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Cultural diversity in organizations: A study on the view and management on cultural diversity
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Cultural diversity is a subject that has been getting growing attention not just internationally but also in Sweden in the 21st century. The globalization of economies and the migration has dramatically increased opportunities while also affecting organizations in a manner that it requires it to be more open and accommodative towards a heterogeneous working environment. Unfortunately many companies do not see the advantages that cultural diversity could bring and how a well managed cultural diversity could essentially achieve competitive edge in the market. Therefore there is little to be found regarding how organizations today view and manage a culturally diverse workforce, especially in a Swedish working environment. The lack of this typeof research in a Swedish context creates a possible research gap and leads to this study ininvestigating the organizations in Västerbotten and their view and management of cultural diversity. Thus the research question: How do Swedish organizations view and manage cultural diversity?

In order to gain insights to this question, previous research has been investigated and some main theories have been selected. Through this it has been found that cultural diversity is a complex subject that can bring both positive and negative effects to an organization. These are in turn affecting how cultural diversity is viewed by that organization. Furthermore, this view affects how cultural diversity is managed, and the management in turn affects the result this concept brings to the company. This in turn has been represented in a theoretical model representing the relationship between these concepts. The main theory that is used throughout thenstudy and in analyzing the empirical data is Adler’s approaches to answer the research question.

This study takes view of interpretivism and constructionism as its philosophical stance. This has led to the choice of conducting a qualitative research approach with mixed method that is a combination of both the deductive and inductive way of collecting data. The research is conducted through multiple case study design with semi structured interviews as the way of gaining empirical data. These interviews have been conducted on seven organizations within Västerbotten that represents different types of industries within this region.

As it is shown in this study the cultural diversity is viewed in a positive way and managed to achieve synergy within the organizations in Västerbotten. The firms believe that in order to develop and gain competitive advantage, they need to accommodate cultural diversity and create an atmosphere that is open and flexible. Still most of the firms lack the holistic view as they fail to articulate diversity at the strategic level and consequently in all dimensions of the organization.In addition the study has also identified different influential factors of cultural diversity, such as the geographical location, organizational culture, cultural diversity leading to cultural diversity, customers’ diversity and managers’ perspectives affects the existence of cultural diversity within an organization. These findings have been presented in the developed analytical model in the conclusion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Cultural diversity, Effects of cultural diversity, views on cultural diversity, managing cultural diversity
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-74452OAI: diva2:634168
Educational program
Master's Programme in Management
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2013-07-03 Created: 2013-06-28 Last updated: 2013-07-03Bibliographically approved

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