Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment
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Edited by Alain Klarsfeld
Chapter 8: The Development of Diversity Management in the Italian Context: A Slow Process
8 The development of diversity management in the Italian context: a slow process 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...
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