The understanding that every individual is unique and we must take into account everyone to build a society that is diverse and at its richest.
There are two main approaches when looking at diversity in organisations; Equal Opportunities Approach and Managing Diversity Approach. These mean ‘treat everyone the same’ and ‘treat everyone differently’ respectively.
We have the two methods because people either want to be exactly the same when working, or they have to be treated differently so that they both get the most out of their workplace. We often see that people are treated differently in organisations and this is because doing this allows people to get what they need, assisting in their work and therefore making them more effective.
All employees are different, so surely treating them the same wont get the best out of all of them?
Equal Opportunities Definition:
Focuses on promoting the sameness of treatment so that inequalities don’t exist. A ‘rights-based’ perspective (Webb, 1997).
Diversity Management Definition: A central principle in managing diversity is that individual differences should be both recognised and valued as a source competitive advantage’ (Foster and Harris, 2005: 5)
Why Care About Diversity?
Not only is diversity in organisations important because the government has brought in so many legislations, but it is also important because organisations can use it to their advantage.
If you operate in an equal way, or manage your diversity well, then you will be able to get a competitive advantage, which not only will make your product/service better, but it could also lead to getting better staff as people will feel better about working for that organisation.
Obviously most organisations worry about diversity because they don’t want legal action taken against them because of the laws in place, but if we look at it in a different light, then it can prove to be a very important aspect of a business.
One of the major aspects of this topic is Racism, as it is one of the biggest parts which makes up diversity in our culture.
The systemic institutionalised mistreatment of one group by another, based upon skin colour or ethnicity.
So that Racism is taken seriously training needs to be done, allowing people to understand different people, different attitudes, content and identity. As well as this people need to see beyond how people look, instead seeing what their connections are in other areas.
The Business Case for Diversity Management
- Makes it easier to recruit scarce labour
- Improves customer service
- Increases sales to minority groups
- Promotes team creativity and innovation
- Improves problem solving
- Enhances organisational flexibility
- Improves corporate image
- Improves quality
- Improves intergroup relations
- Opens people’s minds to different perspectives and thereby increasing resilience, flexibility, inquisitiveness
MOSAIC – A Vision for a Diversity-oriented Organisation ( Kandola and Fullerton, 1994)
- M – Mission and Values
- O – Objective and Fair Process
- S – Skill Workforce: Aware and Fair
- A – Active Flexibility
- I – Individual Focus
- C – Culture that Empowers
Key Learning Points
- What is the Definition of Diversity?
- What Should Diversity Matter?
- What is the Definition of Racism?