Cultural Identity in Everyday Interactions at Work: Highly Skilled Female Russian Professionals in Finland
AbstractThe dominant research strands into social interaction in culturally diverse workplaces have focused on issues of organizational efficiency and discrimination, and they have treated cultural identity as static, monolithic, and universally shared. This study aims to problematize this view. It is argued that our understanding of cultural workplace diversity could be extended through the integration of interpretive and critical interpersonal communication theorizing on cultural identity as dynamic and processual, constructed between and among people in everyday workplace interactions and in relation to larger social, political, and historical forces. This argument is illustrated by an analysis of in-depth interviews with 10 female Russian immigrants in Finland who performed interactionintense knowledge work. The women talked about their everyday workplace interactions and how they thought Russian identity mattered in them. These data were analyzed with the inductive method of interpretive description designed to provide a systematic description of the phenomenon delineating its characteristic themes and accounting for individual variations within it. The analysis led to the identification of four communication sites for distinct formations of Russian identity: expressing professionalism, managing initial encounters, facing stigma, and facilitating intercultural learning. The findings offer novel insights into social interaction in culturally diverse workplaces with implications for both employee well-being and organizational processes.
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