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Philosophische Fakultät - Jahrgang 2011

 

Titel Corporate Diversity Management in Multinational Companies in Singapore. Lost in Translation?
Autor Sarah Meinert
Publikationsform Dissertation
Abstract The research deals with the concept of workforce diversity management that has gained popularity in recent years because of increasing diversification of employees, customers, markets and stakeholders. In this context, diversity is conceptualized as an asset that helps companies to be more productive and efficient due to different views, ideas, personalities, knowledge, values and so on. Despite the abstraction of the promoted benefits that fosters the concepts dissemination on global level, it is still influenced by and rooted in US perspective and experiences. Hence it is debatable if the concept as such is applicable to other contexts as well since it might has different meanings and significance in different locations.
Considering this background the central research question is how two subsidiaries of multinational companies and its actors interpret, translate, adapt and implement the globally available concept of workforce diversity management against the Singaporean business background with its particular social practices, frameworks and institutions. The research is based upon mainly qualitative data and is theoretically embedded in the new institutional theory.
One important result of the research is that despite the multiple diversity found in Singapore workforce diversity management does not necessarily constitute a business imperative as implied by the (popular) rhetoric. The concept is – if at all – only selectively translated, the local business context and the different supply and labor demands of the different companies constitute the main framework for its translation and implementation. The interpretation and translation activities are carried out by organizational actors who determine the meaning, definition and understanding of the concept. These construction processes are influenced by various factors such as internal support, implementation capacities and the Singaporean institutional environment with its different regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive institutions. Furthermore it became apparent that the external presentations regarding diversity management are different from the companies' internal translations and activities. One reason for these inconsistencies are the companies' aim to gain and maintain legitimacy by conforming to rationalized beliefs regarding diversity management and its benefits.
Right now the concept's degree of institutionalization is rather low. Diversity management seems to be some kind of tool box out of which certain measurements are adopted that fit the local context without translating the concept as a whole. Consequently, diversity management remains a management fashion in the Singaporean context whose selective translation blur the boundaries between diversity management and other management concepts like talent management.
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© Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Bonn | Veröffentlicht: 24.11.2011