Ethnic groupism: Understanding ethnicisation of work in Malaysia

Eric Olmedo, Wendy Anne Smith, Mansor Mohd Noor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the degree to which work is becoming de-ethnicised in the Malaysian tourism industry sector. This so-called de-ethnicisation of work is formulated in the Malaysian Government s 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2015) as an indicator of Malaysian society s entry into modernity, the overall yardstick being Malaysia s progression to a high-income nation by 2020. Empirical research was conducted among employees of 10 Western luxury five-star hotels in the greater Kuala Lumpur. The degree of association of occupation with ethnicity was tested through a quantitative survey of 786 respondents from a representative sample of the parent population in 2010. Contrary to the Government s de-ethnicisation agenda, findings show a continuing strong correlation between ethnicity and occupation, reinforced by qualitative research conducted between 2010 and 2011, which reveals specific ethno-marketing practices and an ethnic groupism phenomenon as plausible explanations, among other causal factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)810 - 828
Number of pages19
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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