Identity, Diversity and Diversity Management: On Theoretical Connections, Assumptions and Implications for Practice

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The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between the identity and diversity literatures and discuss how a better understanding of the theoretical connections between the two informs both diversity research and diversity management practices. Design/methodology/approach – Literature review followed by a discussion of the theoretical and practical consequences of connecting the identity and diversity literatures. Findings – The authors inform future research in three ways. First, by showing how definitions of identity influence diversity theorizing in specific ways. Second, the authors explore how such definitions entail distinct foci regarding how diversity should be analyzed and interventions actioned. Third, the authors discuss how theoretical coherence between definitions of identity and diversity perspectives – as well as knowledge about a perspective’s advantages and limitations – is crucial for successful diversity management research and practice. Research limitations/implications – The authors argue for a better understanding of differences, overlaps and limits of different identity perspectives, and for a stronger engagement with practice. Practical implications – The work can encourage policy makers, diversity and HR managers to question their own practices and assumptions leading to more theoretical informed diversity management practices. Originality/value – The theoretical connections between identity and diversity literature have so far not been reviewed systematically. The work foregrounds how important it is for diversity scholars to consider identity underpinnings of diversity research to help further develop the field within and beyond the three streams the authors discuss.
TidsskriftEquality, Diversity and Inclusion
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)48-64
StatusUdgivet - 2016


  • Diversity management
  • HR diversity practices
  • Identity