Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
The purpose of this study is to dig deeper into the perceptions regarding diversity - and the ambition to achieve increased such - among those who have participated in the Swedish Public Service diversity coach education. Furthermore, the aim is also to problematize, and increase the awareness of, different outlooks on diversity and its practical usage. All in all, ten so called “Zebra coaches” have been interviewed for this study. The empirical material has been analysed through a theoretical framework that problematizes the constructs of inequality, based on gender, ethnicity, race, class, etc., on different levels. The study shows that the motivation for engaging in work on organizational diversity partially can be connected with normative identity markers, such as ethnicity and functionality.
Being included in the normative community, often results in inequality and discrimination becoming invisible, due to not being subjected to it oneself. This is likely one part of the reason why diversity issues, among the coaches, is not primarily seen as something that could promote a positive change also for others, but rather as something that could mainly fulfil personal gains. When discrimination is viewed as existing somewhere else, and, therefore, not entirely relevant in to one owns situation, it can for some employees be hard to find any motivation whatsoever to engage in anti-discriminatory work and diversity issues. For those who do not inhabit the organizational norms, inequality is, on the other hand, clearly visible, which often leads to a personal motivation to work against such. The study also shows that the diversity education has not generated any bigger change in the informants’ ways of working, after having returned to their respective places of work. The engagement in, and outlook on, actions to promote diversity, is rather intertwined with whether or not the informants place of work targets minority or majority groups in its journalistic output. In order for diversity to be an integrated part of the diversity coaches’ work practices, a specific assignment to do so or a personal experience of inequality is needed.
Another interesting finding from the study is the multiple definitions of diversity that have been developed during the coach training. As a result, the informants are interpreting the concept of diversity in two opposing ways: one focusing on the physical differences that exist in certain groups, whereas the other definition focuses on internal differences that exist in all individuals. Diversity being viewed as individual differences among all people has partially been a new way of defining the concept, and this broader definition has had various consequences. Firstly, the diversity concept is now criticized for being too big to manage, and in some cases the uncertainly of what diversity is, and what it involves, has led to the feeling of “giving up on diversity”. Secondly, as a result of the training, the coaches tend to view diversity as finding individual differences in their own homogeneous work group, and not to broaden the group to be more versatile on a physical level.
The two different definitions of diversity can also help us understand the informants’ reflections about how greater diversity should be achieved practically, both within the organization, as well as in its journalistic output. Regarding recruitment, there are two main approaches on how to achieve diversity internally: on the one side, diversity is considered to be achieved by active actions that strive to recruit people who embody diversity, and on the other side, diversity is perceived as a natural consequence of meritocracy. Finally, the study also shows that monitoring mechanisms are used within public service, to ensure diversity is displayed in various programs/shows. The effort to show diversity outwards may result in hiding the internal homogeneity, which, according to the informants themselves, exists in the organization.
2012. , 69 p.
Mångfald, organisation, mångfaldsarbete, likabehandling, public service, intersektionalitet, normkritik