Från diversity management till mångfaldsplaner? Om mångfaldsidéns spridning i Sverige och Malmö stad

Translated title of the contribution: From Diversity Management to Diversity Plans?On the Spread of the Diversity Idea in Sweden and the City of Malmö

Sofia Rönnqvist

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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During the 1990’s the diversity idea entered the Swedish socio-political debate under the name ‘mångfald’. The concept originated in the United States and discusses how organizations can be more efficient if they combat discrimination and acknowledge differences. This development attracted the attention of mass-media and led to the publication of books, articles and reports that advocated or commented the concept. It had also had effects on policymaking and various types of consultancy work. The present thesis focuses on studying the dissemination of the diversity concept. This is a way of describing how change takes place through the introduction of new ideas and practices and how various forces and obstacles influence this process. In this dissertation it is the ethnic dimension of the diversity concept that is under the spotlight because this is the aspect which has been given most attention in Sweden. Another limiting factor is that the main object of interest it is diversity as a question involving working life and organisation.

This thesis consists of three parts. The first part focuses on how the concept was developed in the USA and discusses the prerequisites in Europe for the dissemination of the diversity idea. The conclusion is that although some economic and structural developmental trends are basically the same in Europe and the United States, there are some obstacles due to contextual differences. In the second part the introduction and the dissemination of the diversity concept in Sweden in the 1990’s is studied. The main conclusions of this study are that the idea is ‘re-invented’ in a number of different ways as it is diffused in the Swedish context. The idea, that can be labelled as an essentially contested concept, is modified by different actors in several ways. The contextual differences between the USA and Sweden are another reason that the idea becomes modified and watered down during the dissemination process. The third part investigates how the diversity concept is disseminated and implemented in the municipal organization the City of Malmö. Several obstacles to the dissemination process are revealed, for example the complex nature of the organization and the different views on the benefits of a diversity management strategy. These studies of the dissemination of the diversity idea in Sweden points to the fact that the impact of the idea is rather shallow despite the attention that it has attracted in different arenas.
Translated title of the contributionFrom Diversity Management to Diversity Plans?On the Spread of the Diversity Idea in Sweden and the City of Malmö
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Economic History
  • Carlson, Benny, Supervisor
Award date2008 Nov 29
ISBN (Print)978-91-628-7633-3
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2008-11-29
Time: 10:15
Place: EC3, sal 210

External reviewer(s)

Name: Wadensjö, Eskil
Title: Professor
Affiliation: Institutet för social forskning (SOFI), Stockholms universitet


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economic History


  • translation
  • the City of Malmö
  • re-invention
  • essentially contested concepts
  • dissemination
  • the spread of ideas
  • mångfald
  • diversity management
  • Diversity


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