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Workforce Diversity, Society and Interpretive Traditions


The importance of fostering a diverse society has thus been elevated to the forefront of several academic disciplines, such as management and society organizational studies. Early diversity theories were grounded in humanistic concerns about valuing cultural differences rather than imposing integration, in contrast to the previous dominant stance. Many proponents of a business-oriented agenda used the term “Diversity Management” to promote their agenda. It has been found that managing diversity helps to make a case for equal employment opportunities. A growing backlash against affirmative action and quotas to address discrimination drew practitioners to the conference. One final and potentially productive way to support the liberal agenda for equality for all. Diversity Management, focusing on business efficiency, competitive advantage, and commercial success, quickly eclipsed all other approaches to discrimination. So, as a result, some critical writings on diversity have lost their social justice motivation.

This research aims to answer an important question: whether or not too much emphasis has been placed on the ‘business case,’ given the skepticism surrounding the actual commercial benefits of diversity management. When anti-discrimination advocates are reduced to business cases, the fear is that any failure to achieve commercial benefits will condemn the whole program. As a result, the case for managing diversity should be reexamined from a social justice perspective. One way we did this was to examine the various methodological and analytical structures employed in diversity studies. Instead of simply focusing on making diversity “pay” or limiting diversity practices to their purely commercial potential for managers, an alternative approach is needed. It is found that the literature could be divided into several categories based on the epistemological and methodological frames applied during our research. As an example, it was discovered that most studies could be classified into three broad frameworks. Positivism, the dominant theoretical framework, says that social research is just the next logical step in discovering and achieving.

For meaning to be quantified, it must be understood in terms of interpreting various factors, categories, and variables. Although positivist research predominates, both positivist and positivist research traditions are represented in most studies on Diversity Management. Both the natural science model and interpretive research tendencies to remain descriptive and apolitical are rejected by the critical tradition of critical thought. Critical research, unlike some interpretivism, refuses to remain politically neutral to create variables that can be causally analyzed (Yang, 2020). Therefore, critical research is indifferent to Diversity Management’s emphasis on the business case. Many variations can be found in each framework and suggestions are presented here. Reconstructing social and institutional structures can find new theories and methods for analyzing social diversity. Individuals rather than groups are valued for their unique qualities rather than as ‘objects’ for management. To emphasize and celebrate difference, some theorists deny the importance of focusing on group identity, let alone gender or racial identity. As a result, they are wary of assigning essential importance to something that many people share at the expense of their individuality.

Search Methodology

As a preventative measure, we are working to advance embodiments of difference and diversity that do not generalize based on gender, ethnicity, or any other form of bias. There can be similarities and differences in a wide range of aspects of one’s life simultaneously. One or more dimensions, such as race, can be shared, but gender can be minimized. According to intersection theory, when multiple dimensions intersect, the discriminatory impact can be exponential and greater than the sum of its parts.

Between the turn of the century and 2021, several empirical studies of societal diversity were published in peer-reviewed journals. The following databases were searched, and the following results were obtained: Science Direct, Scopus, and Science Topics are just a few of the resources available. The most frequently used search terms were diverse organizations, diversity in society, and how to manage diversity in society. About 250 results were received when starting the search, which was about average. The research discovered that numerous articles about medicine, the arts, and technology were utterly irrelevant to the goals.

As a result, to narrow the search scope, it is convenient to concentrate on articles and empirical studies that discussed “diversity in organizations.” About one hundred articles were chosen. The following is a breakdown of the primary theoretical and methodological focuses of the articles and the research they are supporting (Potvin, 2020). The interpretation is influenced by the prior readings and knowledge of the reviewed literature and the “engagement.” It is customary in organizational studies to begin by conducting a literature review to identify the various frameworks for analysis and the epistemological and methodological foundations that underpin each framework. In addition, several authors have classified various approaches to gender and organizational issues. A lot of attention has been paid to the issue of rural-to-urban migration and the resulting economic, social, and demographic changes. Research into demographics and social transitions has yielded important findings, and those findings have allowed them to better manage the growth of their population. Efforts must be made to address population growth, which is a major and growing issue.

Government policymakers, on the other hand, are unable to focus their attention on this issue because of a lack of relevant literature (Healey et al. 2019). On top of everything else, the government has taken no steps to keep track of civil movements. While this may not seem like much of an issue at first, it becomes even more so when considering the country’s current political and religious uncertainty. Among other things, the findings of this study will help to identify the socio-cultural effects of urban sprawl and predict its future trends. Following an investigation into social settings and diversity, it has been discovered that there is a diverse range of political perspectives represented. Using the paradigmatic differences identified between a “sociology of regulation” (also known as “functionalism”) and a “sociology of radical change” (also known as “multiculturalism”), we can distinguish between the two approaches in this study (radical structuralism). There are two approaches to rethinking and adjusting one’s response to differences, according to this point of view.

Positivity Traditions Social Diversity Concepts

Instead of believing that only revolution can bring about social change, the functionalist perspective believes that problem-solving and consensus-building within the confines of existing authority and control can bring about social change (Yang, 2020). This project will identify the interlocking demographic, political, economic, and scholarly turning points that have occurred in recent years. Finally, the study investigates how diversity is depicted in literature, with a particular emphasis on how it is depicted in society. When considered as a whole, diversity in management research focuses on “diverse societies” and the many different characteristics and dimensions they represent (such as race and ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, and national origin). In addition to “achieved buyer-seller relationships” and “goal orientation,” the article discusses such topics as “improving decision-making and problem-solving abilities.” It is common to refer to “deep-level diversity” when discussing the concept of “diversity,” which encompasses a wide range of factors such as personality, information, attitudes, values, and differences between foreign and domestic businesses.

These studies’ primary goal is to determine how specific diversity characteristics/dimensions can benefit organizations and businesses. According to many researchers, people use cognitive categories to set themselves and others apart from one another under their shared social identity or classifications (Janssens et al. 2021). Similarity/attraction and uncertainty reduction are also used in this study. Homogeneity in teams and workgroups is generally considered more productive than heterogeneity because people cooperate better with similar ones. People’s natural tendency to feel more comfortable around people they know is mistakenly linked to a fear of difference. The concept of information and decision-making has also influenced this research. Disparities among team members and an open diversity climate are generally considered to positively impact organizations, contrary to the findings of the preceding study. As a result of these differences in knowledge, experience, and perspective, businesses are expected to benefit from having a diverse workforce. According to positivist researchers, diversity in the workplace can have both positive and negative effects.

Having a diverse workforce can help spur new ideas, but it can also create tensions. They use context-based and configurational approaches to study the effects of gender diversity in the management ranks on firm performance concerning new and non-routine assignments. A company’s strategic orientation, organizational culture, and mutual interaction are all factors that influence how gender diversity affects management. The research adopts a “deep level diversity” perspective from a socially shared cognition perspective. Many researchers have argued that how team members “think” about the team and its tasks affects their interactions and how they perform their duties. It means that a person’s level of commitment is more closely tied to how mentally they perceive the task than to its homogeneity or diversity. The term “diversity” refers to a general concept and a collection of more specific or related concepts for this research. As a corrective technology, it is of particular interest to organizations. Changes in organizational climate and individual composition, behavior, and attitudes are likely to have positive (economic) effects if management alters the interpersonal structure and opens the organizational climate to diversity. Positive research is also being done in human resources, such as gender and age differences in hiring and sales training (Yang, 2020).

To generalize findings of how diversity management can improve organizational performance is a common motivation for future research recommendations. Thus, diversity management is assumed to be universally applicable regardless of time, location, or local context. A different approach describes how diversity management has evolved in the studied contexts by drawing on descriptions of recent discussions. These researchers appear to have a static view of the contextual factors, even though it is beneficial to understand better the starting points for diversity management in these specific social contexts. As facts, they are regarded as unchanging rather than opinions (Janssens et al. 2021). The development of a “diverse workforce” and various work arrangements that are more welcoming of diversity practices are two other areas of research that have been investigated. Social research can mimic natural science by identifying quantifiable independent and dependent variables to produce causal analyses that can be used to develop practices that facilitate the orderly functioning of a healthy society, according to the research examined thus far. Positive and functionalist thinking underpins this approach. Hundreds or even thousands of participants are surveyed for these scientific purposes.

Society and Diversity Interpretive Traditions Research

A combination of interviews, observations, and secondary data may also be used when survey results do not accurately reflect respondents’ views on various issues. Multiple, hierarchical, and logistical regressions are some of the techniques researchers use to analyze the results of testing their hypotheses. Studies like these give researchers ideas for future research that builds on what they’ve learned so far while filling in any knowledge gaps. Content-related communication and job satisfaction are lower among people of color. Longitudinal research is needed to understand the interrelationships between these variables better. As a result of their shared emphasis on the consequences of diversity, positivism and interpretivism have a great deal in common. Cultural and technological diversity, as well as the effects of religious diversity, are all being investigated by researchers in the context of a diverse society’s migratory aspects. The research is primarily concerned with virtual team experimentation. Interpretive research, like positivist-inspired studies, is motivated to fill gaps in the existing body of knowledge in a particular field. These gaps in knowledge can serve as the basis for developing research questions. Researchers have been perplexed by the lack of empirical evidence demonstrating a link between cultural diversity and effectiveness in their research (Yang, 2020). In addition, both traditions have a tendency to concentrate on managerial issues and the lives of executives in their respective organizations, which is the third point of comparison.

Positivity Traditions Social Diversity Concepts

As part of their research, interpretive-oriented researchers discuss managing workforce diversity, preventing conflicts, and improving team cohesion. There are significant differences between positive and interpretative research methodologies. Those who research diversity use a variety of theoretical frameworks to guide their investigations (Healey et al. 2019). For example, studies into how hospital administrators view age as an employee attribute, studies into the relationship between diversity and team effectiveness, and an examination of how expatriate managers cope with working in ethnically diverse settings are all examples of this type of research. The economic production system, according to Marx, is the primary cause of social inequality. There is a lot to be learned from looking at how society creates and distributes its resources. People in an agricultural society use land, plows, and draft animals to cultivate their land and harvest their crops. A modern industrial society’s means of production include businesses like factories and railroads, which Max Weber argues were overly focused on inequality by Marx. To him, there was a wide range of other factors that contributed to inequality that went beyond one’s position concerning the means of production. By dividing social stratification into three distinct components, Weber added to Marx’s analysis of inequality.

Society and Diversity Interpretive Traditions Research

Instead of documenting and studying people’s perceptions, understandings, and interpretations of diversity, the interpretive traditions are more interested in documenting and studying people’s interpretations of diversity, making sense of diversity, and making sense of diversity than the positivist traditions. They conduct their investigations using a combination of the participant and nonparticipant observation, in-depth and open-ended interviews, as well as archival documents and a variety of other interview techniques, for the vast majority of the time. When selecting interview subjects for this study, the technique known as “snowballing” was used to narrow the pool of candidates (Janssens et al. 2021). To conduct interviews, they employ open-ended questions that are derived from their research questions and a review of the relevant literature. Following that, various coding techniques are used to separate the empirical data so that it can be further analyzed and interpreted. To identify and eliminate statements that “seize the invariant components” of a phenomenon or reduce the number of essential terms and subcategories in a phenomenon, coding techniques can be used in conjunction with other techniques (De Costa 305).

Society and Diversity: Critical Traditions Research

Additional informants are not required in interpretational research studies because the researchers do not assert that their findings are generalizable to the general public. In this particular instance, the emphasis is on analytical or theoretical explanations. A lack of critical tradition in the literature on diversity in organizations is a significant problem, especially when compared to positivism/functionalism and interpretative tradition. There is no doubt that scholars in this field are becoming increasingly interested in critical traditions, particularly discursive ones. The critical, discursive tradition and the critical-dialectic tradition were two critical perspectives. There are some similarities between the interpretative tradition(s) and these two traditions, such as the belief that diversity is a social construct. Still, the interpretative tradition(s) and these two traditions are fundamentally different from each other. In addition, there are significant differences between critical discourse studies and critical dialectic studies ((De Costa 305). Research has only taken on a discursive perspective since the linguistic turn in social science. Because social reality is always interpreted through language, discursive practices have to be the primary focus of the investigation.

A strong emphasis on interpersonal interactions, rather than institutional or organizational relationships, has been a significant influence on social psychology. As a fourth and related consequence, it neglects to consider how power and knowledge relations shape discourse and subjectivities that reflect and reproduce oppressive systems. In the beginning, the critical discursive approach questioned the tendency of Diversity Management to deflect attention away from the power inequalities associated with different dimensions of diversity. One of the main goals of critical discursive research is uncovering the inherent contradictions and inconsistencies in dominant narratives and discursive practices by questioning these underlying assumptions. However, the critical discursive approach generates three main arguments against discourse analysis when carrying out diversity research. First, it has adopted a positivist and “predetermined” theory about identity, which assumes the existence of an “objective” characteristic of the subject that can be measured.

Numerous studies have been conducted in various countries, and the results show that different cultures approach and view diversity in different ways, as do the interventions they employ. Some significant discrepancies between national identities and globalization strategies are discovered in diversity management initiatives, and concepts are developed to address these discrepancies. This study aims to demonstrate the effects of society’s institutionalized discourse on gender equality on “diversity management. A study found that an initiative to introduce multicultural skills’ for executive officers benefited ethnic minorities because they were often perceived as culturally in tune but did not require specific training. Although female officers considered interpersonal and communication skills less demanding, the police department recognized the importance of police work and challenged gender inequality. As a result, they did not consider that these practices could perpetuate or exacerbate inequalities related to race, gender, and sexual orientation despite the intended benefits.

All discursive approaches emphasize the importance of language and communication informing any phenomenon. An investigation into how organizations implement diversity initiatives found that without such communications, the existence of inequality around diversity would be unavoidable, and intervention to mitigate or eliminate its adverse effects would be impossible. Another point to keep in mind is that organizations should not rely solely on the “business case” when promoting diversity initiatives to the general public. Though Diversity Management can often provide moral support from a distance, it can also fail to address “some of the more contentious and uncomfortable aspects of social diversity,”, particularly power relations. Racist ideologies were reinforced in the social setting through a ‘commodity diversity’ poster, which generated visual images that elicited racist ideas. Some feared that the shift to discourse would marginalize examining images, which could be just as conducive to structural inequalities as any other means of communication. It is important to note, however, that not all critical discursive theorists have a negative view of Diversity Management, even when it comes to the “business case.”

Though there were many unanswered questions, the study found that the potential conflicts between moral and business concerns could be resolved in the non-profit sector by employing a diverse society while maintaining a “commitment to social justice.” As a brief review of critical discourse studies shows, the methodological approach is distinct from non-discursive (such as the positivist and interpretative traditions) and discursive research on diversity in organizations. When it comes to critical dialectical tradition, this is also the case. It was Hegel’s philosophical discourse, with its dialectical view that thesis and antithesis are resolved in a synthesis that incorporates the most positive elements of both, that provided the impetus for some parts of the critical tradition in a perfect reconciliation of historically obdurate and unyielding conflict. A dialectical approach would seem to be the most appropriate framework for research into diverse perspectives, given the amount of conflict and opposition that inequality around diversity fosters and fabricates.

An emphasis on the dynamics of organizational change, explaining how institutional contradictions create space for organizational changes, and providing insight into role shifts as processes that encompass both institutional embeddedness and transformational agency have been and continue to be employed in organizational studies. Within the context of everyday organizational life, corporate culture is understood as a form of hegemony, and mutually constitutive processes shape collaborations between for-profit and non-profit organizations. Alternative practices and praxes to current structures of dominance are an ambitious goal of dialectical-inspired studies. Research on diversity and its management has also utilized the critical dialectical perspective. Studies like this build on previous discursive studies, but they also go above and beyond them at critical points in development. An effort is made to develop further the dialectical reasoning concerning the research on diversity and its management that is currently ongoing. As demonstrated in two social-historical contexts, diversity and management are mediated by social-historical relationships that reflect the ongoing construction but are neither fixed realities nor immune to human intervention and change.

This study focused on how “diversity” is created and accepted in society and how these ideas eventually become accepted norms. Furthermore, as this research shows, the validity of such ideas can also be questioned because they are based on preliminary and changeable choices between “accepted” and alternative (though suppressed) ideas about, and interests in, diversity. An ethnographic methodology was used in both studies to examine the idea of an interest in diversity (and its management) as a critical-dialectical and social-historical process. For example, a focus on diversity in terms of oppression and dominance and an orientation critical of power relations are incorporated into this methodology. These research findings drew on various research methods, including archival investigation, ethnographic interviews, and in-depth participation observations. Socially constructed processes such as critical discursive tradition studies are viewed and studied as socially constructed processes that have strong incitements towards a business rather than a human rights rationale.

In the same way, diversity and management are studied as socially constructed processes. The significance of historically constructed dominance and subordination relations, which have specific consequences for specific groups of people, such as women, is also highlighted in both critical perspectives. In contrast to critical dialectical studies, discursive studies frequently fail to understand how production processes over specific interests are formed and maintained through organizational events unfolding over time. Discourse studies, for example, tend to rely heavily on interviews and documents rather than direct observation, which could explain this. There have been studies that challenge and focus critical attention on managerial discourses but ignore actual relational dynamics in the social setting, reinforcing rather than challenging inequalities and discrimination at work through power/knowledge relations (Healey et al. 2019).

In contrast, the focus of critical dialectical research is on the past and present activities and discourses of organizations. Instead of making assumptions about how the process will unfold, the focus is on bringing about change within the organization. Only a tiny portion of this collection of critical perspectives addresses the potential for new, emancipatory, and transformative organizational forms (Healey et al. 2019). Critical perspectives on diversity in organizations argue that future research should focus more on marginalized actors. They are often identified as the subjects of diversity rather than the marginalized actors themselves. The more radical and embodied approaches to diversity that have emerged from other body philosophies should be considered when conducting such research, as we are currently attempting to do.


Research methods that adhere to a wide range of approaches have been critically examined and challenged concerning the assumptions they frequently employ, either explicitly or implicitly. Furthermore, most research on diversity in organizations has been less concerned with disrupting than re-creating the preconditions for creating diversity in organizations (and society) as a problem that should be addressed. Although mainstream management approaches may be less likely to question how diversity discourses produce knowledge, it is found that even critical approaches can be just as guilty of reproducing the conditions of possibility of disadvantage and discrimination as mainstream management approaches. They often fail to challenge the assumptions about subjectivity that allow their representations to be possible and proclivity for reproducing linear, disembodied, and dualistic representations of diversity when conducting critical studies (Potvin, 2020). Summing up the research, migration activities and trends must be influenced by theories and aspects that surround the activity concepts relating to changes in lifestyles.


De Costa, Peter I. “Toward greater diversity and social equality in language education research.” Critical Inquiry in Language Studies 15.4 (2018): 302-307. Web.

Healey, Joseph F., and Andi Stepnick. Diversity and society: Race, ethnicity, and gender. Sage Publications, 2019.

Janssens et al., Maddy, and Patrizia Zanoni. “Making diversity research matter for social change: New conversations beyond the firm.” Organization Theory 2.2 (2021): 26317877211004603. Web.

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StudyKraken. "Workforce Diversity, Society and Interpretive Traditions." January 19, 2023.


StudyKraken. 2023. "Workforce Diversity, Society and Interpretive Traditions." January 19, 2023.


StudyKraken. (2023) 'Workforce Diversity, Society and Interpretive Traditions'. 19 January.

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