Discrimination of Second-Generation Professionals in Leadership Positions

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Discrimination of Second-Generation Professionals in Leadership Positions


  • Ismintha Waldring Sociology Department, Erasmus University, The Netherlands
  • Maurice Crul Sociology Department, Erasmus University, The Netherlands
  • Halleh Ghorashi Sociology Department, VU University, The Netherlands


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Abstract:  This article, based on interviews from the Dutch Pathways to Success Project, investigates how Turkish-Dutch and Moroccan-Dutch second-generation professionals in leadership positions experience and deal with subtle discrimination at work. We argue that subtle discrimination in organizations remains a reality for second-generation professionals in leadership positions. Because organizations are penetrated by power processes in society at large, these professionals are perceived not only on the basis of their position within the organization, but also on the basis of their marginalized ethnic group background. We show this through the existence of subtle discriminatory practices at three organizational levels—that of supervisors, same-level colleagues and subordinates—which may take place at one or more of these levels. When dealing with subtle discrimination, Turkish-Dutch and Moroccan-Dutch second-generation professionals in leadership positions show an awareness of organizational power and hierarchies. This awareness amounts to various forms of “micro-emancipation” by the second generation—adapted to the organizational level (supervisors, same-level colleagues and subordinates) they are dealing with—that question and challenge subtle discrimination in organizations.

Keywords:  discrimination; ethnic; leadership; organization; power; second generation; work

Published:   23 July 2015


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v3i4.227


© The author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.