Diversity as Heterogeneity and Inequality: The Case of Nationality

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This chapter takes a quantitative, micro-sociological, structural perspective on the study of diversity in groups and organizations, with a specific focus on nationality. How we have come to think of nationality as a diversity attribute has shaped the types of research questions we have asked and the type of phenomena we have studied. Nationality has almost exclusively been conceived as a carrier of “national culture” and/or as a status-neutral “identity marker”. Accordingly, national differences have appeared to produce “heterogeneity” rather than “inequality”. Discussing the difference between diversity as heterogeneity and diversity as inequality, I argue that national differences can and must be conceptualized and operationalized as both because the same social category can be shown to produce both homophily (i.e., identification) and imparity (i.e., stratification) depending on how it is measured. Using an empirical example of multinational teams, I illustrate the measurement of nationality as a nominal parameter generating identity-based subgroups associated with homogeneity/heterogeneity and homophily. At the same time, I show how nationality can be measured as a graduated parameter generating resource-based subgroups associated with equality/inequality and imparity. I briefly discuss the implications of nationality as a diversity variable giving rise to identification and stratification, which are two key issues in diversity scholarship.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Organizational Diversity Research Methods
EditorsSine Nørholm Just, Annette Risberg, Florence Villesèche
Number of pages15
Place of PublicationNew York
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)9780367211486
ISBN (Electronic)9780429265716, 9780429556234
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 14 October 2020

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