Benevolent Discrimination: How HR Managers Reproduce Ethnic Discrimination with Diversity Initiative

Laurence Romani, Lotte Holck, Annette Risberg

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportKonferenceabstrakt i proceedingsForskningpeer review


This case study illustrates how the voluntary engagement of the HR personnel into diversity initiatives targeting migrants inscribe their actions into an act of benevolence that re-establishes a social hierarchical relationship between natives and migrants. Through diversity initiatives, HR practitioners create an ambiguous social relationship blending solidarity towards migrants with a clear social order in which their existing value system prevails. This hierarchical order is materialized in the case study company's structural discrimination, producing an inequality regime based on ethnicity and class. In addition, the initiation of HR personnel relationship with migrants is performed as a generous (benevolent) act, implicitly seen as a form of gift. HR professionals see themselves as giving migrants a chance, an opportunity, to enter the labor market. This implicit framing as a gift blurs the view of the social domination taking place and explains why HR professionals have difficulties in seeing their role in the discrimination of migrants taking place in their organization. Our study introduces the notion of benevolent discrimination. Benevolent discrimination articulates the well-meaning dimension of acceptance with the construction of the others as deficient and vulnerable, and therefore, in need of an act of benevolence for their empowerment. However, this empowerment is defined and limited by the initiator of benevolence into the existing naturalized order.
TitelProceedings of the Seventy-eighth Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
RedaktørerGuclu Atinc
Antal sider1
UdgivelsesstedBriar Cliff Manor, NY
ForlagAcademy of Management
StatusUdgivet - 2018
BegivenhedThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2018: Improving Lives - Chicago, USA
Varighed: 10 aug. 201814 aug. 2018
Konferencens nummer: 78


KonferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2018
NavnAcademy of Management Proceedings