Diverging Diversities: The Salience of Culture

By Rachel Crump and Barbara Crump.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Diversity as a corporate value has different outcomes in different countries and cultures; a finding of a recent study involving sixteen mothers with young children, employed by a multinational corporation in Japan and New Zealand. The goal of the qualitative study was to understand the value and effectiveness of corporate 'work-life balance' policies and how the socio-cultural environment affected the women's lives and aspirations. Despite the volume of academic literature on work-life balance the body of literature is still overwhelmingly Western in context. This is not surprising as gender equality in the workplace, the time bind, and balancing leisure with work are concerns of 'modern' societies, the majority of which are found in the West. However, increasingly these issues are a concern for developed countries in Asia such as Japan, Korea, and Singapore where, arguably, gendered roles in relation to work and family are stronger than those in the West and birth-rate decline is a serious policy issue. By applying a 'gender lens' to theoretical perspectives in the area of work and family the impact of prescribed gender norms and identities are revealed. The results show how crucial both the organisational and national cultures are to an employee's ability to successfully use any 'family-friendly' policies that an organisation may offer to help their workers balance work and family.

Keywords: Diversity, Work-Life Balance, Gender, Cross-National, Culture, Japan, New Zealand

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.179-186. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 569.045KB).

Rachel Crump

Masters Student, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan

Rachel Crump has recently completed a Masters degree at Waseda University's Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies in Tokyo. Her Masters thesis on which this article is based, presented a comparative study of working mothers in the Japan and New Zealand branches of a multi-national corporation. She currently lives and works in Tokyo.

Dr. Barbara Crump

Senior Lecturer, Department of Information Systems, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

Barbara Crump teaches and researches in the Department of Information Systems, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. Her research interests have involved projects in the digital divide (evaluating the Smart Newtown community computing pilot project, followed by researching the post-implementation stage), the tertiary computing learning environment, and the culture of the computing and IS workplace. The national qualitative New Zealand computing workplace study has been followed by a quantitative study, the result of which are currently being analysed. As Visiting Scholar at the University of Malaya she undertook cross-national research involving Malaysia and New Zealand ICT workers. Evaluation of a new project addressing sustainability issues in community computing will begin in 2007.

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