Diversity & Equality


  • Equality = ensuring everyone is treated fairly and equally
  • Focuses on issues such as race, gender and disability as these groups are protected from discrimination by law
  • CIPD = there has been a movement from simply meeting laws to trying to encourage diversity
  • The Spirit level = humans are very sensitive to inequality. More equal countries have better health, lower crime and better opportunities. BUT this book also sees businesses as a barrier to equality as they use it as a PR tactic
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  • Essentials of organizational Behaviour: workforce diversity encompasses everyone who 'varies from the norm'
  • 3 types of diversity
    • surface level -> observable e.g. race
    • Deep level -> not observable e.g. personality
    • Functional -> not observable e.g. education
  • The concept of diversity recognises that everyone has different needs that need to be mate flexibly and fairly by organisations
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Jewson & Mason's Radical & Liberal Approach to div

Liberal Approach

  • based on the idea that everyone has the right to universal standards of citizenhip and justice
  • Sees people as being on a fair playing field ( fits in with the free makret approach that those who put in the most effort are also best rewarded)

Radical Approach

  • inequaltiy and discrimination is part of wider group discrimination
  • Businesses should intervene to encourage equality
  • Positive discrimination is ok for people who believe in this approach e.g. quota systems, because they are a long term strategy and more likely to be useful in tackling discrimination
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Evaluation of Liberal Approach

  • Berkman -> equal rights doesn't mean equal access to rights e.g. everyone has the right to 3 meals a day but not necessarily the means
  • Marxists would argue that people are never on a level playing field. If you see it as a level playing field you're legitimating the current ways of doing things and thus reproducing the privileged position of powerful groups. it's in the interests of powerful groups to maintain this ideology
  • PEW resarch: americans are unconcerned with social inequality -> arguably businesses could simply be mirrorring societal values
  • Businesses can't be expected to reduce inequality because they're inherently exploitative as they seek to make a profit. E.g. women get paid £300,000 less in their lifetime than men -> means businesses can pay them less & make more money so they will
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Evaluation of radical approach

  • Quotas are used by other countries e.g. in Norway 40% of boardroom members have to be women. 
    • People were given non executive roles to fill quotas
    • may be more useful to have targets tailored to businesses rather than a general quota system
    • Head of Organiztional diversity @ the tate museum: quota system would simply even things out because social strctures don't promote and empower women BUT it also needs to be embeddd in corporate culture to make long term change
  • Eversheds - over 50% of employees are women (need to ensure it doesn't flip the other way and end up discriminating against men)
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US Governments top 9 ways to implement diversity

top leadership support
part of compan ystrategy
understood as a way to improve company performnce
measure it
performance of leaders should be judged on the implementation of diversity policies
policies to develop diversity
attract diverse people 
involve employees
diversity training

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Reasons companies strive for diversity

1.Legal reasons Diversity policies are used to avoid fines and legal costs (which would also harm business reputation) 2.Social & Moral reasons Ethical business is more likely to emphasise diversity in its corporate culture 3.Business case for equality & diversity policies It’s clear that a diverse corporate culture is more likely to be effective, innovative and successful in achieving its objectives Diverse workforce is more likely to reflect diversity of customers and suppliers. E.g. just having white middle class men at work will not reflect all customers or suppliers of a supermarket business Good for CSR credentials

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4 types of discrimination

1.Direct When someone is less favourably treated due to belonging to a certain group based on aspects such as gender, race, religion  E.g. Gender pay gap is at 24% according to a recent study released for International Women’s Day 2016, this adds up to £300,000 in a women’s lifetime 2.Indirect When criteria is set for a job and this disproportionally affects members of certain groups e.g. when people are expected to work 12 hour shifts this negatively affects carers and parents 3.Harassment Harassment involves violating someone’s dignity or creating a hostile/degrading environment E.g. YouGov : 85% of women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment,  4.Victimisation This is where an employee is treated less favourably because they have made a claim/complaint of discrimination For example, woman who complained to HR about a senior management  sexually harassing her, she was up for a promotion and was after told that someone else had got it

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Although companies might start implementing diversity policies to meet laws & regulations, organizational procedures and policies then change ‘habits of the heart’

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