Sustaining future business growth: a qualitative study of diversity management in a Swedish state-owned company
Due to large influx of migrants along with a declining rate of native Swedes in working age, corporations are devoting more time and resources for diversity management today. While much attention has been directed towards the gender equality aspect of diversity, less attention has been given to the management of employees with diverse ethnicities and/or nationalities, hence the cultural aspect of diversity. This qualitative case study aims to contribute to the research field on diversity management in Swedish businesses in general but more specifically how the Swedish state-owned company Svevia is working with cultural diversity, identified as a strategic premise in order to assure future business survival. Through semi-structured interviews with employees at all organizational levels, a thorough understanding has been achieved of how Svevia works with diversity management and how the organizational culture allows for cultural diversity to thrive. A range of theoretical perspectives are combined in the for this study established conceptual framework, a framework which has enabled this study to provide an understanding of how an organization as a whole system, and not just fragments of organization, operationalize diversity management. Focus was given to study the processes that underlie the translation towards an intended more diverse workforce and the shape this process takes within the company. The results show that the processes through which information is being transferred within the organization, allowing for a flexibility that enables the company to evolve influenced by society’s constantly shifting demands. Svevia’s management efforts in the area of cultural diversity is not as well developed as that of gender equality. This, in a combination with a rather fragmented organizational culture indicates that there is still room for improvement regarding Svevia’s work with cultural diversity. Svevia, continues to be rather homogenous when it comes to the composition of its workforce, not reflecting the society in which they operate even though measures have been taken. However, if the increased commitment for cultural diversity continues, Svevia will most likely face the growth of diversity in the Swedish labor market, with more ease than companies who do not take measures to improve the organizational culture to become more including and welcoming.
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