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Handbook of Research in International Human Resource Management

Edited by Günter K. Stahl and Ingmar Björkman

In providing an insightful overview of a wide range of global human resource issues facing MNCs, this pathbreaking Handbook highlights emergent topics and new research findings that could shape the field of future IHRM research. Theoretical discussion of the variables and processes that affect IHRM policies and practices is provided by renowned contributors with widely differing academic backgrounds, paradigmatic orientations, and theoretical and methodological approaches.
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Chapter 12: Diversity Management

Joerg Dietz and Lars-Eric Petersen


Joerg Dietz and Lars-Eric Petersen Many companies have an increasingly diverse labour force as a result of demographic trends in the population, new legal regulations, changing societal norms and the globalization of business (Bhawuk, Podsiadlowski, Graf & Triandis, 2002). In the USA, for example, the proportion of Latino and Asian employees has grown substantially, and in nearly all industrialized countries women are increasingly represented in the workplace. Diversity management helps to cope with the consequences of a diverse workforce (for instance, an increased risk of conflict). It has been defined as ‘systematic and planned programs or procedures that are designed (a) to improve interaction among diverse people especially of different ethnicities, sexes or cultures and (b) to make this diversity a source of creativity, complementarity, and greater effectiveness’ (Stockdale & Crosby, 2004: 12). The importance of diversity management is related to the ‘business case’ for diversity. It links demographic diversity to bottom line results by drawing on three main arguments. First, there is an increasing shortage of qualified and talented staff in the knowledge economy; hence, organizations must exhaust all possible segments of the labour market, including minority employees, who traditionally have been underrepresented in most labour segments (with the exception of low-status work). Second, the demographic profile of customers is increasingly diverse (in particular with regard to ethnic diversity). The business principle of matching, which refers to the recruitment of applicants who fit the organization’s and its clients’ demographic profile, is seen as an...

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