Organizational knowledge and discourse of diversity in employment

McVittie, Chris and McKinlay, Andy and Widdicombe, S (2008) Organizational knowledge and discourse of diversity in employment. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 21 (3). pp. 348-366. ISSN 09534814

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Purpose - Evidence suggests that the notion of diversity in employment has failed to meet expectations of increased inclusion and organizational competitiveness in an ever-changing and globalizing economic context. This paper aims to consider the use of language of diversity in an organizational context. Design/methodology/approach - Using discourse analysis, the paper examines data obtained from semi-structured interviews conducted with human resources managers and personnel managers. Participants' descriptions of diversity in relation to one particular group of (potential) employees, namely older jobseekers, are analysed for their function and effects in relation to organizational knowledge and practices. Findings - Diversity in employment provides organizational managers with a resource that can more usefully be viewed as linguistic than as knowledge based. Its use offers organizations a means of accounting for existing practices and should not be taken to signal commitment to organizational change. Originality/value - Work that has treated discourse of diversity as evidence of efforts to promote inclusion and competitiveness has failed to consider fully the effects of language use. A focus on language as action in its own right shows how diversity in employment as used accomplished outcomes that are totally divergent from the usually assumed benefits of diversity. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Diversification; Older workers; Organizations
Divisions: School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management > Psychology and Sociology
Date Deposited: 13 May 2009 14:02
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2017 15:38


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