Perception of Inclusion and Experiences of Minority Groups in the Swiss Armed Forces

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:30
Oral Presentation
Andrea RINALDO, Military Academy at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, Switzerland
With the beginning of 2009, the Swiss Armed Forces (SAF) introduced measures for diversity management that are based on a command of the chief of the SAF from 2008. Implementing this management strategy can be considered as a response of the SAF to the more and more diverse society as well as increasingly complex and specific missions of the armed forces. However, various studies have shown that many diversity support programs do not conform social realty and that the chosen organizational measures are often inadequate and not expedient[1]. And even though legal bases and policies exist, the practical implementations sometimes bring some challenges that have to be overcome in order to promote an effective diversity management.

One way to find out in what way these diversity measures affect the inclusion and equal treatment of minority groups is to ask the affected persons themselves. This study is based on qualitative interviews with individuals and focus-groups that evaluate the perspective of different minority groups in the SAF and pursues the following questions: What are their attitudes towards the existing HR-policies and military guidelines which regulate the cohabitation and collaboration in heterogeneous groups? What is their opinion towards the importance of diversity management as an educational element in their military education cycle? Do they feel integrated, included and given equal opportunities? Where do they see potential for improvement?

[1] Bonnet, Iris (2016): What Works – Gender Equality by Design. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.