An unsuitable job for a woman: a ‘native category’ approach to gender, diversity and cross-cultural management

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This paper takes an ethnographic study of the recruitment of women at BMW MINI between 2003 and 2006 as the basis to explore the impact of the concepts of ‘native categories’ and ‘recontextualisation’ on diversity management and cross-cultural management. I consider how managers' and workers' subconsciously held cultural categories relating to gender and work affected efforts to increase the number of female line workers in the plant, and how these were further complicated by the recontextualisation of German native categories in a British context. In doing so, this paper will develop a better understanding of the way native categories affect management and international business, provide an addition to the literature on recontextualisation, by introducing the concept of ‘native categories’ to research exploring the effects of recontextualisation on cross-cultural knowledge transfer, international human resource management strategy and marketing, and, finally, develop some understanding of how diversity management initiatives can fail in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-230
Number of pages15
JournalThe International Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number2
Early online date11 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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