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Operatives’ experiences of cultural diversity on Australian construction sites

By M Loosemore, F.T.T Phua, K Dunn and U Ozguc


Construction sites are among Australia's most culturally diverse workplaces. A survey of 1155 construction operatives on Australian construction sites investigated, for the first time, the extent of this diversity and how it is experienced by workers. Results show that while cultural diversity presents organizational challenges by segregating the workforce, operatives' cultural groups also perform positive functions such as maintaining positive bonds among group members and providing group support and safe havens. While there broadly appears to be equality of opportunity for all cultural groups, there is significant evidence of differential treatment for some groups, particularly in relation to accessing higher paying jobs, offensive graffiti and racist joke telling. Language barriers are one of the major challenges affecting work and social relations between different cultural groups and there is evidence that this has a detrimental impact upon safety

Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1080/01446190903450087
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