International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work

International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work

Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment

Elgar original reference

Edited by Alain Klarsfeld

Managing and developing diversity is on the political and business agenda in many countries; therefore diversity management has become an area of knowledge and practice in its own right. Yet all too often it is referred to as a unifying concept, as if it were to be interpreted uniformly across all cultures and countries. The contributors to this volume expertly examine the relationship between diversity management and equality legislation within the different participating countries’ national contexts. They advocate that such separation and sequencing between equality at work and diversity management is far from natural.

Chapter 14: Discourses and Practices of Diversity Management in the UK

Ahu Tatlı

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour


Ahu Tatlı Introduction Managing diversity has become a popular perspective in both the academic and practitioner circles in the last decades. The concept was originated in the USA with the publication of Workforce 2000: Work and workers for the 21st century, a report by the Hudson Institute in 1987 (Johnston and Packer, 1987). From the 1990s onwards, the concept has gained popularity as a new management approach in the UK. This chapter aims to provide a critical and evidence-based account of the discourses and practices of diversity management in the UK context. The chapter will present an analysis of qualitative and quantitative evidence from two field studies conducted with the diversity managers of public and private sector organizations. The first section will provide a background to the development of the diversity management discourse and structures. To do that, the legislative and regulatory framework in the UK in relation to equality and diversity will be introduced. Then diverse scholarly perspectives developed in the UK context will be reviewed in order to account for the equal opportunities versus diversity management debate. More specifically, critical perspectives that are particularly related to two building blocks of the diversity management approach, i.e. the business-case arguments and individualized definition of difference and diversity, will be briefly sketched. In the second section, I shall explore the discourses and practices prevailing in the field of diversity management. The exploration will be informed by original empirical evidence, which includes the individual accounts of 12 diversity managers from large public...

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