International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work

International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work

Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment

Elgar original reference

Edited by Alain Klarsfeld

Managing and developing diversity is on the political and business agenda in many countries; therefore diversity management has become an area of knowledge and practice in its own right. Yet all too often it is referred to as a unifying concept, as if it were to be interpreted uniformly across all cultures and countries. The contributors to this volume expertly examine the relationship between diversity management and equality legislation within the different participating countries’ national contexts. They advocate that such separation and sequencing between equality at work and diversity management is far from natural.

Chapter 8: The Development of Diversity Management in the Italian Context: A Slow Process

Annalisa Murgia and Barbara Poggio

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour


Annalisa Murgia and Barbara Poggio1 1. Introduction In recent years the concepts of diversity and diversity management have spread in the public debate and the managerial lexicon in Italy as well. Various public and private organizations have launched projects that use this label or adopt this orientation. The main reasons for the diffusion of these concepts have been: (a) the growth of the multinationals and the spread of international cooperation agreements that imply intercultural management (Decastri, 1993; Ambrosini, 2001); (b) the progressive feminization of the labour market and the growing female presence in traditionally masculine sectors (Bombelli, 2000; Gherardi and Poggio, 2007); (c) the increasing importance of knowledge in organizations (Gherardi, 2006) and the diversification of organizational tasks; (d) the demands made by individuals of organizations regarding self-realization and a better balance between work and personal life (Piazza et al., 1999; Cuomo and Mapelli, 2007; Signorelli, 2007). Nevertheless, in comparison with other Western countries, in Italy the concrete implementation of diversity management practices in firms and organizations is still rather limited. It tends to focus on gender differences and often consists in circumscribed actions with scant efficacy with regard to the cultural change that should be the basis of such an approach. Our aim here is to conduct a reasoned analysis of diversity management in Italy, considering the situation of the Italian labour market, the legislative context, and the main schemes of organizational development undertaken in Italy by enterprises and consulting firms to enhance diversity. We shall try to show...

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