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date: 17 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Because issues of workplace diversity are strongly affected by historical power relations, this chapter adopts a postcolonial perspective to critically review the notion of multiculturalism that underlies the current paradigm of diversity. To search for alternative grounds for the theoretical development of diversity management, multiculturalism is investigated as an instrument of control deeply connected to broader institutionalized power structures. Drawing on key insights from postcolonialism, it is argued that embracing multiculturalism has resulted in diversity research that is inappropriate for addressing the complex realities of cultural encounters in which identities and otherness are constructed in contemporary organizations. The chapter demonstrates that by relying on multiculturalism, diversity becomes presented through simplistic and fixed categorizations of identity and culture that reinforce inequalities. Stressing the importance of considering culture from a new perspective, and an alternative approach for theorizing cultural diversity through the concept of the third space is introduced.

Keywords: diversity management, cultural diversity, multiculturalism, otherness, postcolonialism, third space

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