Negotiating Social Diversity in Residential Care for Older Persons

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Studies have long noted challenges of diversity in the workplace. Growing evidence suggests that both the aging population and the workforce needed for health and social care will be more diverse than in previous decades. The confluence of older person and care worker diversity can result in suboptimal care. Drawing on 44 interviews, observations of 62 meetings, and a five-year immersion, this organizational ethnography examines the impact of social diversity at a large, urban, multi-level, residential care organization for older persons. The impact of diversity is delineated on three levels such as among care workers, between care workers and residents, and in terms of personal and organizational responsibility for diversity work. Strengths of diversity are mainly with regard to connectivity between care workers and residents. Diversity challenges include implications for care processes, care workers’ identities, and organizational health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-496
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Contemporary Ethnography
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • diversity in organizations
  • interdisciplinary care
  • older persons
  • organizational ethnography
  • residential setting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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