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Equal opportunity and workforce diversity in Asia

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Human Resource Management in Asia
EditorsFang Lee Cooke
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
ISBN (Electronic)9781315689005
ISBN (Print)9781138917477
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Abstract

Asia is subject to a wide array of diversity issues and challenges, ranging from deep and persistent inequalities with respect to gender and sexual orientation to problems of religious intolerance to clashes based on race/ethnicity as well as caste/tribal affiliation, to enumerate a few. Providing a coherent picture of the similarities and disparities observable in such a vast terrain would be an intractable task without conceiving of the continent in regional configurations. Therefore, in this chapter, rather than a diffuse, transcontinental focus, we structure our analysis around sub-continental areas, such as the Middle East, South Asia and East Asia. We provide a review of the relevant literature pertaining to a variety of countries in these areas, while we calibrate our efforts to display both intra and across regional convergences and divergences in employment practices and patterns of diversity and equal opportunity. Critiquing the one size fits all approaches based on direct transposition of western-based diversity ideas in a variety of non-Western contexts, Kamenou (2007) draws attention to the need to understand the norms, values, national and cultural narratives as well as the social contexts of divergent geographies when tackling the task of addressing diversity challenges through management scholarship. We present a context-attentive overview of diversity and equal opportunity challenges across Asia through the adoption of an emic approach (Tatli and Ozbilgin, 2012), where our exploration of equality and diversity issues is informed by historical and structural inequalities in specific contexts across Asia.

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