DSB celebrates diversity: A case study of LGBT diversity integration through DSB Pride

Pernille Steckhahn‐Strohmer

Student thesis: Master thesis


The aim of this thesis is to investigate the purpose of the creation of an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans‐person) employee network as a part of diversity management in the large Danish public company DSB, The Danish Railway Systems. The focus of attention is the personal experiences of LGBT people working in DSB compared to the official efforts of diversity management. The employee perception of the diversity integration throughout DSB and how it affects the work culture is the main source of analysis. The research aims at investigating the level to which DSB, as a company, has succeeded in integrating the LGBT aspect in its diversity management. On the basis of investigation the aim is to make conclusions and possibly suggestions to improve the LGBT diversity integration in DSB. Guided by the paradigm of social constructionism, the research is conducted with an inductive approach as a case study. The primary data collection process involves the qualitative methods of observations as a participant in LGBT employee network meetings. Furthermore semi‐structured interviews with LGBT employees and an HR manager in DSB are conducted in the form of face‐to‐face meetings. As for secondary data, the official DSB communication regarding diversity management and LGBT integration is revised and literature is reviewed regarding LGBT diversity management in Denmark. Additionally, internal DSB documents regarding diversity management are analyzed to gain an understanding of the LGBT integration efforts in DSB. The presentation of the case company provides the setting for the data analysis. According to the chosen methodology, the analysis reveals a discrepancy. The communicated messages regarding inclusion and integration from DSB do not match the experience of inclusion from the LGBT employees. Secondly, the mutual expectations between DSB and the LGBT network are not successfully communicated internally, which leads to confusion regarding ownership, responsibilities and possibilities of development. Thirdly, the fact that the work environment in specific departments of DSB is directly negative in regards to LGBT inclusion, results in diminishing trust in the capabilities of management to implement integrative policies. The analysis shows that the fundamental purpose of the network and its benefit to the business value of DSB is unclear, as the external communication is not directly aligned with the need of LGBT employees. Consequently it is concluded that the purpose of the network needs to be re‐defined to make sense internally among LGBT employees. Furthermore a communication strategy between management and the LGBT network needs to be established, which can ease the cooperation towards an internally valued, and diverse company.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages85