Ethnic Diversity Management In Theory And Practice

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Petra Aigner


Ethnic Diversity Management, Migration, Austria


Diversity Management (DM) has often been criticised as a double-edged sword, leading to competitive advantage such as acceleration of productivity or the retention of highly talented staff (Basset-Jones, 2005; Hanappi-Egger et al., 2007) but, in turn, fostering disadvantages such as inequality and discrimination (Lorbiecki & Jack, 2000; Wrench, 2007). DM can create misunderstandings, conflicts in work groups, poor communication, absenteeism, and loss of competitiveness, specifically in regard to ethnic minority management (Brock & Sanchez, 1996; Pitts et al., 2010; Ingram, 2011).

This article will identify theories of diversity management practices with a focus on ethnic diversity management, using examples from Austria as a framework for this analysis. The article aims to provide answers towards an important research question - how are theoretically conceived models of ethnic DM implemented in practice within organisations, and how are such practices, measures and their results seen and rated by those involved and affected? HRM managers as the employers agents of DM and their employees as concerned recipients of DM practices are analysed together in this study. The empirical findings are based on an explorative case study in Austria, comparing employer and employee experiences and analysing experiences of majority and minority members of the workforce. The article concludes with specific recommendations for the improvement of ethnic diversity management.


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