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Hanken School of Economics Working Papers, Hanken School of Economics

No 534:
Current Debates on Classifying Diversity Management: Review and a Proposal

Susanna Bairoh ()

Abstract: This paper discusses various theoretical approaches to diversity management, analysing their similarities and differences. I start with a review of certain previously presented classifications, and then proceed to describing the different approaches in more detail. In this paper, I propose that the various viewpoints can be categorized into three groups: 1) practitioner/consultant approach, 2) mainstream approach, and 3) critical approaches. Although there are differences within these groups, in particular regarding the critical approaches, these differences appear less significant than those between the groups. Those representing the first group are mainly interested in how to get most out of a diverse workforce, while those in the second group focus on the effects of diversity on performance or work group functioning. While some of the mainstream writers can be rather critical towards earlier research, they hardly ever discuss or even recognize the wide ranging criticism put forward by critical scholars. The critical researchers, then, remain a rather scattered group who do not always share much more than a conviction that the mainstream research keeps missing highly significant issues. Nonetheless, in order to increase our understanding of how different persons can and do work together, more dialogue is required between the varying standpoints.

Keywords: diversity; diversity management; critical approaches; (follow links to similar papers)

42 pages, February 6, 2008

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