Communication for diversity. An exploratory study on the features of internal communication to manage cultural diversity in the Italian organizations

The management and enhancement of differences in organizations and work environments is a topic that has achieved good interest by professional organizations, especially in reference to external communication. Public relations, marketing, advertising are sectors that have long been interested in intercultural communication, especially to intercept foreign stakeholders. But today the organizations are characterized by people with numerous and important differences: place and culture of origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, family burdens, etc. These differences within organizations can often become problematic inequalities that are reflected first of all in the relational sphere of organizations and, consequently, also influence the achievement of organizational objectives. How do organizations approach this problem? What role does internal communication to enhance the plurality?

This paper intends to develop a reflection on the features of internal communication to manage cultural diversity in the Italian organizations. The analysis, conducted through focus groups interview, involves ten training managers and communication managers in private, public and non-profit organizations in Italy and aims to understand the ways in order to sensitize people to multiculturalism issue. This research action is part of a wider European scientific project (Codes, 2017-2019) that involves six European countries in a comparative reflection on the intercultural communication in different areas of society: media; companies; university; public and no-profit organizations.

This study allows to reflect on the role and the foundations of internal communication of organizations in the current multicultural society. It suggests that recognizing and promoting different identities support the redefinition of internal relations in order to: stimulate creativity, adaptability and flexibility in front of new and unforeseen situations; reduce discrimination and implement the ability for mediation and negotiation of conflicts within organization.

Keywords: intercultural communication; cultural diversity; diversity management; organizations; discrimination; internal communication


Nombre Adscripcion Procedencia
Raffaele Lombardi Sapienza Università di Roma Italia
Gaia Peruzzi Sapienza Università di Roma Italia