in Italy, and, as O’Leary and Weathington (2006) underline, despite the lack of conceptual consensus or clarity it is nevertheless important to investigate how firms deal with the diversity that they have. Through my PhD research I want to begin to fill a gap in current understanding in the field in terms of exploring what Italian firms are doing, or most probably ‘un-doing’, in relation to the management of workforce diversity. I have focused my “work in progress” study on Lombardy, as it is the most populated and economic advanced Italian Region, supposing that, if Italian organisations are doing something in relation to diversity, it is in such a Region that the most interesting solutions are likely to be found. This paper’s aim is to set the contextual scene of diversity management in Lombardy. I firstly analyse general information on businesses associations’ episodic or programmatic activities related to diversity management. Secondly, I present initial results from an email and web-based questionnaire survey sent to a sample of Lombardy’s medium-large size firms. This includes data on workforce diversity composition, on firms’ approaches to diversity and on the kind of solutions that organisations are implementing to manage workforce diversity. At this stage the management of workforce diversity in Lombardy firms, appears to be in an initial phase, so that they can be considered to be ‘non-doing’ diversity through a set of conceptual understandings and policy actions that is still between something and nothing.
|Titolo:||(Un)doing diversity : the management of workforce diversity in Lombardian firms, between something and nothing|
RICCO', ROSSELLA (Primo)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2007|
|Parole Chiave:||Diversity management ; Human resource management ; Italy ; Lombardian companies|
|Enti collegati al convegno:||Vienna University of Economics|
|Citazione:||(Un)doing diversity : the management of workforce diversity in Lombardian firms, between something and nothing / R. Riccò. ((Intervento presentato al 23. convegno EGOS Colloquium, “Beyond Waltz : Dances of individuals and organizations” tenutosi a Vienna nel 2007.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||14 - Intervento a convegno non pubblicato|