Organizations Should Promote And Enhance Diversity Business Essay


To bring benefits, the heterogeneity of the personnel must be managed in a effective and efficient manner: it is the acknowledged diversity management that become a source of competitive advantage for companies. Moreover, both profit and non-profit organizations see in diversity a tool to turn into more resourceful and broaden their horizons. Maximizing the efforts for a more diverse workplace has become now a major issue for management.

The principal focus of this thesis is to describe in detail diversity in the workforce to bring about an understanding of the difficulty and breadth of workplace diversity issues then a practical vademecum is proposed to offer practical measures to implement a diversity management policy. This thesis is divided into three parts.

In the first part I have carried out a bibliographic research that has permitted to summarize the theme of diversity - biologic, social and economic - and the management of it, evidencing the most important studies and characteristics.

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet


Essay Writers

Lady Using Tablet

Get your grade
or your money back

using our Essay Writing Service!

Essay Writing Service

In the second part I mapped and classified the principal theoretical models for diversity management which differ for the strategies to implement and the differences analyzed (cultural, age and gender). Then the analysis has allowed to identify in companies' organizational culture, integrating cultural values and in the competences of the management the requirements for effectively managing diversity.

In the last part of the thesis, after having described the Italian industrial texture, I propose a vademecum for Italian SME that shows a concrete and viable path towards the implementation of a diversity management strategy, suggesting best practices and useful tools to put in place.

Diversity management practices can be divided in two broad categories: cross-national and intra-national diversity management (Tung, 2003). The first one concern the diversity management of the companies' members who operate in subsidiaries abroad. The second focuses on the integration - in a traditionally homogeneous workforce (generally constituted of white men) - of new members such as women, people of different ethnic, cultural and linguistic background and disabled. In this thesis I took in consideration the latter, pertaining specifically the Italian SME texture.

Chart I - Structure of the thesis

Here are some suggestions to make the reading of this thesis more enjoyable and profitable:

1. Read the thesis from the point of view of a student who is honing his skills. Read not to find solutions, but rather to find structures and processes that can be used to generate practical solutions.

2. Think of the thesis as a fact-finding as a framework on diversity. Like any good exploration, the thesis will provide a useful way to organize ideas. Readers can stop reading the thesis wanting to know more about a given topic, or on a few areas of academic research.

3. Read the thesis to determine what is useful, not what is "right or wrong". The aim is to provide structures that can be used for understanding the organization and the generation of solutions and action planning practices in diversity management, rather than presenting critical evaluation of strategies and approaches.

Basic Definitions

Diversity: differences and similarities, and tensions related and complexity, able to characterize mixtures of any type. When it comes to diversity, you are describing a characteristic of a mixture of some kind, such as employees, customers, suppliers, organizational functions, the participants in an acquisition or merger, citizens, family or congregation in a religious context.

This means that when we talk about a group of "s diversity, it is necessary to specify the size. When someone says that a group is" different ", which usually means with reference to race, gender or ethnicity. Actually, the possibilities are huge dimensions, then the need to specify. Moreover, with the diversity (differences and similarities) come voltages and complexity. greater the diversity, the greater the likelihood of voltage and complexity.

Voltage diversity: the stress and tension that comes from the interaction and the clash of differences and similarities. 5

Complexity: what makes a difficult thing to explain. The complexity of management is the ability to make quality decisions in a multitude of factors that make something difficult to explain.

Capacity: the means to reflect issues of diversity of all kinds in search of quality decisions that support the objectives of an entity "s general. A fundamental assumption is that the individual or organization (represented by its officers and directors ) can be an actor.

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet


Writing Services

Lady Using Tablet

Always on Time

Marked to Standard

Order Now

Multiculturalism: the concept of multiculturalism represents a new approach to the future. Unfortunately, in all the debates about the term a clear definition of the concept has yet emerged. The people are then left to read everything within their prejudices and interests of self dictate. Let me give an operational definition of multiculturalism as a starting point in order to clarify human interactions.

Multiculturalism is a system of beliefs and behaviors that recognizes and respects the presence of all the different groups in an organization or a society recognizes and values ​​the socio-cultural differences, and encourages and enables their continued contribution in an inclusive cultural authorizing all within the organization or society3.

Part I

State of the art

Diversity in biology

The principal field in which the diversity concept is born is biology. In fact, the biological diversity or biodiversity is the thing that makes the entire planet rich of animal and vegetal species. Biological diversity is constituted of three main elements: genetic diversity, ecologic diversity and the diversity of species. The biologic diversity and its constitutional elements will be described in the following pages.

The term biologic diversity represents a measure of the variety of species present in nature. It is constituted of many vegetal and animal species, micro-organisms, their genes and eco-systems they belong to. So it is composed by three fundamental elements:

Genetic diversity: it is the genetic variability among peoples and individuals of the same species. It represents the less visible and studied level of the biologic diversity and it has a twofold meaning that is to say that it refers to either differences in genetic composition of distinct species or genetic variations present in one single species. The number of possible combinations higher than the individuals constituting one species. The genetic combination determines the physic characteristics of an organism and its ability to survive in an environment or under particular conditions.

Diversity of species: it is the diversity which diversify the vegetal or animal species and makes a type of animal or plant different from each other. It is measured with relation to a particular area - from a small region to the whole world. It is only considered in terms of number of species and different types of species present in a particular geographic area.

Ecologic diversity: it the diversity present in the structure of the eco-system. Eco-systems do not differ only for the composition of species but also for their physic structure (including the structures created by organisms) and for the role the species held in the community.

Chart 1.1 - Types of diversity

The biologist E.O. Wilson (ref) assert that the true biologic diversity or bio-diversity it is the genetic one because the gene represents the fundamental unit of natural selection that is to say of evolution. This position is sustained by geneticists who assume that diversity is in genes and criticizing the biologists who affirm that bio-diversity reside in diverse organisms, peoples and species.

The biologic evolution represents a starting point to understand either the economic evolution systems or the cultural evolution, indispensable for their implications in companies' organization. Given that, it is possible to evaluate the strong analogies between the biologic evolution and the cultural evolution, though with remarkable differences, some mechanisms and evolutional factors - such as mutation, natural selection, migration genetic transmission - seem to be comparable. In both processes, diversity is the engine of change.

The biologic evolution results in a process of two dimensions: the first one leads to a gradual modification in time of the same species, adapting its individuals to the environment. To determine evolution they are the diversities present within each species and the natural selection. The biologic evolution is so composed by two fundamentals processes: the variations which developed within a certain population due to the present of mutations and the natural selection. The file-rouge of this process of change is the inheritance that consists in the possibility of members of each generation to pass on their genetic structure. The process of copying the hereditary patrimony is not perfect but some small "errors" are registered - these errors are called mutations. A mutation could be advantageous in some circumstances. If the carrier of the mutation has a greater probability to survive the mutation can spread over the population in some generations. The process is called by Darwin natural selection. Consequently, the three main evolution-theories are described:

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

This Essay is

a Student's Work

Lady Using Tablet

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Examples of our work

Lamark's evolution theory: it affirm that each species derives from other pre-existing species, structurally simpler. Their evolution is possible thanks to the interactions with different environments in which they live and the modifications of habits and diets. To summarize, this theory says that organisms own an intrinsic disposition to improve their-selves, trying to develop the characteristics to better adapt to the environment.

Darwin's evolution theory: it assumes that all the existing organisms descend from one or few simple form and it demonstrates that the evolution change is due to the natural selection which operates on variations developed within a certain population.

The Darwinian theory is based on four main assumptions:

Among individuals of the same species we find morphologic, physiologic and behavior differences;

Variations must be hereditable so that descendants resemble to ascendants;

Variants of a same character are expressed in a different manner, to favour the production of a variable number of descendants;

The struggle for the survival represents an evidence which shows what individual will have more descendants.

Tabella confronto teoria L-D - III

Syntetic evolution theory: it has been developed in the first decades of the twentieth century by T. Dobzhansky, E. Mayr, G. Simpson and it affirms that:

The hereditable entities - carriers of information - are genes and the natural selection operates on them;

Genes change and these casual and durable changes originate the characters of a species;

The environment do not cause any adaptive variation but it selects those carriers of favourable variants for the survival in that environment;

Among organisms it does exist a biochemical kinship. The cell represents a common base both structural and functional.

Diversity in sociology

Diversity in sociology covers a multitude of aspects - human variability, value creation, culture specifications and socio-economic characteristics. In a society characterized by a strong degree of diversity, it does not exist one behavior nor one standard system, equal for all. On the other hand, the richness of a multi-ethnic society resides in the persons who constitutes it: each individual contributes value to the community thanks to his diversity.

Multi-ethnic societies, however, have considerable difficulties which emerge from the interaction of very different people. In arena it is very problematic to find a common means of communication and develop relationships. This bring to an impoverishment of society exacerbated by the presence of prejudices, stereotypes and discriminations which do not permit the cohesion and enrichment of society.

In the current society, characterized by the globalization of peoples and companies, businesses constituted by a melting-pot of ethnic groups, different cultures and religion believes, are a reality. Multi-ethnic societies offer the possibility to exploit the peculiarities that a person brings but it is not simple and often many difficulties occur. Two are the possible behaviors noticed in multi-ethnic societies (PADRONI 2004):

Conflicting between cultures which brings to a break-up of society - the most frequent result;

Enrichment though the integration in society of different cultures.

Prejudices is referred to aptitude bias and it leads to pre-judge someone on the basis of determined characteristics (cox 1993). The term prejudice generally indicates negative behaviors towards ethnic, linguistic and religious groups and it based on cultural identities of groups such as race, gender, physical abilities, nationality and social status. The direct consequence of prejudice is discrimination which is referred to behavioral bias against a person due to the group identity that he belongs to.

The principal forms of prejudice (cox 1993):

Intrapersonal factors: the source of the intrapersonal prejudice reside inside the people and it is imputable to their personality. Two types of personalities are dangerous in living together different people and they are:

The authoritarian personality: characterized by aggressiveness, power orientation, politic conservatism and cynicism; and

The intolerant personality: intolerant people do not accept ambiguous situations and they tend to react with violence, not admitting diversities. Efficiency in work situations, among diverse groups, is higher when the degree of tolerance is elevate.

Interpersonal factors: Cox (1993) identifies three sources of interpersonal factors - perceived physic attraction, communicational abilities/barriers and historical effects in different groups relations.

Societal reinforcement factors: prejudice is sometimes reinforced by society In the US for long time the prejudice based on group identity was formalized by the national laws. Although these forms of prejudice are abandoned thanks to civil movements and law reforms, some other conditions remain, favored by the mass media society and educative institutions.

The most common forms of prejudice and discrimination in societies with efficient and competitive economies are racism, sexism, ethnocentrism and xenophobia. In same societies white men and dominant ethnic groups hold the institutional power and myth and stereotypes are utilized to maintain and justify their social, economic and political positions. While racism, sexism, ethnocentrism tend to divide the society into different groups, xenophobia contributes to nationalism and to foster ethnic and religious contrasts.

Most part of ethnocentrism discrimination - which inevitable interfere with the ability of an organization to integrate a foreigner - find its heritages in language diversity. The language is becoming, on one hand, source of conflict in many nations/regions and, on the other hand, source of inefficiency in companies with diverse workforce. The language is one of the constitutive element of a culture and it is the most evident product - explicit product (Hofstede 2005).

Diversity in economy

The ability to attract and keep creative and talented people in a organization as well as in a country, it constitutes a inexhaustible source of innovation. Innovations introduce new technological and economic species which increase the diversity level of the economic system.

One of the main characteristics that intervenes in the process of economic growth is the creation of new entities, such as new products and services and the development of activities, necessary to produce new objects. Consequently, economic development cannot be associated to a mere rise in efficiency in all the existing activities as often shown in theoretical models.

The emergence of new products and services is the result of the systematically use of innovation as a fundamental element in the system. New products and services are generally not substitutes but they offer to customers and users new functions so far unknown. During this process, the economic system composition - set of products, activities and actors - changes and according this prospective, the development is a transformation process, of either qualitative change or quantitative growth. (SAVIOTTI 2004)

For qualitative change it is meant (saviotti) the set of changes generated by innovations which create new technological and economic species. The importance of diversity in economy depends on the role played, in economic development. In particular, so far economic growth has been characterized by an increasing diversity. Stirling (2004) identifies three properties or constitutional elements of economic diversity: variety, equilibrium, disparity - each of these is necessary but individually insufficient.

Variety: it refers to the number of categories or technological options of a new products portfolio.

Equilibrium: it implies equality in the representation of new products' different options of the portfolio.

Disparity: it concerns to the nature and degree of diversity between categories.

Evidences and studies over time both in biology and economy have demonstrated the existence of an important - structural and by-objectives - relation between the biologic evolution theories and economic ones. This similarity offer the possibility to utilize biologic analogies to build and develop interest economic models.

The evolutionary economics is an economic school of thought, in which economic theories can be explained through biologic concepts and metaphors. So, it is possible to deduce, from biology, the principal aspects of diversity growth in economy (saviotti 1996):

Creation instead of distruction;

Creation of new product instead of substitutes, in order to increase diversity;

Variety (genetic mutation) and selection (research activity and competition): since economic development is incentivized by the addition of products, processes, markets and new organizational forms, it is possible to make analogies with the biologic world.

Innovations, especially the radical ones, are equivalent to genetic mutations which continually generate new living forms or new products - this aspect leads to an increasing of varieties (saviotti 1996). Without any limitations, there will be an infinite number of product varieties, but in reality this growth is limited by the selection process as in nature. Most of the old and obsolete products are replaced by new ones.

The equilibrium, between the creation of varieties through mutations/innovations and its limitation due to selection, leads to the survival of the system variety (nelson,winter 1982). Differently from what happen in the biologic world, innovations in economic systems are not a casual product but the result of the continuous research by companies trying to distinguish themselves from competitors to obtain a competitive advantage.

In the economic evolution, businesses undergo selections on the basis of their adaptation to the environment in which they operate. Companies produce products in order to satisfy customers and to improve the market position (saviotti 1996); that is why in economic systems, the design process and the strategy-making develop innovations for a better adaptation to the environment.

It is evident that diversity of some elements of the economic system can increase, while this of some others decrease. For example, the diversity of a particular process of production could diminish and at the same time, the variety of the correspondent product increases. Dynamics followed by the economic system elements are diverse but often related. For example, a diminution of process diversity could reduce the costs of production and contribute to the creation of a greater output diversity.

Diversity changes during the process of economic development. Some aspects of economic systems and their development (saviotti 2004):

The efficiency of existing processes increases during the economic development;

Economic development is characterized by qualitative change;

The economic system diversity increases during the economic development.

These points need to be linked through theoretical models:

Romer (1990): the number of sectors which produce products raises, as a result of research and development activities;

Fagerberg and Verspagen (1999): set of empirical studies which analyze the characteristics and the impact of structural change during the twentieth century;

Saviotti and Pyka (2003): it analyzes the qualitative change in the long period. According to this model diversity increases due to the creation of new sectors and this leads to the continually generation of employment.

Part II

La gestione della diversità

Economic phenomena - such as the internationalization of enterprises and the markets globalization on one side and, important social events - such as migrations and the womanization of the job market on the other side, they have produced a workforce diverse by gender, culture and religion and push organizations to face difficulties linked to diversity (cox and blake 1991). In this context theoretical models and techniques are born to manage and enhance diversity. The first country to manage diversity was the US, not only in organizations but also in society trying to find solutions to the increasing difficulties. So it is important to identify what are the main aspects of diversity, in which way it influences the business performance and how it could be mastered.

The human resources is the field in which diversity management is born and its primary activity to encourage integration policies and their acceptance. Studies have recently shown how necessary is to change the selection system as well as the recruitment, training and rewarding in relation to diversity.

Theories which analysis diversity among groups have been developed firstly in social contexts as it is the first to realize the presence of diverse members and in which it is more complicated to be accepted and integrated. For example, the immigrant worker is keener and motivated to accept the new business cultural context than the external social one in which is formally excluded.

Principal theoretical bases for the analysis of diversity among groups:

Social categorization: according this school of thought, people in society or working groups tend to classify others solely on the basis of distinctive physical characteristics such as gender, age, colour of the skin, ethnical group and they perceive the "diverse" as an error/flaw with respect to the "normal" and this reduce the performance of the group itself. The social categorization has developed because people manifest a self-esteem need and this rise usually through the comparison with others. In heterogeneous social groups - by gender, age, religion, nationality - these categorizations bring a diminution of satisfaction in group members.

In working contexts the less satisfaction is explained by a decline in group cohesion, communication and by an increase of conflicts and turnover ratios. In this specific case the presence of diversity in groups foster the creation of bias which produce extremely negative effects on performances and results.

Similarity/attraction: people inside the groups tend to have greater inclination to build relationships with similar people - by physical attributes, cultural values and life experience. Diversity is seen as a punishment and the trend is to create a close communication network in which new members have difficulties to enter.

Information diversity and decision making: this theory analyses how information and decision-making can be positively influenced by a diverse working group. According to this, diversity permits to acquire knowledge - more information and skills - and improve the decision-making activities. In this case diversity is seen as a competitive advantage leading to an improvement in know-how, creativity, cooperation, performance and decision-making procedures.

Interpretative model of theories on diversity in working groups - fig IV

It is extremely difficult to give a definition of diversity. The Office of Affirmative Action Compliance (referenza xxx) subdivides diversity in four distinct classes which try to group together differences and similarities of an organization members:

Personality: it represents the unique characteristics of an individual and it directly affects the communication with other individuals;

Internal characteristics: diversity characteristics which the most part cannot be controlled by the individual but they create expectations, suppositions and opportunities - they are: age, gender, race, ethnical group, physical abilities and sexual orientation;

External characteristics: social factors and life experiences which are controllable by an individual and affect his behaviors and attitudes;

Organizational characteristics: personal experiences within the organization which have a consistent impact on expectations and opportunities.

grafico le dimensioni della diversità (Gardenswatz and Rowe 1995)

Conversely, Maglione (2005) and Hubbard (2004) divide diversity dimensions in two categories:

Primary dimensions: differences referring to elements - age, gender, ethnic origin, mental competences/characteristics, sexual orientation - which belong to the innate and natural patrimony of the individual and which cannot be modified.

Secondary dimensions: elements acquired during life experience such as educative background, family situation, geographic localization, revenues, religion, organizational role, language and working experience. These characteristics can be modified more than once or eventually abandoned.

Finally, the Mi. St Diversity Consulting (1997) - first European diversity consulting - recognizes diversity as the set of characteristics of an individual such as age, gender, sexual orientation, race, mental abilities and religion. But a different diversity classification is given: individual and organizational prospective.

Individual prospective:

Reality: diversity describes the reason why people are similar for some aspects and different for some others (diversity);

Mindset: diversity includes the attitudes of people towards differences and the consciousness that diversity is manifested in daily interactions.

Organizational prospective:

Management instrument: diversity describes the manner through which an organization improves its bottom-line, actively recognizing, enhancing and encouraging differences.

Business principle: diversity describes a new way to do business, recognizing the importance and uniqueness of each stakeholder.

To summarize, age, gender, ethnic group and nationality are primary diversities. They influence the most when getting in contact with people for the first time. They have a strong degree of evidence but they do not include the set of competences of a person - scarcely job-related characteristics.

Personality, culture, socio-economic background and religion are less evident diversities, even if socio-economic status and religion are manifested in food and dressing. Also this class of diversity is scarcely job-related as it does not affect people's skills.

To be strongly job-related are diversities such as the educative background, life experience and the belonging to some organizations or functions. Such diversities are not evident but they can be shown when people interact within a working group. They influence the people's competences and their capacities of problem-solving.

Grafico grado evidenza diversità V

Born in the '90 in the US, diversity management represents only the last expression of a path aimed to diversity integration in businesses started in the '60 with the promotion of Affirmative Action policies and continued in the '70 with the development of Pear Opportunity plans. The Affirmative Action program is explained in the obligation imposed by the government to companies to hire a fixed percentage of women, ethnic minorities and disabled. The introduction of such measures was based principally on the moral and social responsibility to integrate diverse people and they were founded on numerical evaluations aimed to increment minorities, women and disabled representations. The policy's effects were disastrous because people recruited were not improved but emarginated and excluded.

During the '70, government favored the Pear Opportunities plan. The goal was to eliminate discrimination by promoting equality and flattening every form of diversity, but this time, without producing any form of protection. The principal aim was to train, reward and treat all organization members on the basis of exclusively job-related criteria. Such equality was exasperated so individuals were deprived of their nationality, gender, culture and religion in order to build an organization composed by similar members.

At the end of this historical sequence there is, what is called today, the diversity management which is a strategic approach for the management of human resources that companies decide in a spontaneous way to apply. The final aim is to foster the formation of diverse working groups, enhance and utilize the unique contribute of diverse employees to reach strategic business goals. This individual and different contribution permit to the company to face the challenge and the uncertainty of the external environment.

Grafico sviluppo temporale.

Although many definitions of diversity management were given, it can be seen as:

Human resources management - the group - aimed at the creation of an inclusive working environment, that enhance the participation of all members to working activities, able to encourage the individual potential and utilize it as a strategic lever.

Employee management - the individual - together with the uniqueness of its contribution, background, expectation and encouraging effective and efficient group working activities.

Managerial competences, both organizational and individual, permit to realize an effective diversity management and such skills can be developed only if the one-way of thinking and behave decay. Consecutively the two principal school of thought and their approaches, will be analyzed. Diversity management in a bi- or multicultural context can be divided into two broad categories (tung 1993):

Cross-national diversity management: it is referred to the management of the organization members relationships - members who work in a foreign country or organization members of the hosting country. An example of such practices is the relation between Japanese managers and American assistants in Japanese companies based in the US. The cross-national management identify and evaluate policies and measures to face diversity within high-profile workforce dislocated in foreign countries and low-profile members in the hosting country.

Intra-national diversity management: on the other hand, it analyze the management of human resources diversity which enters the company. So it studies approaches, instruments and practices to face a diverse workforce within the organization. The more women and ethnic minorities reach higher positions in the business, the more practical managerial implications to be managed will arise.

Diversity management can be synthesized in acculturation process approaches. The term acculturation is referred to the orientation process to cultural differences towards a cultural change and group adaptation (cox and beale 1997). The studying of acculturation processes and results permit to understand cross-group interactions or human behaviors in diverse groups. There are four principal approaches to the implementation of acculturation processes:

Separation: minorities groups do not want or are not able to adapt to the dominant culture and as a result they detach themselves from it. In this situation the cultural exchange is minimum. This kind of acculturation is nourished by both parties - minorities and majorities. From a social point of view it is manifested in racial segregation;

Marginalization: in this situation members of each ethnic group voluntarily maintain their norms and behaviors separated without trying in any way to integrate and normalize the two or more value systems. This behavior does not facilitate the group performance . A clear example of this context is an organization member working abroad does not speak the local language nor he understands the behavior norms and model of the hosting country.

Assimilation: it is process of acculturation in which a determined group culture - usually the dominant one - becomes the standard behavior for all the cultures entering the company through recruitment. This behavior is not optimal because, although it enhance the hiring of diverse member groups, it forces them to abandon their own culture and to conform to norms and values of the dominant group.

Integration: it is an acculturation path in which in each cultural group constituting the organization, adopt and integrate part of norms and behaviors of cultural minorities. It represents an optimal form of integration among people coming from dominant cultures or ethnic minorities. The best elements from each culture or sub-culture are combined to create a new organization culture.

Multi-culture organizations possess all the characteristics to integrate people with a diverse socio-cultural background, unlike monolithic organizations - which do not integrate diversities or pluralist ones - which assimilate differences but not integrating them.

Monolithic organizations: organizations characterized by a high rate of internal homogeneity; it dominates the majority cultural group which is composed by the dominant culture individuals. Women and ethnic minorities are little represented and the necessary conditions for the survival of these organizations are stability and homogeneity.

Pluralist organizations: it presents a higher internal heterogeneity since the working environment tends to include people from different background. Human resources policies are aimed at hiring and training people from a different cultural group and there are indemnification policies in case of discrimination. What emerges is an organization with a high level of tolerance of diverse people which is an advantage for modern companies.

Multi-culture organizations: they recognize and enhance multicultural workforce diversities. Multicultural organizations are characterized by a high level of pluralism, by a perfect multicultural workforce integration, both at organizational level and in informal networking, by the absence of prejudices and discrimination and by a higher degree of company identification and fewer conflicts.

As said before the principal goal of diversity management is to create a working environment in which all people, coming from different socio-cultural background and independently of their sexual orientation, abilities and ethnic origin, are enhanced and appreciated. The starting point for the implementation of changes in the organizations is to identify multicultural organizations characteristics. An interest analysis, developed by Cox (1993) shows three types of organizations according to their reactions to six factors:


Acculturation process;

Structural integration degree;

Informal integration degree;

Cultural prejudice institutionalized by the human resources system;

Groups conflict.

Tabella tre tipi organizzazioni

Figura classificazione acculturazione

Diversity management theoretical models

Diversity management models can be divided in two main groups:

Diversity management operative models: they are focused principally on practices and instruments for managing diversity as well as on the processes to follow to implement them. They do not analyze in a formal and structural manner the requisites for an effective management. In this group - chronologic order:

Progroup model (1986)

DiversityAtWork model (1996)

MI.ST Diversity Consulting model (1997)

DuPont model (2006)

Ibis Consulting Group (2006)

Analysis models for diversity management necessary requisites: they concern, in a more compelling way, on the analysis of necessary requites for managing diversity. So they describe the operative instruments for the management of diversity. In this category - chronologic order:

Cox's model (1993)

Iles'model (1996)

Cross and Blackburn White's model (1996)

Gilbert, Stead and Ivancevich's model (1999)

Hicks-Clarke and Iles's model's (2000)

Australian Center for International Business (2001)

Istud's model (2002)

Hubbard's model (2004)

Pless and Maak's model (2004)

Diversity Management European Institution (2006)

Office of Affirmative Action Compliance (2006)

Consequently, only the more important models will be analyzed. The operative models are referable to consulting agencies or companies. They focus mostly on the application of instruments and practices for managing diversity in organizations but it analyzes only marginally the presence of requisites for it.

ProGroup model

Pro Group is an American consulting society aim at helping organizations to create a working environment in which differences are integrated, diversities appreciated and where all the employees are treated with respect and in the same way.

The proposed model implies four phases:

Cultural audit: it is a preliminary analysis of the present organization culture. To realize it, it necessitates instruments such as managers and stakeholders' interviews and focus group with employees, managers, customers, questionnaires and reports.

Diversity planning: implementation of diversity management programs at all organizational levels. Starting from the company's strategic and business objectives, ProGroup collaborates with managers, commissions, diversity leaders and human resources in order to create a strategic plan ready for implementation in the long-term.

Diversity council: commitment generation to reinforce cohesion among team members. It collaborates with the organization in the carrying out of diversity programs and to control the effectiveness of such measures. The ProGroup training should permit to company members to better communicate an act.

Diversity training: diversity training plans for diversity. It is the principal instruments and it is composed by four training processes:

Tolerance scale

Awareness spectrum

T.A.L.K. model

Service energy

ProGroup also identifies five main aspects that strongly affect the success of these training initiatives:

Managers participation: initial participation of executive managers in order to become "champions of diversity";

Compulsoriness: the training should be mandatory in order to have solid basis to built the action program;

Individual behavior centrality: it is necessary to focus the training on behaviors in order to avoid personal prejudices;

Individuality: training programs should deepen the analysis on individuals;

Training promotion: programs should be carried out by experts.

DiversityAtWork model

The DiversityAtWork model - Total Equity Solution - has been created by TWI Inc., a Canadian consulting society. The core activities of the organization is diversity management. The model should help companies interested in studying diversity, to combine creativity with the discipline of process and quality management. This model can be utilize independently of the national legislation structure and the workforce composition. The Total Equity Solution is based on five phases:

Tabella 5 fasi TES

Visioning: the first step is finalized to develop among top managers the willing to build a working environment which is equal and inclusive. The purpose of this phase is to pass from an idea of equality between organization members to another based on respect and integration. Equality intended as the same treatment of people but ignoring their peculiarities. Diversity respect leads to treat people with relation to their differences and peculiarities. This phase is composed by two main elements:

Executive briefing: presentation to the executive team aimed at building a common definition of Equity, Ideal working environment and direct to approach the diversity theme;

Leveling session: it refers to a series of training sessions addressed to the top management in order to prepare managers and to show the company's vision and business case(refernca)ww.

Validation: the second step consists of an evaluation of the objectively of the organization in assessing discrimination practices. Such instruments are divided in three levels - individual, group and organization. The first two levels permit to build awareness and competence in terms of "how to think and how to behave" concerning employees' differences in working environment. Organization level instruments estimate how the working environment is equal for all. From an individual and group point of view, the instruments proposed are:

Talents' model

Attitude profile

Equitable leader assessment

From an organization point of view, the instruments suggested are numerous:

TES scorecard: evaluation instrument aimed at determined the company's position on the basis of some key indicators;

Business case identification;

Diversity ratio: inquiry on the integration climate inside the organization, based on the perceptions of employees with regards to procedures, programs and policies.

Diversity census in order to find the demographic, gender and ethnic composition in the working environment;

Talkback: interviews to employees in order to register their opinions concerning the business policies.

Opportunity: in this phase the results of the previous phase are utilized to set reachable and planned goals. To measure progresses, objectives must be divided into four areas:

Quantitative: representation statistics and degree of retention in order to analyze the selection process;


Micro-internal: focused on the management improvements;


Transformation: at the end of the phase of surveying and analyzing, the following changing process phase is transformation. It shows how to reach the determined objectives realizing the action program. The effectiveness of this initiative depends on the systematic transformation plans based on coherent and updated data.

Realignment: the transformation process is not completed as far as the planned changes are not integrated in the organization culture. To become part of the business norms and shared values, monitoring and controlling instruments are needed. In this phase each progress is verified and checked and measurements at regular intervals are introduced.

DuPont model

DuPont is a multinational realizing a broad range of products for different sectors: agriculture, electronics, communication, security, transportation and construction. It is present in 60 countries and it employed almost 60000 people. So it is evident that it faces daily problems linked to diversity integration. The company's policy is to integrate each organization member and do not discriminate employees with relation to age, gender, religion, disabilities, sexual orientation and ethnic origin. In 1994 it has been developed a strategic plan for the management of such diversity: Strategic Diversity Plan in which it has been built the Diversity PowerHouse Plan. This model is focused on five fields and it proposes four principal initiatives.

Grafico modello dupont

Leadership development and participation: the model provides that the company's managing board will be involved not only in planning activities but also in the implementation practices. The top management participates at every formative initiative adopting a learn-and-teach approach. Executives must not only talk of diversity but also show how diversity measures can be put in place.

Education and training: teaching courses on diversity management are organized as well as focus groups and workshops in order to understand diversity characteristics in the organization but also to learn how to manage and integrate them.

Organizational development: DuPont has identified key areas where insert an organizational change related to diversity initiatives:

Carrier path for employees: they must be revised and updated in order to reflect the needs of a population with an increasing heterogeneity;

Working process: diversity must be integrated in the working process;

Communication plans: both result and strategy communication is the key to success;

Mentoring: it has been developed an important mentoring program in which "champions of diversity" profiles were created.

Cost sustainability: DuPont has spent more the 20 million dollars in education and training, of which six million on diversity education. The strategic plan invites to make the most of resources in the organization, but in a different way - more efficiency for the same objectives.

The instruments with which the company tries to develop these five fields are:

Education and development of employees' competences with regards to diversity, thanks to a broad range of education courses and the updating of management instruments;

Mentoring to obtain participation to diversity management course. It is identified as the key to reach sustainable growth;

Suppliers' awareness of diversity themes. Suppliers are chosen among those who enhance and integrate diversity.

Economic support to educative institutions such as school and universities,

Active participation to associations which sustain women and minorities.

Analysis models for diversity management necessary requisites: they focus not only on the implementation of diversity management approaches but also on the necessary requisites for an effective implementation of such approaches.

Cox's model (1993)

The Cox's model which has been developed in 1993 functions as a guide for the business change - from a monolithic or pluralistic to a multicultural company - where diversities are integrated and respected. If organizations want to maximize the potential benefits of diversity and minimize its potential disadvantages - in terms of group cohesion, interpersonal conflicts and turnover - they need to transform themselves in multicultural companies. The actions to do so are summarized by Cox in a model defined by five fundamental components.

Figura cox e blake

Leadership: the actions undertaken to implement the change inside the organization need supporters who defend the diversity cause. Followers must stand clearly for it and represent a behavioral model. As any other change, concrete commitment and top management support are necessary as well as diversity management plans for lower levels in the company identified by operative managers. Many organizations are reforming their structure introducing such figures acting as diversity promoters who depends directly on the president.

In addition to top management commitment, guide commissions and consulting groups are requested to carry out the change. These are generally composed by managers coming from different functions coordinated by a senior manager. Sometimes in smaller business in which diversity managers are not necessary, they can be substituted by teams called advisory groups.

Research and measurements: a fundamental component in the Cox's model consists in the data/information gathering. Many information are needed: an assessment of organization's culture, information on the implementation of pear opportunity policies, behavior and perception analysis of employees which shows the different carrier paths of diverse members. This type of analysis is revealing the organization's culture, the management norms and the interpersonal relations. These indicators must be updated periodically in order to monitor the progresses reached and the working environment.

Training: the most commonly utilized starting point towards a correct implementation of diversity policies is the training. The training program involves first of all the senior managers - sponsors and promoters and subsequently the organization's members. The training is articulated in various levels: the first step is aimed at develop awareness about differences inside the company and the need to manage them effectively and it must involve also the new employees.

Management and cultural system change: it consists in an extensive evaluation of the organization's culture and its human resources management system - recruitment, training, performance evaluations, potential promotions and benefits generated. The principal purposes of this culture audit are:

To find the sources of prejudice in norms and management policies which can inhibit company's members and make them less productive;

To identify the causes for which organization's culture cannot be suitable for a diverse workforce.

Follow-up: the two principal aspects of supplementary actions to carry out are, first of all to set responsibilities for results and to create explicit mechanisms for the effective evaluation of undertaken actions. Secondly, both responsibility and evaluation should be guided by the continuous improvement idea.

Organization change instruments: to complete the description of the model, the practical instruments to transform a company into a diversity-orientated organization are given.

Tabella strumenti cambiamento

The dimensions towards which carry out the change are highlighted:

Culture: the process of change the organization's culture is difficult and it must be implemented in the long-term. Companies fight inevitable resistances towards changes.

Pluralism: the minority ethnic group culture and the majority one affect both the behavioral norms, the policies and values of the organization.

Structural integration: to create an organization in which does not exist correlation between diverse cultural group identity and working status it is necessary that all groups are represented at all levels, in all functions and in all working groups.

Informal network integration: achieved through programs set by guide companies to involve only members of minority groups or all employees, a second technique to facilitate integration consists of the sponsorship of social events by companies.

Institutionalized prejudice: to treat this problem it is necessary to utilize tools such as cultural audits and feedback surveys concerning the assessment of performance and pay systems, changes in human resources policies;

Group conflicts: there multiple instruments utilized to solve the emerging conflict for diversity of thinking or working experience. Such instruments are feedback surveys, trainings.

Kossek's model (1996)

This model was developed by Ellen Kossek and it asserts that organizations and their cultures are correlated to the type of people who work inside them. The way of behaving og organizations' members are the result of the A-S-A cycle: attraction, selection, attrition.

Traditionally, organizations have human resources management models based on models and practices of homogeneity, which do not promote diversity. Moreover who holds the power tends to employ, enhance and favor more similar people instead of diverse, because they are more adapted to the dominant coalition.

According to Kossek, too much similarity could be dangerous for the long-term business growth, the company renewal, the ability to answer to the environmental and market changes, the new ideas and technologies and finally for the workforce expectations. Vice-versa human resources-oriented management policies can help business culture and permit to adapt the organization continuously to environmental requests. The main purpose of the Kossek's model is to integrate the diversity management strategy to the human resources areas.

Figura modello kossek

This graph is thought to help decision makers to understand the existing links between environmental drivers, diversity management and other strategic choices concerning the human resources management policies and the individual and group results achieved. The environmental drivers structure the strategic choices that organizations make in managing their business including diversity management strategies.

Once defined the key objectives and made the strategic choices, it is necessary to define in which human resources management areas intervene to in order to implement such strategies.

Planning strategies of human resources and job market: Kossek affirms that an organization must identify clearly the recruitment policies in order to determine the HR planning activities;

Legal strategies and pear opportunities laws: they are not always coherent with the business daily activity;

Selection and recruitment: there are many access barriers for unskilled labor and these are difficult to eliminate with the norms previously explained;

Performance evaluation: it is implemented through performance feedbacks and the setting of ambitious objectives;

Training and development: the training is identify as the most utilized HR management strategy, used to achieve a better integration among different cultural groups;

Carrier management;

Rewarding system: it is utilized as an incentive for managers and as a stimulus for members to work at the top of their capabilities;

Safety and security: it is necessary to modify the existing equipments and the safety program training when diverse workforce is employed;

Working policies/life balance: organizations have to go beyond the current idea of company and rethink the terms of integration between working and private life;

Collective bargaining: it refers to relations between employees and trade unions.

Pless and Maak's model (2004)

This specific model is part of a larger path of changes and transformations that organizations should follow to implement diversity management policies. Such path is composed by four phases:

To increase the awareness about the necessity of managing diversity and creating a tolerance climate;

To develop an integrating environment inside the company;

To reformulate managerial key concepts and principles;

To adapt HR management processes and systems.

Specifically, this model is referred to the last phase that is to say that it identifies the factors on which operate to initiate the transformation. It is divided into six parts:

Founding principles: Pless and Maak have identify and integrated in their model the founding principles of an integrating culture. These are: emotive recognition, political and legal recognition, solidarity, mutual comprehension, plurality of points of views and trust and integrity. Such founding elements are unavoidable to build an integrating culture;

Competences of inclusion: to permit the organization to implement the change and to create an integrating culture, company's members must possess specific qualities that authors call inclusion competences. These allow people to face the challenges and the opportunities given by a diverse and integrating working environment.

Recruitment: the selection and recruitment of people with a different background - women, disabled and ethnic minorities - is a fundamental approach that let increase the degree of diversity in the organization. It is also necessary to select those candidates who share the desired values and show to master an inclusive behavior and competences.

Performance evaluation: if properly applied, the evaluation system of performances can be a fundamental instruments since it can stimulate the dialogue among workers and their superiors in order to establish a continuous learning process. Moreover it is necessary to develop evaluating instruments with regards to different cultures.

Development: the development phase provides a set of instruments, methods and processes applied to the different organizational levels - individual, group and organization - which permit to further develop the integration culture.

Reward and compensation: in such system , not only the developing measures but also the rewarding system derives from the performance evaluations. The rewarding system can be utilized as an additional method to reinforce integrity and integrating behavior among organization's members.

Culture and organizational culture

Culture is one of the principal forms of diversity in society. It is constituted by the set of way of thinking and acting of a specific community. These are the external and visible manifestation of a deeper set of values formed and consolidated in time. Culture determines the uniqueness of a human group as well as personality determines the uniqueness of an individual. (cox 1993).

Modern society as well as organizations encourage the meeting and the interaction of people, different from each other. In fact the new globalized economy favor the exchange of people coming from different countries and having a completely different cultural background.

It is necessary to specify that culture do not mean identity: these two concepts do not represent the same thing. Identity is the answer to the question - what do I belong to? (hofstede 2005). Identities are based on concepts and stereotypes linked to the most evident part of a culture, so not to the values - those elements that Hofstede calls symbol, heroes and rituals and Trompenaars explicit product of the culture.

Culture as a mental program: Hofstede's interpretation of culture which shows how culture is part of a greater mental programming.

Figura: levels of uniqueness

The three levels of mental programming are: human nature, culture and personality. Hofstede affirms that each person bring his way of thinking, feeling and acting, all learned during his life. Most of the individual's knowledge is learned during the childhood, this being the most important period to learn and absorb. Hofstede says that behavioral models learned in childhood are extremely difficult to remove.

Culture is also different from personality which is the personal set of mental programs of an individual and it is not shared with any other person. It is base on characteristics that are partially inherited and learned.

As already mentioned, Hofstede identifies four elements which characterize a culture: symbols, heroes, rituals and values. Thanks to an analogy, these elements can be represented as an onion layers in which the onion itself symbolize the culture. Symbols represent the outer layer which includes the most superficial and visible part of a culture, while values are the inner circle - the most implicit and hidden part.

Figura onion diagram

Symbols: they are the words, gestures and objects which have a particular meaning recognized only by those who belong to the same culture. New symbol can easily be created while the old ones disappear and moreover symbols are often copied by other cultural groups that is why they are in the outer circle.

Heroes: people, dead or alive, real or imaginary, who possess the characteristics appreciated in a particular culture and act as a behavioral models.

Rituals: they are collective activities realized in order to reach the desired purposes but considered as essential in the culture. Some examples are greeting gestures and social and religion ceremonies.

Values: they represents the most recondite and hidden element. They are the first thing children learn even if they do not know. The main characteristic of values is that they cannot be called into question neither by the group member nor by external people. Finally they can be deduced by the way people react in some circumstances.

Hofstede's model (2005): For those who work in international business it is sometimes difficult to understand the behavior of people belonging to different cultures. The widespread belief is that deep down all people are equal: in fact it is not. Therefore, if a person in a foreign country makes decisions coherent with his way of thinking and operating, typical of his culture, it is very probable that the decisions are incorrect.

Hofstede offers a way to study and understand the different cultures, highlighting the characteristics that identify each of them. He has conducted the most comprehensive study of how values ​​in the workplace are influenced by culture. From 1967 to 1973, while working at IBM as a psychologist, Hofstede collected and analyzed data from more than 100,000 individuals from seventy different countries.

Thanks to the results obtained in the research and following refinements, Hofstede has developed a model that identifies five main dimensions that characterize - so differentiate, cultures. These dimensions are:

1) Power Distance Index (PDI);

2) Individualism (IDV);

3) Masculinity (MAS);

4) Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI);

5) Long term orientation (LTO).

The results of this study may or may not be applicable to specific individuals or events. Moreover, even if the results of Hofstede are cataloged by country, often within a nation there is more than one cultural group. In this case there may be a significant deviation from the results of the study. Despite these limitations, the analysis of dimensions by Hofstede can help to understand the cultural differences within regions and between nations.


Indicates the degree of equality or inequality between people belonging to the real nation society. A high value of power distance index indicates that the inequities of power and wealth have been allowed in society. This kind of societies are more inclined to follow a caste system, which does not allow a significant upward mobility of their citizens. A low value of power distance indicates instead that society does not accentuate the differences between the power and the wealth of citizens. In such societies is given importance to equality and equal opportunities for all.

Individualism (IDV)

It is based on the level at which the society gives importance to individual or collective achievements and interpersonal achievements. A high value of individualism indicates that individuality and individual rights are dominant in society. The individuals that are part of this type of companies tend to form a large number of weak relationships. A low value of individualism is characteristic of a more collectivist society, consisting of closer ties between individuals. These types of culture are characterized by open families in which everyone takes responsibility for the members of the own group.

Masculinity (MAS)

It represents the degree to wh