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Handbook of Gender, Work, and Organization by Patricia Yancey Martin, David Knights,, Emma L Jeanes

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Chapter 19

Diversity in Organizations: A Critical Examination of Assumptions about Diversity and Organizations in Twenty-first Century Management Literature

Vedran Omanović, PhD

The School of Business, Economics and Law at The University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Background

Several scholars claim that diversity management first emerged in the US in the early 1990s (e.g. Nkomo and Cox, 1996; Pringle and Scowcroft, 1996; Lynch, 1997; Prasad and Mills, 1997; Kelly and Dobbin, 1998; Ivancevich and Gilbert, 2000; Lorbiecki and Jack, 2000; Lorbiecki, 2001; Ashkanasy et al., 2002; Zanoni and Janssens, 2004; Janssens and Zanoni, 2005; Omanović, 2006, 2009). The US movement against racial discrimination of the 1960s is often cited as the cause of the subsequent focus on diversity in the workplace (e.g. Thomas, 1990; Ashkanasy et al., 2002; Omanović, 2009). This movement challenged occupational segregation in US companies and organizations and led to their adoption of affirmative action programs that promoted equal employment opportunity.

The main proponents of workplace diversity in the US are/were human resource managers, workplace consultants, and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Affirmative Action (AA) specialists. In response to the dramatic curtailment of the administrative enforcement of workplace diversity by unsympathetic national administrations, EEO/AA specialists replaced legal arguments for EEO/AA programmes with efficiency arguments aimed at managing diversity (Kelly and ...

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