Exploring and explaining attitudes and experiences on workplace inclusion at the Ministry of Justice and Safety.
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Managing the diversification of the workforce and establishing an inclusive workplace has presented many challenges and tensions for many organisations in contemporary societies, also within the Netherlands. A lack of inclusion is known to be harmful for individuals or groups that are targeted, resulting in consequences for organisations as well. As a response, the Ministry of Justice and Safety made it their objective to promote and maintain inclusion at the workplace. This qualitative study at the Ministry explored and explained the attitudes and experiences of employees on workplace inclusion, and potential factors that promote and inhibit workplace inclusion from an employee perspective. For this purpose, 20 semi-structured interviews were conducted among the Ministry’s employees. First, the results suggest that the term inclusion is still relatively unfamiliar and obscure at the Ministry. Besides, inclusion is not yet receiving the attention it is supposed to deserve, despite its functionality, social justice and welfare values. Based on the experiences of employees, this study found indications that the Ministry seems to have different types of culture, in which some appear to be more inclusive than others. Hierarchal structures and the management of diversity may help explaining the status quo on inclusion. Finally, a theme running through the results is the importance of managerial commitment and certain leadership styles in promoting (or inhibiting) workplace inclusion. This study was distinctive from previous research by being one of the first to explore and explain employees’ attitudes and experiences regarding workplace inclusion specifically for the Ministry of Justice and Safety, although a lot more theoretically grounded research is needed.