Defining Diversity: Professionals and Institutionalization Processes
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CitationVican, Shawna Bowden. 2015. Defining Diversity: Professionals and Institutionalization Processes. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation is a qualitative study of the field of corporative diversity management, based on in-depth interviews with diversity managers and human resource managers at 87 firms across the United States. My work considers both the formal policies and practices that constitute the building blocks of an organization’s diversity management strategy, but also the cognitive elements of the institution, or how diversity management is defined, theorized and legitimated by actors within firms. Throughout the dissertation I focus on acts of institutional maintenance, arguing that behind the seeming stability of the institution of diversity management, diversity and HR professionals within organizations are engaged in constant acts of institutional maintenance. These acts of institutional maintenance have several consequences. First, acts to strengthen and maintain institutions can in fact lead to incremental, bottom-up institutional change, blurring the theoretical distinction between acts of institutional creation and maintenance. Second, acts of institutional maintenance can also lead to unintended consequences. Thus not all acts of institutional maintenance succeed in strengthening the institution. Finally, acts of institutional maintenance can buffer institutions from the tendency to be ceremonially adopted but decoupled from daily organizational activity. My dissertation also sheds light on the challenges of sustained organizational change, as I identify several strategies used by relatively low-power diversity managers to successfully overcome barriers to practice implementation.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:14226058
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