Workforce diversity, diversity training and ethnic minorities: the case of the UK national health service

Author Affiliation

Abdullah Sheikh is Associate Professor at Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi

Faculty / School

Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)


Department of Management

Was this content written or created while at IBA?


Document Type


Source Publication

International Journal of Cross Cultural Management




Accounting | Arts and Humanities | Business | Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This research studied an NHS organization as a case to explore how it is responding to cross-cultural issues against a backdrop of policy expectations about equitable and good quality mental health service provision to service users of a minority ethno-cultural group in the UK. Data were collected by conducting semi-structured interviews with 20 participants from three hierarchical levels of the organization. The research found that the concepts of culture and ethnicity are used in a fixed way in the interventions (staff diversity training and ethnic matching) taken by the case organization. It is argued that this fixed understanding of cultural concepts and related interventions may not be helpful in meeting the needs of service users, especially in the context of United Kingdom, which is characterized as a super-diverse society. It appears that the interventions are developed and implemented on the conceptualization of cultural identity as generic and fixed. Organizations working in a multicultural society, or where they have service users from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, need to develop and implement interventions based on individualized and fluid understanding of such concepts. The findings of this study contribute to cross-cultural management scholarship by taking a critical stance on the concept of culture, as it is operationalized by a large organization. We show how, even when required by national policy, this one-dimensional model of culture causes human resource management interventions, intended to address cultural diversity, to be perceived as ineffective.

Indexing Information

HJRS - X Category, Scopus, Web of Science - Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI)

Publication Status