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date: 17 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents a history of diversity management through the use of dichotomies that cross-cut the field. These are used as a framework to organize the evolution from equal opportunity policies and practices to managing diversity in organizations. We trace the shift from the social justice case for equality to the business case for managing diversity; from practitioners’ initiatives to academic research, from the US diversity discourse to many country contexts, from an emphasis on gender to ‘other’ demographic diversity dimensions, and from quantitative to qualitative research methodologies. The discussion demonstrates the complexity of combining historical and socio-political country contexts on organizational policies and practices. The resulting influences on an individual’s experiences of diversity management are as complex as are the partiality of theoretical explanations. We urge researchers to move beyond dualisms combining their strengths, to create transformative approaches. Altogether the continuing debates add to a vibrant field.

Keywords: managing diversity, history, equal opportunity, country context, dichotomies, methodologies

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