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 12: A Possible Brain Drain: Workplace Diversity and Equal Treatment in Sweden

Viktorija Kalonaityte, Pushkala Prasad and Adiam Tedros

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


Viktorija Kalonaityte, Pushkala Prasad and Adiam Tedros Introduction Workplace diversity and equal treatment in the case of Sweden is an uneven and seemingly contradictory terrain. Sweden has been proclaimed to have the best migration integration framework within the European Union, based on data from 2006. The Migration Integration Policy Index, a research-based evaluation of the member countries’ institutional and legal framework concerning migration integration, places Sweden as the exemplary case of best practice. Sweden is also the country with the besteducated taxi drivers. A recent report indicates that 44 per cent of taxi drivers in the third largest city in Sweden, Malmö, most of whom are foreign-born, have university education. Despite the high educational level, these taxi drivers have not yet been able to gain employment that reflects their academic vocation (Klapp et al., 2001). These two examples of Sweden’s successes and failures in relation to the phenomenon of migration integration are very suggestive of the realities and particularities of workplace diversity in Sweden. In the most immediate sense, we would like to draw attention to the salience of the category of ‘immigrant’ and the term ‘integration’ as key concepts in the Swedish definition of diversity. We would also like to point to one major issue in relation to diversity in Sweden, namely the discrepancy between diversity policy and diversity in practice. Indeed, as for example Swedish researcher Birgitta Ornbrant (2007) pointed out, the Migration Integration Policy Index 2006 may give a fair description of Sweden’s institutional framework, yet its...

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