Managing Diversity in Chinese and Indian Organizations: a Qualitative Study

In: Business and Management

Submitted By amemesa
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Managing diversity in Chinese and Indian organizations: a qualitative study
Fang Lee Cooke
Department of Management, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, and


Debi S. Saini
Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, India
Purpose – This paper aims to investigate diversity management (DM) practices in China and India by analyzing formal DM policy (if one exists) adopted by the company and informal DM practices adopted by managers. It also aims to discuss the appropriateness of the US-originated notion of, and approach to, managing diversity in the Indian and Chinese contexts by exploring how local managers make sense of diversity and manage it in a pragmatic way. Design/methodology/approach – The authors adopted a qualitative approach. In particular, through a semi-structured interview design, qualitative data were collected from 16 Chinese and Indian middle and senior managers and four human resources (HR) director of regional headquarters of foreign multinational firms. The data were supplemented by secondary data from a wide range of sources, including government reports and media coverage to extend contextual understanding. Findings – The paper reveals that most Chinese organizations do not see DM as an issue. Where exists, its focus is on conflict avoidance rather than value-addition to the business. In contrast, managing diversity in India is of greater significance for firms, both legally and financially. Compared with their Chinese counterparts, the Indian managers are much more familiar with the notion of diversity. They are more informed and articulate about diversity issues in their country and organization. DM as a softer approach to human resource management (HRM) has yet to feature as an espoused HR strategy in…...

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