Chapter 20

Diversity, Uniqueness, and Images of Human Resourcefulness

Bogdan Costea

Lancaster University


This chapter aims to broaden the horizon of inquiry into the relationship between gender (as a core contemporary point of debate) and work from a slightly indirect perspective (what ‘indirect’ means will be explained in the first section). I will seek to explore the way in which managerialism operates with various dimensions of what appears to make humans ‘unique’ (such as gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, and so on) and the imperatives of productive work as they have come to be conceived over the last three decades. The chronological overlap between the great emancipatory movements of the twentieth century, their translation into managerial terms such as ‘Diversity Management’, and the rise of a specific managerial vocabulary (crystallised most palpably under the label ‘Human Resource Management’) is not, I will argue, coincidental. My point is that a student of management and organisations who wants to understand how work is seen in relation to gender needs to develop a way of grasping the cultural affinities between different elements on the managerial agenda such as: gender (as a key dimension of identity), the relatively recent exaltation of workforce diversity, and what has come to count as human resourcefulness at a time when everybody is exhorted to be ‘unique’ in terms of ‘talent’, ‘creativity’, ‘knowledge’, etc. – in other words, to be ‘individual’, ...

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