Diversity Management and Migrant Workers in Lombard Organizations: a promising – and challenging – picture from the field
Speaker: Massimiliano Monaci – Università Cattolica
Since the early 2000s, in Italy – as in many other national contexts – Diversity Management (DM) has gained remarkable visibility as a theoretical and practical approach aimed at promoting workplaces that can favour the expression of employees’ different identities and their valorization to the advantage of organizational performance. This notwithstanding, in our country little attention has so far been devoted to how the presence and contribution of foreign workers with a migratory background represent or can provide a valuable resource for the organizations employing them. The presentation revolves around the idea that time has come for taking such an issue seriously, by drawing on the findings of an empirical research included in the Italian part of the project “DIVERSE – Diversity Improvement as a Viable Enrichment Resource for Society and Economy”, supported by the European Commission (Grant Agreement No. HOME/2012/EIFX/CA/CFP/4248 *30-CE-0586564/00-20). This is a qualitative field study on DM practices towards immigrant human resources implemented by a set of organizations operating in Lombardy and differing with regard to size and sector. The picture emerging from the study looks significant in several respects. Firstly, it enables to identify a variety of practices of inclusion and valorization of immigrant employees (ranging from practical support to the explicit use of staff multicultural composition as a strategic device) which tend to generate benefits for foreign workers themselves, the organizational performance and even the local community. In addition, the research highlights how these DM actions are mainly sustained by an array of informal relational mechanisms in organizational life, which, however, may also combine fruitfully with the adoption of more structured and targeted DM interventions. Finally, we are led to discern the role of some facilitating factors in these organizational trajectories in DM, such as internal ethical cultures and networking with the context.
Massimiliano Monaci, PhD in Sociology, Coordinator of the Italian side of the project and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, where he teaches “Organization Sociology” and “Organizations, Environment and Social Innovation”. His research interests are in the fields of diversity management, organizational culture, corporate sustainability and social responsibility. In these areas he has published widely in Italy and several articles in international academic journals.