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Organizational discourse about equal employment opportunity, affirmative action, and diversity: An interpretative structuration analysis of organizational individualization and resocialization

Linda Marie Gallant, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The focus of this research was on how organizational members communicate about Equal Employment Opportunity. (EEO), Affirmative Action (AA) and diversity within the workplace. An interpretive structuration analysis was conducted with 30 employees in a mid-west health care organization. The purpose of this research was to conduct an interpretive investigation of the communicative resocialization processes related to the implementation of EEO/AA and diversity programs in organizations. The two major theoretical frames of structuration and assimilation are used to guide this project. ^ The participating organization has 96 employees. The demographics of the 30 research participants that I interviewed are as follows. Their ages ranged from 25 to 58. I interviewed 21 females and nine males. Seven managers, five females and two males, were interviewed. Of the 21 employees interviewed, 14 are female and seven are male. Five non-clinical and 25 clinical participants were interviewed. In terms of race, I interviewed three female African-Americans, one male Hispanic-American, and one Native-American female. In total, five racial minorities were interviewed. ^ A thematic analysis of 30 in-depth interviews with managers and workers concerning their communication about EEO/AA and diversity revealed five major themes—fairness, fear, learning, disillusionment, and emotionality. Numerous sub-themes also emerged. The overall analysis revealed that participants use agency to affirm and resist EEO/AA and diversity as well as to resocialize themselves in response to informal changes arising from EEO/AA and diversity. Through the analysis of research questions, several important issues became clear. Dialectical tensions play a fundamental role in organizational members' knowledgability and production of EEO/AA and diversity. Secondly, Gidden's (1984) assertions that informal and formal rules give meaning to social systems highlights organizational members understanding and production of EEO/AA and diversity. Furthermore, EEO/AA and diversity provide a site of study that shows how organizational members continue to be resocialized throughout their organizational tenures. Finally, the process of agency is evident in organizational members' view about and actions concerning EEO/AA and diversity. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Management|Speech Communication|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

Gallant, Linda Marie, "Organizational discourse about equal employment opportunity, affirmative action, and diversity: An interpretative structuration analysis of organizational individualization and resocialization" (1999). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9936756.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI9936756

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