Diversity Work in Democratic Member-based Organizations: An Empirical Enquiry Into Cooperatives Based in Copenhagen, Denmark

Thor Alexandre Lorenzen & Ricardo Lopez Paramo

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The topic of diversity is predominantly studied within conventional corporations following a top-down implementation, while ignoring other types of organizational forms. To add to the diversity academia, this paper studied how diversity work is understood, approached and implemented in democratic member-based organizations, such as cooperatives. This was done through an interpretive, case study approach using six semi-structured interviews with members of three different cooperatives based in Copenhagen, Denmark. The findings show that inherent to the modus operandi of the cooperative is a culture of inclusion, characterized by equality, solidarity, high levels of workerengagement and a culture of communication. The findings also show an understanding of diversity which takes the form of a duality. People are seen both in terms of individuality and socio-demographic belonging; maintaining both the dignity and integrity of the individual, while recognizing that not all people have access to the same opportunities. This is explained by the value ascribed to a diverse workforce defined as such not by social categorizations but by individuals’ background, personalities and interests. Conjointly, meaningful diversity work relies on the recognition of sociodemographic traits, which are seen as a determinant of social exclusion that need to be counteracted for the greater social good. The researchers of this study believe that this intertwining view on diversity, combined with the innate culture of inclusion, makes the cooperative a promising organizational form for achieving the emancipation of minorities in the workplace.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture - Diversity and Change Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages81
SupervisorsLara Monticelli