Diversity Management in the European Health Care Sector: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities

  • Thomas Köllen


The European healthcare sector is undergoing fundamental shifts towards becoming more diverse, in terms of its patients, as well as its employees. Alongside the core dimensions of diversity—gender, age, nationality/ethnicity, sexual orientation/gender identity, and disability status—this article outlines the crucial developments in the different European regions, and their relevance to health care management. It shows that the situations and developments within Europe are quite heterogeneous. Almost the whole of Europe is confronted with aging populations, but in recent years, this has been counterbalanced in Western and Northern European countries with an augmenting replacement migration of predominantly younger migrants. As this migration partially comes from Eastern and Southern Europe, this additionally accelerates populations’ aging in these countries. In the whole of Europe, although to different degrees, a weakening of stereotypic gender roles as well as an increase in societal acceptance of homosexuality can be observed. In order to provide an efficient health care service for increasingly diverse patients, health care practitioners and policy makers should develop a comprehensive awareness and sensitivity for health care-related mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion working around every dimension of diversity. In aiming to create a supportive and equitable health care environment for both patients and employees, any kind of “othering”, disrespect, or judgmental behavior towards “other” nationalities, ethnicities, sexualities, genders or life styles should be avoided and critically reflected. The article discusses these issues alongside the varying actual situations within Europe and outlines connecting points for future research.


Sexual Orientation Gender Equality Health Care Sector Health Care Management European Nation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management, Institute for Gender and Diversity in OrganizationsVienna University of Economics and Business (WU Wien)ViennaAustria

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