Engaging with (Diversity) Management: An Analysis of Minority Employees' Agency
35 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2005
This study analyses how minority employees engage with (diversity) management to construct their organizational identities and, by so doing, comply with, accommodate and/or resist managerial control. Differently from most studies of diversity as a discourse, which consider diversity discourses as direct forms of control, we approach diversity as an identity-regulating discourse, controlling minority employees indirectly by offering them specific organizational identities. Further, these identity-regulating discourses combine with the specific material structure of the organization, creating a particular mix of direct and indirect control. We analyze four minority employees' identities in two organizations, a technical drawing company and a hospital. We show that minority employees actively engage, as agents, with both types of control, which constrain them but also open up possibilities for resistance, and even forms of (micro-)emancipation. The paper contributes to the reconceptualization of diversity as an identity-regulating discourse and to the further theorization of identity regulation and emancipation.
Keywords: Diversity, Agency, Materiality, Resistance, Control, Emancipation
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