July 17, 1997 * Vol . 9, No. 5
More effort needed to integrate Chinese, says study
Immigrants of Chinese ancestry integrate during work hours but separate
after work regardless of their length of time in Canada, according to a
study which makes recommendations to manage ethnic diversity more effectively.
Integrating Employees of Chinese Ancestry into the Canadian Workforce:
Case Studies was the thesis
project of Amy Tang for a master's of business administration she received
Tang divided subjects who work in three B.C. Crown corporations into groups:
those who had been in Canada less than five years; those who had been in
Canada up to 10 years; and Canadian-born employees of Chinese ancestry.
"Rosalie Tung, senior supervisor of my thesis, has defined 'acculturation'
as the process by which group members from one cultural background adapt
to the culture of a different group," reports Tang. "And she has
identified four modes of acculturation: integration, assimilation, separation
"I found that immigrants of Chinese ancestry adopt the integration
mode of acculturation at work and the separation mode after work, regardless
of their length of time in Canada," she adds. In other words, the number
of years in Canada can't sufficiently differentiate the acculturation modes
of these two groups.
"Canadian-born employees of Chinese ancestry, on the other hand, adopt
the assimilation mode both at work and afterwards," she adds.
The Crown corporations in the study are in the process of adopting the integration
mode of acculturation and are legally required to take measures to promote
ethnic diversity. However, they aren't fully integrated yet.
Tang makes three major recommendations:
- create a 'diversity climate' in which all cultural groups can excel.
- create a two-way dialogue and ensure minority cultural perspectives
influence core organizational values and norms.
- integrate employees of different ethnic backgrounds into informal
or after-work networks in order to promote inter-group understanding.
© Simon Fraser University, Media and Public Relations