Diversity management and innovation in Swedish tech companies : An exploratory study about the understanding of diversity management

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Abstract: Background: Diversity as a topic is interesting as the world is becoming more globalized and the opportunities related to having a diverse workforce are compelling. Much research has been made on diversity management and its impact on companies, but in contrast there is limited research in the Swedish tech industry. Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to study the understanding of diversity management within Swedish tech companies and if this could be related to innovation. We apply this research of diversity by looking at it from the context of ethnicity, gender, age and culture. Method: For this thesis we use a qualitative research strategy as we wish to gain in-depth knowledge from managers within Swedish tech companies. Using an exploratory research design, this study sheds light to the current state of diversity within tech companies in Sweden. Through semi structured interviews with seven managers from five tech companies in Sweden, we gain insights from the organizational level of how diversity management is understood and if there is a link to innovation. Using a grounded analysis to interpret the collected primary data, we have identified emerging themes that we use to draw conclusions. Findings: We have identified four emerging themes surrounding the empirical data collected. These are; (1) The understanding of diversity and innovation, (2) Managers point of view on the importance of diversity (3) Diversity’s impact on innovation, and (4) Diversity’s impact on company performance. In conjunction with many authors mentioned in this thesis, we also conclude that diversity can have a positive impact on companies. We find that there is a great understanding of diversity within tech companies as well as a positive attitude from managers towards diversity management. We cannot however identify nor confirm that there are any links between diversity management and innovation. We do instead find that a diverse workforce is an important contribution to company performance, and we identify links related to increased innovation capabilities and processes.

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