Unequal by Structure: Exploring the Structural Embeddedness of Organizational Diversity

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

136 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article applies classical concepts of organizational structure and extends them to contemporary challenges of diversity to explore why unequal opportunity structures persist in an organization despite its commitment to diversity and employing highly skilled ethnic minority employees. Based on a study of the team-based municipal center CityBiz, the article inquires as to how inequality is embedded in two structural features: first, the differentiation of roles accelerates in response to continuous change, which results in similar workers being attracted to collaborating with one another, which generates inequality. Second, inequality is sustained by inadequate integration methods that merge a formal–informal hierarchy, which results in peer competition and majority elites. The structural approach to organizational diversity developed in this article nuances the current research on diversity that is predominantly concerned with employee experiences of inequality in an organizational structural landscape perceived as fixed and stable. This study offers a dynamic view of organizational structure based on how it is experienced, navigated, and reshaped by employees of different ethnicities. Linking micro-interactions to structural triggers and outcomes points to situated caveats about inequalities ingrained in the organizational structural set-up. Tapping into employees’ sentiments and interactions furthermore gives the possibility to mobilize collective change in favor of equal opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization
Volume25
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)242-259
Number of pages18
ISSN1350-5084
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Published online: 27. July 2017

Keywords

  • Continuous change
  • Critical diversity
  • Formal–informal hierarchy
  • Inequality
  • Organizational structures of differentiation and integration

Cite this

@article{a0876b84057c46739fb05507e06aa42a,
title = "Unequal by Structure: Exploring the Structural Embeddedness of Organizational Diversity",
abstract = "This article applies classical concepts of organizational structure and extends them to contemporary challenges of diversity to explore why unequal opportunity structures persist in an organization despite its commitment to diversity and employing highly skilled ethnic minority employees. Based on a study of the team-based municipal center CityBiz, the article inquires as to how inequality is embedded in two structural features: first, the differentiation of roles accelerates in response to continuous change, which results in similar workers being attracted to collaborating with one another, which generates inequality. Second, inequality is sustained by inadequate integration methods that merge a formal–informal hierarchy, which results in peer competition and majority elites. The structural approach to organizational diversity developed in this article nuances the current research on diversity that is predominantly concerned with employee experiences of inequality in an organizational structural landscape perceived as fixed and stable. This study offers a dynamic view of organizational structure based on how it is experienced, navigated, and reshaped by employees of different ethnicities. Linking micro-interactions to structural triggers and outcomes points to situated caveats about inequalities ingrained in the organizational structural set-up. Tapping into employees’ sentiments and interactions furthermore gives the possibility to mobilize collective change in favor of equal opportunities.",
keywords = "Continuous change, Critical diversity, Formal–informal hierarchy, Inequality, Organizational structures of differentiation and integration, Continuous change, Critical diversity, Formal–informal hierarchy, Inequality, Organizational structures of differentiation and integration",
author = "Lotte Holck",
note = "Published online: 27. July 2017",
year = "2018",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1177/1350508417721337",
language = "English",
volume = "25",
pages = "242--259",
journal = "Organization",
issn = "1350-5084",
publisher = "Sage Publications Ltd.",
number = "2",

}

Unequal by Structure : Exploring the Structural Embeddedness of Organizational Diversity. / Holck, Lotte.

In: Organization, Vol. 25, No. 2, 03.2018, p. 242-259.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Unequal by Structure

T2 - Exploring the Structural Embeddedness of Organizational Diversity

AU - Holck, Lotte

N1 - Published online: 27. July 2017

PY - 2018/3

Y1 - 2018/3

N2 - This article applies classical concepts of organizational structure and extends them to contemporary challenges of diversity to explore why unequal opportunity structures persist in an organization despite its commitment to diversity and employing highly skilled ethnic minority employees. Based on a study of the team-based municipal center CityBiz, the article inquires as to how inequality is embedded in two structural features: first, the differentiation of roles accelerates in response to continuous change, which results in similar workers being attracted to collaborating with one another, which generates inequality. Second, inequality is sustained by inadequate integration methods that merge a formal–informal hierarchy, which results in peer competition and majority elites. The structural approach to organizational diversity developed in this article nuances the current research on diversity that is predominantly concerned with employee experiences of inequality in an organizational structural landscape perceived as fixed and stable. This study offers a dynamic view of organizational structure based on how it is experienced, navigated, and reshaped by employees of different ethnicities. Linking micro-interactions to structural triggers and outcomes points to situated caveats about inequalities ingrained in the organizational structural set-up. Tapping into employees’ sentiments and interactions furthermore gives the possibility to mobilize collective change in favor of equal opportunities.

AB - This article applies classical concepts of organizational structure and extends them to contemporary challenges of diversity to explore why unequal opportunity structures persist in an organization despite its commitment to diversity and employing highly skilled ethnic minority employees. Based on a study of the team-based municipal center CityBiz, the article inquires as to how inequality is embedded in two structural features: first, the differentiation of roles accelerates in response to continuous change, which results in similar workers being attracted to collaborating with one another, which generates inequality. Second, inequality is sustained by inadequate integration methods that merge a formal–informal hierarchy, which results in peer competition and majority elites. The structural approach to organizational diversity developed in this article nuances the current research on diversity that is predominantly concerned with employee experiences of inequality in an organizational structural landscape perceived as fixed and stable. This study offers a dynamic view of organizational structure based on how it is experienced, navigated, and reshaped by employees of different ethnicities. Linking micro-interactions to structural triggers and outcomes points to situated caveats about inequalities ingrained in the organizational structural set-up. Tapping into employees’ sentiments and interactions furthermore gives the possibility to mobilize collective change in favor of equal opportunities.

KW - Continuous change

KW - Critical diversity

KW - Formal–informal hierarchy

KW - Inequality

KW - Organizational structures of differentiation and integration

KW - Continuous change

KW - Critical diversity

KW - Formal–informal hierarchy

KW - Inequality

KW - Organizational structures of differentiation and integration

UR - https://sfx-45cbs.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/45cbs?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&url_ctx_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&ctx_enc=info:ofi/enc:UTF-8&ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&rfr_id=info:sid/sfxit.com:azlist&sfx.ignore_date_threshold=1&rft.object_id=954925616074

U2 - 10.1177/1350508417721337

DO - 10.1177/1350508417721337

M3 - Journal article

VL - 25

SP - 242

EP - 259

JO - Organization

JF - Organization

SN - 1350-5084

IS - 2

ER -