Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Work
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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Work

A Research Companion

Edited by Mustafa F. Özbiligin

With over thirty chapters, this book offers a truly interdisciplinary collection of original contributions that are likely to influence theorization in the field of equality, diversity and inclusion at work.
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Chapter 25: Managing Diversity: The Virtue of Coercion

Alain Klarsfeld


Alain Klarsfeld* INTRODUCTION There are a variety of rationales for corporations to engage in diversity management practices (Mor-Barak, 2005). Two types of motivation are considered in this chapter. The first finds its roots in the neoclassic paradigm and the work of Gary Becker (1957), which states that fighting against discrimination is ‘rational’, that is, is economically sound for the company, as a more diverse workforce will draw on a larger pool of skills, and will be more creative, thus generating higher levels of performance. The second one is the institutional approach, which views organizational changes as responses to three types of institutional process: coercion, imitation and professional normalization. After a presentation of both rational and institutional frameworks, we provide data about managerial discourse regarding diversity and non-discrimination, followed by an analysis of multilevel institutional processes pressing for the adoption of diversity management and/or anti-discrimination practices in France and, where data are available, their effect. Our objective is thus to answer three questions: ● ● ● What is the gap between discourse and practice regarding motivation to adopt non-discrimination practices in France? Are voluntary and coercive processes at the various levels opposing or complementing each other? Which processes seem to meet with some ‘success’? THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK The Rational View of the Firm In this view, firms adopt practices that are best suited to their needs based on economic considerations, for reasons of internal efficiency. This 322 Managing diversity: the virtue of coercion 323 approach was first formalized by a neoclassical economist in the area...

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