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Reading Different Reading Different: On how Diversity Management is written in Sweden
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Organization and management.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Organizations in Sweden today engage increasingly with the management concept of diversity management (DM) in order to address several, and often competing, issues. These include, hiring talent from a broader recruitment pool to gain access to more competence  and/or mirror certain markets or clients, making sure that all organizational members canuse their multiple competencies as to fully utilize them through building an inclusive culture, legal compliance with anti-discrimination legislation, gaining social credibility and trust, Achieving a socially just organization; finding new ways to foster wanted behavior in order to increase performance. Diversity and its management is contested terrain where these and other issues are discursively constructed by various actors with different interests, and in attempting to explore how diversity as an organizational concept is understood in Sweden today I analyze a Swedish practitioner handbook on implementing diversity management using reflexive discourse analysis (RDA). A framework based on questions and dilemmas previously identified in DM is used to explore the discursive landscape in the handbook, which is then analyzed to tentatively say something about the organizational reality in which it was written, and what this in extension might tell us about diversity management in Sweden today.

The book was found to first frame diversity as defined by a half-open set of simple categories of differences (e.g. gender, age, ethnicity, religion, education, disability) and as motivated by a business-case that saw the instrumental utility of diversity for organizational performance gains as its purpose. But this framing of how diversity was to be understood was then found to legitimize and house an pragmatic implementation of diversity that was marked by discourse of social justice and change, rather than domination and economical utility, and as such the book was interpreted as using the concept of diversity as a kind of discursive Trojan horse to legitimize action and agendas based on ideals of equality and social justice in a context that is generally dominated by business case discourses.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 86 p.
Keyword [en]
diversity management, discourse, discourse analysis, reflexivity, critical theories, popular management literature, social justice, organizational change
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-160550OAI: diva2:790406
Available from: 2015-03-03 Created: 2015-02-24 Last updated: 2015-03-03Bibliographically approved

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