Schofield, Keith and Tobbell, Jane (2015) Embracing Diversity in Organisations by Promoting Identity. In: Fifteenth International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations, 15th -17th July 2015, Hong Kong.

Recognising diversity in organisations through enabling the promotion of individual identity is key to successful participation and learning. This paper will discuss ethnographic data from a UK debt recovery organisation that explored the lives of the debt collectors. Making use of sociocultural theory, the organisation was constructed as a community of practice. In seeking to understand the mechanisms of learning, it emerged that relationships that were centred on learning and knowledge sharing were key to employees understanding the practices of the organisation. The tacit, nuanced nature of knowledge in this organisation relied on functioning learning relationships and an environment that encouraged the promotion of individual identity to enable successful participation. Employees assumed the roles of more learned other and apprentice, supporting Vygotskian (1978) notions of learning through relationship. The implications of this for organisations are that a blueprint for learning within organisation cannot be created and, instead, businesses should value the diversity of individual identity.

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