Case Study Report Amaryllis
(The Netherlands)

Development of case study


In this case study report we present the results of desk-research about the organisation AMARYLLIS in general and the results of interviews. For the desk-research we used in general the website ( and information from four employees from the organisation. In this case study we analyse the situation of the organisation focused on the diversity management and we conclude some recommandations for changemanagement within the organisation.

The four employees we have interviewed took place in october 2019 at the office of AMARYLLIS in Leeuwarden. The interviewed employees are:

  • two team managers
  • two social workers

One manager has been with the organisation for more than twenty years and the other four years on average.

The interviews were individually and not as a group so that the interviewed employees could talk freely. All interviewed employess wanted to remain anonymous. In this way, we got different impressions about AMARYLLIS.

With a board member and the director it has not yet been possible to have an interview. They are currently dealing with all kinds of other developments within the organisation. The action point is to contact them at the beginning of January 2020.

Description of the organisation


Institutional framework


The organisation is an urban welfare foundation focused on all vulnerable citizens. The organisation is an amalgamation of a number of other organziations, a fusion, as of 1 January 2019. The organisation consists of:

  • eight social district teams, include two neighbourhood team
  • voluntary work
  • child care
  • youth work
  • status holders and neighbourhood mediation
  • board of directors, supervisory board
  • management/secretary
  • staff members/facilitating staff (HRM advisor, policy advisor, operations coördination)

The organisation has a workforce of total 180 employees working on different levels and departments. 90% of all services by the different departments is used by citizens with a migrant background. Most questions of these groups are focused on welfare, car, housing, labour, education. All vulnerable groups can be support without a referral. This includes for instance support by employees of the unit social work without a referral. The organisation is located in the city Leeuwarden. Leeuwarden counts 123.107 citizens per January 2020 ( 21.014 Citizens (17%) of them have a migrant background.

The objective of the organisation is to do together what is necessary to enable vulnerable citizens of the municipality of Leeuwarden to live their lives in a meaningful way in connection with their living environment. The most important starting point is that the organisation focus on the interests of the citizens. The organisation is formed on the basis of what is really needed instead of what someone is entitled to. AMARYLLIS wants to be an organisation that is beyond patronising. The organisation start from trust and anticipate what the living environment needs. The social workers stimulate the selfreliance of the citizens and focus on cooperation within the social network.

The support is aimed at multiple living environment. In addition, teh organisation implement the three D (Participation Act, Youth and Law on Social Support/WMO) policies. The organisation has a general policy and no specific policy because everyone is expected to make a contribution based on their own ability and decisiveness. Diversity is also not given attention as it stands within the organisation.

Institutional in the migrant society


In the past, the organisation has pursued an immigrant policy. People with different cultural backgrounds received special attention and migrant and refugee organisations were coached and supervised by social workers.

The last five years it is almost a thing of the past. There is hardly any attention for problems for specific minorities, refugees, while the organisation has a department for support status holders.
Everything is aimed at integration and participation in society. The organisation has no intercultural policy. Only professionals with a native Dutch background work in the department for support status holders. The social workers of the organisation have no experience in guiding this target group and culture-specific knowledge is lacking. Social workers have no attention for problems. The guidance is left to volunteers. The workforce has no professionals with a migrant background. There were some employees wit non Dutch nationalities working for the organisation but unfortunately most of them have left teh organisation. Gained knowledge, experience and expertise is gone. They did not agree with the policy and there was no good guidance. People no longer felt safe with the organisation. The organisation underwent quite a culture change.

Everything was organized differently. The organisation has no free space anymore to reach specific groups with a migrant background. Everything is determined by the grantor (the municipality). The organisation went from specific policy to general policy because the pressure came from the local government. 80-90% of the organisation’s services are used by immigrants. There is a high turnover of employees. Employees do not receive any training when it comes to intercultural working.

There are no specific channels, networks for communicating with migrants anymore. The social workers who specifically came into contact with organisations of migrants is also a thing of the past.
Current policy from the government means that there will be no diversity, ntercultural policy in the coming years. Social workers nowadays know nothing about migrant networks because of the policy of the local government. What is going on among this group and the problems are unknown to most social workers.

Specific educational activities are also no longer organized for the groups. The vision of some social workers of the organisation is that in an immigrant society the government should put a clear inclusion policy at the centre of the social cohesion and harmony between the various socio-economic and cultural groups in society. Such a policy should be aimed at the realisation of multicultural citizenship, which implies the promotion of equality, belonging and exclusivity of all groups.
Social workers are not in a position to identify migrant clients from another cultural group in order to do justice to the individual and his situation and wishes. They are not looking for challenges and are therefore unable to communicate effectively with this group. Put flatly, they do not have intercultural competences. Intercultural assistance is becoming more and more important in this country, because of the migration flow of recent years. Because of this, the population composition in this country is enriched with cultures from all over the world. According to one of the staff members, Dutch is now familiar with several ethnic groups. Social workers must realise that they need to have a strong empathic feeling, have few prejudices, be open minded, be able to adapt to an unfamiliar situation, seek similarities in their dealings with the other, respect a client and take his wishes into account in this multicultural society. The problems in society are becoming more and more complex.
AMARYLLIS triest o faciltate the support of all vulnurable citizens but the impression at the moment is that some projects are not reaching migrant groups in certain neigbouwhoods, parts of the city.
Because of the lack in communication channels with migrant groups specific support of migrants is not reached.

In public, the organisation presents itself as an open organisation for all vulnerable citizens, including migrants. But on the other hand the employees are not reaching the migrants groups.

Human Resource Management


AMARYLLIS has no target group policy. This means that there is no diversity, intercultural policy either.
Specific policy and attention for migrants was itself one of the main issues. AMARYLLIS also had a specific policy regarding the recruitment of migrant employees. This has gradually disappeared but this is mainly due to all those changes in the social domain. If you look at the customers who make use of the services, 80-90 % of the customers are immigrants.

The interviewees regret that all the knowledge that had been built up has disappeared. Within AMARYLLIS there is a high turnover of personnel. Over the last five years, an awful lot of new colleagues have been hired. New colleagues but also current colleagues lack knowledge, skills and expertise in working with ethnic minorities. Management, the Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board do not currently pay any attention to this problem. Employees also do not receive any training when it comes to working with ethnic minorities. Diversity is not taken into account in the application procedures and when drawing up the vacancies. The relevance is not recognised. Interviewees are not aware of any intercultural competencies as a requirement for applicants when recruiting staff.

The interviewees feel that they would like to gain more insight into how intercultural policy could be developed. In the interview it was confirmed that the working method used by AMARYLLIS should be better suited to the migrant target group. They found that new and young colleagues lack the competences to work with this target group.

As far as gender is concerned, more men can be hired in the coming years. Average age of personnel is between 30- 35 years. Presence of men and immigrants is underrepresented. General impression of the interviewees on diversity within the organisation is that a conscious choice for diversity would be an enrichment for the organisation. This could bridge the gap between different ethnic cultures. We could learn from and involve many of the groups in all kinds of social and discussion issues. In the application procedures and in the preparation of the vacancies, there is no attention for diversity, whereas before 2007 this was strongly present within the organisation. One of the interviewees was not aware of this within the works council either. The interviewees indicated that a workgroup, tutorial is needed that will look into diversity and intercultural working. The social workers need instruments to learn to deal with diversity and intercultural working. The gap is too big now. This certainly requires much more attention in the coming years.

AMARYLLIS makes standard use of communication channels (mails, facebook, intranet, brochures, advertisements, etc.). Specific means of communication are not used to reach migrants. Within the organisations that have standard leaflets, brochures which are developed nationwide by the government. Locall there are no organisations translate these into their own language when it comes to facilities. We notice in practice that many migrants are not aware of all kinds of facilities and offerings at local level.

Migrants lack all kinds of information to which they may be entitled. This makes it visible that poverty among this target group is also increasing. Communication with self-organisations, key figures is gone.
In the past, the social workers had contact with all kinds of migrant organisations. There was a social network that was almost known to many social workers but this too has gradually disappeared. All interviewees do not know what kind of migrant organisations there still are. There are no specific activities from AMARYLLIS. Migrant groups do everything on their own and you notice that this also makes that the gap between AMARYLLIS and the groups is getting bigger and more complex.
Interviewees also do not know what they have to do to make contact with migrant organisations.
AMARYLLIS works a lot in the neighbourhoods, decentralized. Also the colleagues who work in the neighbourhoods do not use extra resources to approach this group. Knowledge and skills are lacking and workers lack specific methods to reach this group and to pick up practical issues. Interviewees do not know which means to use to reach the migrants and what works for different groups of migrants.



AMARYLLIS has no direct connection and contact with the migrant organisations. Everything that was built up has been phased out in recent years. This is deeply regretted. They dare to confirm that no social workers from AMARYLLIS have any contact with migrant organisations either. Now that this question is being asked, they really regret it. Within the organisation there is a social network map but unfortunately there are no migrant organisations on it while all kinds of Dutch organisations are in it.
Interviewees think it is a disgrace. They think this is a point for attention and certainly want to do something with it as an important point of action.



Within AMARYLLIS, research should be conducted into what social workers need in order to be able to work interculturally and deal with diversity issues. Social workers should be able to indicate what I am missing in my daily luggage in order to work with migrant/migrant organisations. Some points that were mentioned are: How to deal with cultural differences, Bridging language problems, fear of miscommunication, little extra time in counselling and lack of knowledge of the world and backgrounds of migrants.

AMARYLLIS provides no more support for social workers for support migrant groups, individuals with migrant backgrounds. The educational staff has no employess with a migrant back ground.

Personal Impressions of interviewed people


The Institution

Positive Negative
  • diversity in the organisation is seen as an
  • building and networking with migrants is essential
  • attention to diversity and intercultural policy
  • education for social workers on how to deal with
    cultural differences, Bridging language problems, fear
    of miscommunication, little extra time in providing
    assistance and lack of knowledge of the world and
    backgrounds of migrants
  • new search for support within the organisation to
    set diversity policy in motion
  • no policy, no concrete policy regarding diversity policy
  • passive attitude towards diversity policy
  • AMARYLLIS does not reflect society (diversity)
  • social workers do not have the knowledge and skills to deal with the target group of migrants
  • no view on migrant network, no specific policy to work with this target group
  • there is a high turnover within the organisation, as a result of which accumulated knowledge is lost
  • innovation from changes in social policy in full swing within the organisation, specific policy on diversity policy (intercultural policy) no longer exists, attention for diversity policy is estimated to have no priority for the next two years
  • coloured people working within the organisation are leaving and looking for a job elsewhere
  • everything that had been built up in diversity policy up to 2013 has gradually disappeared
  • the intervieweesindicated that they do not want to be too critical of their organisation because they are afraid that this will be used against them
  • during the interview, we noticed that employees were tense and had to look for the right words to give an answer

Commitment with mission statement and diversity policy


Something will have to be done at the top, management level to put diversity back on the agenda and seek support within the organisation. The grantor (the municipality) will also have to move more and give more room in this respect. The organisation must have the courage to make choices. The organisation talks about vulnerable citizens and, according to the interviewees, this includes migrants.
The interviewees also think it is important that a plan is drawn up in which diversity gradually takes shape. According to the interviewees, the question of whether there is a commitment does not arise at the moment, but a wide-ranging discussion within the organisation could lead to this happening.

What should be changed?


All interviewees see the added value of interculturalisation and diversity policy. Support must be created from within the organisation. All team leaders must be given an important role in this. Raising awareness about the benefits of diversity policy and recognising the interests of diversity policy.
Practical meetings should be organised to map out what knowledge we have about diversity policy education, skills promotion and training on interculturalisation should be facilitated. Involving migrant organisations and key figures in change. Possible attention for vacancies in order to attract more social workers of immigrants.

  • policy according to influx of migrant employees
  • design of flyers and brochures in different languages
  • policy according to getting better contacts with migrant organisations
  • creating support among board of directory and managent, staff for diversity policy

What should not be changed?


As starting point:

  • the needs of training for employees to work with migrant clients
  • the needs among some social workers for creating support among employees who see diversity policy as challenge

The openness, tolerance and the communication on eye-level with each other, dealing with all in a fair way are a benefit for the institution and the people who work and learn there. The supporting atmosphere is very helpful for the trainers, but for the participants as well.

The positive measures as described above.

Analysis, interpretations


The language regarding diversity within the organisation


Adjusting of the current means of communication that are used and attuning them to the target group of migrants. In the coming period, contact will be made with migrant organisations and key figures.
The target migrant groups and their self organisations are the representers of the Surinamese Hindus, Turkish, Maroccon, Syriers, Somalic, communities. Then you can investigate what specific knowledge the organisation can reach and use it. Organizing meetings and approaching people personally could also be a success. Organizing meetings in cooperation with the target migrant groups we mentioned on how to deal with cultural differences, bridging cultural differences would be very valuable. Starting with a small workgroup, a think tank would be very beneficial. From here you would have to grow and build. In addition, it’s important to rethink the importance and necessity of the migrant organisations in the way of challenges and innovation within the organisation.

Significant differences in the way people are looking at and thinking about the diversity in the organisation


The interviewer sees the usefulness and importance of revitalising diversity and interculturalisation within AMARYLLIS. They are aware of the added value of this in the long term. The interviewees have an open attitude but are very careful in giving answers. They have to find the right words every time.
The impression is that a fear culture is alive within the organisation because of all those changes in recent years, which means that different choices are made all the time and that AMARYLLIS is properly controlled by the local government.

Arrangements and power relations


As indicated above, the organisation is still subject to many external influences and it is sometimes difficult to pick up all the changes. Rules and laws certainly play a role, which prevents the organisation from making choices and initiating changes. But the rules and laws are edited by the local government from whom AMARYLLIS receives grants. So it is not only a task of the directory board of AMARYLLIS to change the policy but alsa a task of the local government. Both parties has to be involved in starting rethinking procedures and implenting them for diversity policy as inclusion policy.

Motives and motivations to work on diversity policy in the organisation


Interviewees are aware that there is no form of communication with migrant organisations. To make changes you need people with knowledge, experience and expertise. Professionals see that they are part of a large organisation but that the organisation does not reflect society. In view of the changing government policy and what is asked of all citizens, including migrants, it is necessary to cooperate as much as possible. Without that cooperation you cannot build an intercultural organisation in which sometimes specific approaches but also adaptations from within the organisation are necessary.
Immigrants must be able to recognise themselves and feel safe within an organisation. If 80-90% of the customers of AMARYLLIS belong to the migrant groups and if their is no employee who has the knowlegde ans skills anymore to work with and support the migrant groups then the service activities can not reach the migrants.

Possible benefits for the learners


Learning organisation is dare to make choices and to work in a small context. Especially people with a migrant background require a lot of time. People with a migrant background want:

  • to be treated equally
  • trying to get everyone into a learning organisation
  • take into account the way of communicating
  • professionals need to gain insight into what I want to be specifically trained in, what competence I lack, what skills I still have and how I can keep up with the change; without that cooperation you cannot build an intercultural organisation in which sometimes specific approaches but also adaptations from within the organisation are necessary
  • feeling welcomed in the organisation
  • finding people from similar culture in the organisation makes them more familiar with it

Stage of the organisation


7. intercultural organisation
6. intercultural diversity management
5. cross-cultural HRM policy
4. inflow of migrant workers
3. intercultural service management
2. service to migrants
1. monocultural organization

Scroll over then names of the stages to get a definition of them

  1. My organisation has migrants among its clients.
  2. In my organization an intercultural training has not been done aimed at improving sales to migrants.
  3. My organisation has no policy aimed at improving sales or services to migrants.
  4. My organisation employs no migrant worker(s).
  5. My organisation has no policy aimed at the influx of migrant workers.
  6. In my organisation there has not been an intercultural training on how to improve intercultural cooperation or leadership.
  7. My organisation has no intercultural personnel policy.
  8. In my organisation, intercultural policy is not a natural part of diversity policy.
  9. In my organisation, intercultural policy is not a natural part of general quality policy with regard to sales/service provision and personnel.

AMARYLLIS is still a monoculture organisation, while their services are mainly consumed by the migrants. In the communication and the interview it appears that a lot of knowledge and skills are lacking among the employees. Social workers have to be able to cope with what I am missing in my daily luggage in order to be able to work with migrants and migrant organisations. Some points that were mentioned are: How to deal with cultural differences, Bridging language problems, fear of miscommunication, little extra time in social work and lack of knowledge of the world and backgrounds of migrants.

Change and consequences


What is change here actually?

The view of implementing a real change management process is for the organisation at this moment very difficult. The organisation depends on the poliy of receiving grants by the municipality. We only may suggest things to improve the policy of the directory board and management according to be open in their view according to diversity policy as a challenge. There is an action point to make an appointment with the board of directory, management in January 2020. Direction and management now support the policy of the grantor (municipality of Leeuwarden). An action point towards the Works Council/Counsellorship Council is also additional. In view of HRM, personnel policy, hiring policy.

There is anger among employees. Especially many migrant employees have left. Improvements could be:

  • products and services aimed at migrants, diversity should be re-examined in terms of accessibility, i.e. the communication process and the skills and competencies of the personnel
  • influx of employees with a migrant background can be a plan of approach; recruitment policy and vacancy policy: sharpen competences to deal with migration cultures, intercultural work, context-related care, work culture-specific
  • possible attention for vacancies in order to attract more social workers of immigrants discussion and revision of HRM policy, influx of migrant employees

What does it mean for the education process?

  • improvement according to the communication process within the organisation focused on diversity and culture – specific labour

What does it mean for the management?

  • reflecting their own competences

What does it mean for the staff?

  • new challenges
  • being better prepared for dealing with the knowledge of diversity policy and skills

What does it mean for the learners?

  • being better prepared with knowledge of diversity policy as a challenge and improvement of skills to communicate with migrant clients and their networks

What does it means for the organisation?

  • reflection about the aims of the organisation
  • getting better qualified staff and better performance in the public and especially improvement of cooperation with migrant organisations




AMARYLLIS is a monocultural organisation while its client base consists of 80-90 % migrants; the board of directory and management follow the policy of the municipality that provides the grants; the organisation does not reflect the diversity and the coloured community. The staff is purely native and consists for a large part of women in the age group of 30-35 years.


  • The analyse of the case of AMARYLLIS lead to the recommendation for reflecting on the vision and work on openess in diversity policy and change management within the organisation by all employees, starting with the openess of the board of directory and management staff and the municipality as grantor
  • Create a support package of a mix of activities as survey, workshops, training, education focused on diversity policy and intercultrual work; create posibilities to organize a workshop on the theme of diversity policy, intercultural work on a small scale in three neighbourhood teams; reestablishementof social network, a social card with migrant organisations is urgent for innovation within the organisation to serve clients with a migrant backgroundbuilding a network relationship with migrant organisations is a must!
  • Work on a agreement with the board of directory and management staff for timeframing and planning to create the support package and to carry out the support package by an external company, agency; in January 2020 we will make an appointment with the board of directory and management to work out and implement the support package; however, board of directory, management/staff and the grantor must be aware of this; conducting a broad survey among employees with regard to diversity policy; this should also include explicit questions in the field of intercultural work; the conducting of at least one or two discussions with the board of directory and supervisory board regarding diversity policy as reflection of the society at present and hiring migrant workers is urgent.

What is the right approach for this way of changing?


Based on the colour model of De Caluwe & Vermaak, which demonstrates colour thinking as an
accessible expression of different change management traditions, we advise in this case a mix of
green and red print approach is necessary. In fact, no colour can be specifically highlighted, it looks like
a whiteprint organisation. So action is needed. Something will change when the organisation will be
open to stimulate people in the right way, bring people, employees into learning situations.

Commitment with Management and Staff


What is the commitment to change? Is there commitment? Necessity: Reformulate the mission of the organisation. Making more concrete how also vulnerable groups such as migrants are reached and reflection/evaluation communication process about the values of the organisation. No more migrants are reached. There is no diversity policy. A proposal for working on an internal change trajectory can be the solution. An HRM expert is essential and urgent and an extern process suprevisor who supports all amployees of the organisation in targeting diversity policy as challenge for their own workload and skills to serve migrant clients. The organisation is a huge urban wlfre organisation with no migrant employees but with sevices for 80-90% of migranit clients. The organisation is too organized in a hierarchic way and the approach that the organisation depends on the policy of the municipality to change their policy is unnecessary. There is an action point to make an appointment with the board/management in January 2020. Deployment can be a plan of approach. Direction and management now support the policy of the grantor (municipality of Leeuwarden).

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