Article 1 (non-discrimination clause) of the constitution of the Netherlands is prominently displayed at the entrance of the city hall of Gouda, where I just completed a series of workshops with managers and employees, about diversity management and how to deal with differences in the workplace.
Development of diversity perspectives in the Netherlands’ Public Service in the period 2008-2018
Joep Hofhuis & Anouk van Drunen.
The success of diversity management is dependent on how employees experience cultural diversity in their daily work. In 2008, Joep Hofhuis examined these diversity perspectives among employees of the Netherlands’ public service. In 2018, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK) asked him to continue this study to find out how the perspectives have changed over the past ten years.
A digital survey was distributed among government employees, asking which positive and negative outcomes of cultural diversity they experience in their workplace. A comparison was then made between answers that were given in 2008 (1617 respondents, in 7 organizations) and 2018 (2024 respondents in 14 organizations).
The results show that, in 2018, government employees experience more positive effect of cultural diversity than ten years before. Especially the added value of diversity for productivity (the business case) is recognized more. The respondents felt that diversity increased their team’s problem solving abilities, and that it helps them connect with different cultural groups in Dutch society. Additionally, compared to 2008, they also experience that diversity leads to more changes in norms and values in the workplace.
Finally, the study shows that a strong diversity climate – an organizational climate characterized by openness to diversity – may enhance positive outcomes of diversity, whereas transformational leadership – a leadership style based on inspiring and motivating employees – may reduce diversity resistance.
Please find the full report (in Dutch) here.
Hofhuis, J., & van Drunen, A. (2019). De ontwikkeling van de beeldvorming rondom culturele diversiteit bij de Rijksoverheid in de periode 2008-2018. Rotterdam: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication, and Culture (ERMeCC).
EUR’s Community for Learning and Innovation has awarded me a 2-year Research Fellowship, to examine the development of our students’ intercultural competences (ICC). The aims of the project are to provide a validated system for measuring the development of ICC among students in our international programs, and to to improve the programs’ ability to develop ICC through educational innovation and professional development of lecturers. I’m looking forward to working with the CLI on this project, and to share new insights on the topic with colleagues active in the field of intercultural competences.
Social network sites and acculturation of international sojourners in the Netherlands: The mediating role of psychological alienation and online social support
Joep Hofhuis, Katja Hanke, & Tessa Rutten.
Acculturation of short-term international sojourners, such as expats and international students, has received considerable attention from scholars in the past decades. Acculturation is commonly defined as the interplay between cultural maintenance, the sojourner’s desire to maintain their home culture identity, and host country participation, their desire to initiate contact with members of the host society. The present paper focuses on the role that Social Network Sites (SNS) play in the acculturation process of this group. Through a survey, we examined how 126 short-term sojourners in the Netherlands use SNS to interact with relations in both home and host country, and how this affects their cultural maintenance and host country participation. Furthermore, we examined psychological alienation and online social support as possible mediators. Our results show that on the one hand SNS contact with home country relations is positively related to online social support. On the other hand, it is also related to psychological alienation, which in turn is related to cultural maintenance. This shows that sojourners who keep in touch with friends and family at home also experience more loneliness and homesickness, and place more emphasis on their own cultural heritage. Finally, we found that SNS contact with host country relations predicts host country participation. Through online activities, sojourners are able to foster social interaction and strengthen friendships with locals.
Hofhuis, J., Hanke, K., & Rutten, T. (2019). Social Networking Sites and acculturation of short-term sojourners in the Netherlands: The mediating role of psychological alienation and online social support. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 69 (120-130). doi: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2019.02.002
Starting in July 2019, I will take position in the Board of the International Academy for Intercultural Research (IAIR). The IAIR is a global community of scholars, which promotes and encourages research, theory, and practice in the field of intercultural relations. The Academy encourages interchanges between people with an interest in intercultural research and strives to disseminate scientific information to the public.
NeFCA’s new Temporary Working Group (TWG) on Intercultural Communication & Diversity was created in the summer of 2018 by Dr. Joep Hofhuis (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Dr. Mélodine Sommier (Erasmus University Rotterdam). The idea arose from the 2018 ETMAAL conference in Ghent, Belgium. The success of that year’s theme, Transcultural Exchanges & Communication Flows, as well as the difficulty for papers on intercultural communication and diversity to fit into existing divisions further convinced Joep and Mélodine of the need for a more focused and better tailored venue.
This TWG was created to bring together scholars who study these issues from different disciplines, focusing on mediated and (inter)personal forms of communication, as well as the discursive construction of cultures. NeFCA’s TWG on Intercultural Communication & Diversity (ICD) provides a platform for Dutch and Flemish communication scholars working on the theory and practice of communication between and among different cultures and communities of the world, as well as communication related to inclusion, identity and the politics of difference. Diversity is conceptualized in a broad sense, including but not limited to culture, ethnicity, gender, language, age, LGBT+, and their intersectionality in societies, organizations, and media. This TWG is meant to facilitate interdisciplinary exchange and the promotion of insights from different approaches, including critical, emic, and etic perspectives, using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.
The steering committee of the TWG consists of Dr. Joep Hofhuis (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Dr. Mélodine Sommier (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Dr. Stijn Joye (Ghent University).
The TWG will hold a first event at the 2019 ETMAAL conference in Nijmegen and will be accepting papers as part of the regular conference programme (see call for papers).
Make sure to follow the Twitter feed (@NeFCA_ICD) and Facebook page (NeFCA Intercultural Communication & Diversity) of the Temporary Working Group for all updates about the next events
Does functional diversity increase effectiveness of community care teams? The Moderating Role of Shared Vision, Interaction Frequency and Team Reflexivity.
Joep Hofhuis, Monique Mensen, Lydia ten Den, Annemieke van den Berg, Marieke Koopman-Draijer, Marianne Van Tilburg, Carolien Smits, & Sjiera de Vries.
As interprofessional collaboration becomes more commonplace in health and social care, both scholars and practitioners are searching for ways to make the most out of functionally diverse teams. Earlier research has shown that the presence of different functional backgrounds may lead teams to perform better, because they have a larger pool of knowledge and experience to draw from. Other studies show, however, that functional diversity increases categorization, reduces team cohesion, and complicates interpersonal communication, thereby reducing performance. It remains unclear under which conditions positive or negative outcomes may occur. The present research tested the influence of functional diversity on team identity, team performance, and client satisfaction, and examined factors which may moderate these relationships. Based on earlier studies in this specific context, we focused on three team processes as possible moderators: shared vision, interaction frequency, and team reflexivity. In a survey among health and social care professionals working in community care teams in the Netherlands (n = 167), all three are shown to moderate the relationship between functional diversity and team effectiveness. In the absence of these processes, functional diversity appears to reduce team outcomes, whereas when these processes are present, the relationships are positive. In sum, in order for community care teams to reap the benefits of functional diversity, it is essential that members develop a shared vision, interact frequently, and practice team reflexivity.
Hofhuis, J., Mensen, M., Ten Den., L.M., Van den Berg, A., Koopman-Draijer, M., Van Tilburg, M.C, Smits, C.H.M., & De Vries, S. (2018). Does functional diversity increase effectiveness of community care teams? The Moderating Role of Shared Vision, Interaction Frequency and Team Reflexivity. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. doi: 10.1111/jasp.12533
The national government in The Hague is one of the largest employers in the Netherlands. As any other organization, it faces the challenge of how to deal with cultural diversity in its workforce. I have just been awarded a grant by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations (Ministerie van BZK) to study how the perceptions towards cultural diversity in the public service have changed over the past 10 years. The results of the study will be used to formulate new diversity policy and interventions for public organizations.
In 2008, as past of my PhD research, I surveyed a group of nearly 2000 government employees, and asked them which positive and negative effects of diversity they experienced in their daily work. Since then, the world has experienced an economic recession, increased international terrorism, a refugee crisis, and a shift towards more nationalist and protectionist governments. To understand whether these global developments have influenced how government employees view diversity, I will repeat his study from 2008, and examine which changes that have occurred. This will provide a unique opportunity for a long-term comparison within the same organization and will ultimately enable the public service to modernize their diversity management policies.
Due to globalization, interactions at work increasingly occur in an intercultural context. When members of different cultures meet at work, conflicts are not only more likely to occur, so is the chance that the way conflict partners respond to conflict will lead to incongruences. This encyclopedia entry presents an overview of cultural dimensions which have been identified as influencing negotiation strategies. Moreover, it discusses a number of social and psychological processes that are at play when conflict occurs between members of different cultural groups. The entry ends with some practical implications.
Van der Zee, K.I. & Hofhuis, J. (2018). Conflict Management Styles across Cultures. In: Kim, Y.Y. (Ed.) International Encyclopedia of Intercultural Communication. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons. Doi: 10.1002/9781118783665.ieicc0242
Elke derde dinsdagavond van de maand komt een wetenschapper op bezoek in de Meevaart in Amsterdam Oost, die in gewone taal een bekend onderwerp bespreekt. De achttiende lezing vindt plaats op dinsdag 19 september om 19.30 uur door dr. Joep Hofhuis, Universitair Docent Interculturele Communicatie in Organisaties aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Titel: Kleurenblind diversiteitsbeleid, bestaat dat wel?
“Wij kijken niet naar iemands achtergrond, enkel naar kwaliteiten.”
“Geslacht, huidskleur, of leeftijd doen er niet toe, bij ons wordt iedereen beoordeeld op zijn prestaties.”
Dit soort uitspraken zien we de laatste jaren overal terug. In het bedrijfsleven, in de publieke sector en in de politiek wordt steeds vaker ingezet op ‘kleurenblind’ diversiteitsbeleid. De gedachte erachter is dat als we iedereen gelijk behandelen, dat iedereen ook gelijke kansen heeft. Maar klopt die aanname wel? En voor wie is dit beleid nu eigenlijk het meest gunstig? Aan de hand van bevindingen uit wetenschappelijk onderzoek bespreken we de voors en tegens van kleurenblind denken op de werkvloer.