Management of Diversity by International Managers in Multinational Organizations Essay

Abstract

Diversity in the workplace primarily relates to providing equal opportunities to people who do not belong to local dominant groups, exemplified by white males in the UK, the USA and West European nations. While the issue is primarily related to human dignity and egalitarianism companies with international operations are realising the enormous corporate benefits that arise from developing diversity in the workplace. This is especially true of multinational organisations with operations in numerous culturally different countries.

The task of achieving diversity in such organisation falls in the ambit of international Human Resource managers, for whom the task is complex, delicate and extremely challenging. This study attempts to investigate the issue from different perspectives, and thereafter arrive at researched findings, analyses and conclusions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

Serial
Details
Page
1
Introduction
3
a
Overview
3
b
Definition of Problem
4
c
Objective
6
2
Literature Review
7
a
The Historical Perspective
9
b
The Current Position
12
c
Opportunities and Benefits
18
d
Challenges and Dilemmas
20
e
Implementation of Diversity
22
3
Research Methodology
22
a
Research Questions
23
b
Choice of  Methodology
25
c
Factors for Consideration for Research Procedure
26
d
Data Collection
27
e
Limitations
27
4
Findings, Analysis, Conclusions and Recommendations
27
a
Findings and Analysis
27
b
Conclusions and Recommendations
30

Appendices
38

References
54
1. Introduction

a. Overview

Humankind has practiced inequality and discrimination for thousands of years. The root cause of discrimination, i.e., prejudice, works at the level of the dominant population, and occurs because of differences in race, colour, nationality, religion, community and sex. Prejudice, an intensely disturbing and negative emotion, has been causal in the commitment of some of the greatest crimes against humanity. The concept of equality among humans is of recent origin and gained in currency only after the French Revolution. While egalitarianism subsequently achieved widespread acceptance, the practice of inequality and the conditioning and mindsets of centuries has been difficult to overcome, progress occurring in sporadic fits and starts.

Discrimination exists across the world, even today, and emerges in a myriad ways, some of which are subtle and some not so. While women have always been, (and continue to be), victimised by prejudice, numerous other population segments, (which are not part of the dominant group), also serve as convenient targets. In countries like the UK and the USA, societies predominantly controlled by male whites, prejudice adversely impacts the lives of ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians, foreigners, and other groups, who are not part of mainstream society. (Anderson, 2004)

Discrimination often evidences itself in the workplace, with managements of business organisations being reluctant to hiring women and ethnic minorities especially for managerial jobs carrying better salaries and greater responsibilities. It is only in recent years that Indians in the UK have started moving out from the mop and pail environs of Heathrow airport into the offices of accountants, and into the clinics of the NHS. Nevertheless, initiatives to increase the representation of people belonging to the “out” groups are steadily gaining in momentum across the business spectrum. Business organisations especially multinational and public sector companies are giving serious thought and taking action to increasing the representation of different communities at various levels in their places of work. (Fine, 1996) In fact, diversity in the workplace has become something of a holy cow and very much the politically correct thing to do.

b. Definition of Problem

Prima facie, it would be normal for democratic and advanced societies to believe in equality of creed, religion, sex, age and ethnicity. A truly multi cultural and intrinsically fair society should be able to furnish equal opportunities to all its members. Equal employment opportunities in the workplace and equal respect for all peoples should be incontestable and incontrovertible, and the fact that it still remains a matter for debate, discussion, and decision-making, is disturbing. Diversity in the workplace, regrettably, is still far away from implementation. The staffing structures of most organisations, even those with international operations tilt towards white males and that too in situations where more suitable people of the other sex, as well as of other social segments, are available. (Fine, 1996) While the official websites of many companies contain appropriately worded statements about equal opportunity employment and the need to achieve diversity, few organisations have actually been able to achieve significant structural changes in their demographic content. The instinctive desire to put people in boxes and to treat different segments of society separately continues.

These attitudes, in today’s progressively globalising society, are being increasingly looked at as liabilities, especially in multinational organisations with international operations, in companies that work in areas of innovation, and those on the cutting edge of technology. International human resource experts feel that this lack of organisational diversity, apart from helping in the continuance of an unfair and unequal society, reduces creative and innovative spirit, understanding of alien situations and the marketplace, communication in multicultural settings, availability of talent pool, and the ability to network and operate in teams.

Recent decades have seen an enormous expansion in international markets for western multinationals because of a number of developments including the dismantling of the Soviet Union, the entry of East European countries into the world economy, the emergence of the Chinese and Indian economies, and the progressive increase in the affluence of nations in South East Asia and the Pacific Rim. The ever-expanding influence of the internet, advanced satellite communication and global economic liberalisation enable western companies to access hitherto unknown and unexplored markets. The presence of McDonald’s in Beijing, Marks and Spencer in Pune, Reebok in Dubai and Google in Hyderabad evidence these developments in international business. Managements of western multinationals are coming under increasing pressure because of the need to (a) protect their position in their traditional markets in the face of enormous global competition and (b) to participate and compete aggressively in the new global opportunities.

The creation of these unprecedented global opportunities have been causal in throwing up significant management challenges for international managers and for teams involved in international operations. International managers in multinational corporations, in the changed scenario, need to transit from the  comfortable and familiar environs of western nations to distant places, and thereafter establish profitable operations in countries with different economic, political, legal, bureaucratic and cultural situations. These alien environments throw up enormous challenges in adjustment and operation, which often impede the efficiencies of these managers, used to operating in insular conditions and with familiar people and markets. This lack of diversity in managerial strength leads to difficulties, in relating to new cultures and environments, and in solving new problems in unfamiliar settings. Companies, especially those with international operations thus suffer from a sharp dearth of trained managers who can be effective in different locations.

One of the most significant challenges facing Human Resource (HR) managers relates to effective management of diversity in the workplace. These challenges arise in various ways; emerging initially at the time of formulation, acceptance and publication of a corporate diversity policy and continuing to arise thereafter in diverse operational areas like local and overseas recruitment, training, skills transfer, management of workplace reactions, (including resentment, hostility, and power plays), assimilation and absorption of members of  “out groups”, and their career progress.

c. Objective

This assignment delves into the issue of management of workplace diversity, with special reference to the issues faced by international HR managers in multinational organisations. It attempts to examine the issue from historical, social, economic and management perspectives, in order to locate the deeper factors, the  causes that possibly remain below the surface but are able to influence or hinder the effectiveness of HR diversity management.  The study goes on to cover the opportunities and dilemmas that multinational organisations face in implementing workplace diversity.

The subject matter is enormous. The assignment involves examination of primary and secondary information sources, and the study of available literature and research. It makes substantial use of secondary material in the form of texts, journals and magazine articles, as well as internet sources, for purposes of data availability, analysis and investigation. Despite serious and sincere effort, some important information regarding the topic may well have not found place in the assignment, a deficiency that could limit the validity of its conclusions. The list of references provides complete details of the accessed information. Issues are taken up sequentially to help logical progression in ideas and thought.

2. Literature Review

a. The Historical Perspective

Discrimination has existed for centuries, evidenced categorically by the harsh and unfair treatment meted out to women and to people of certain communities. Women have faced unfair and suppressive treatment, in mostly all communities, across continents, and that too, for ages. Prejudice against women, was, and still is pervasive. It exists in all patriarchal societies and it is difficult to find a religion that treats men and women equally. Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism find common ground in the degradation of women as well as in their active persecution.

“Even the Greco-Roman influence on the status of women draws mainly on the writings of Aristotle, who predated Christianity by about 350 years. In the Aristotelian position, women are viewed as morally, intellectually, and physically inferior to men. They are incomplete human beings, without a fully developed soul. They are irrational, and even with extensive schooling could not attain the intellectual status of men.”  (Fishbein, 2002)

The example of Nazi Germany is illustrative. In Germany, women, after centuries of male domination were just about beginning to get a taste of equality with the introduction of the right to vote, (in 1918),  by the Weimar Republic, when the Nazis took over power and changed the rules of the game. Hitler and his Nazis believed in restricting the role of women to procreation and child rearing, in the interest of a pure and  superior German race. This mindset led to their banishing women from politics, public life, education and gainful professional employment, and brought in decades of gender suppression and inequality, comparable to what existed in medieval Europe. The services of married female doctors, and government officials, stood terminated and women were barred from acting as judges or public prosecutors. Hitler thought that they would not be able to “think logically or reason objectively, since they (were) ruled only by emotion” (Kaplan and Schleunes, 1990) In a startling but related development, the number of female students at German universities went down from more than 18000 before the Nazis came to power to less than 6000 in 1939.

The Nazi regime was possibly one of the most bigoted regimes in recent history, albeit with international ambitions. The lack of diversity in the Nazi armed forces, which by ideology preferred to remain insular and racist, was in sharp contrast to the allied forces, which was an example of extreme diversity, being staffed with officers and men from far flung areas of the world. The success of the allies was due, in large measure to the efficient handling and synergising of troops from different countries, with different languages, cultures and traditions into one efficient whole that outperformed and outthought Hitler’s “racially superior” forces on the ground, on the sea, and in the air.

Apart from women, blacks, Jews, Asians and people belonging to ethnic minorities face discrimination in the workplace. Prejudice, sociologists’ state, finds expression mostly against the poor, the defeated, the needy and the dispossessed. In countries like the USA, debates on workplace representation focus upon people from the African American community, the Hispanics and the Asian immigrants. In the UK, it is again the people from economically weaker black and Asian communities, whose representation in the workplace is significantly inferior to that of the whites.

b. The Current Position

Governments, social service organisations and business communities are working across the globe for achieving equal workplace opportunity through a range of legal, social, and managerial measures. Their efforts are more emphatic and receive greater publicity in societies that are diverse, encompass many distinct social and economic divisions, and have histories of social discrimination and inequality. A country like the USA is an important example of the problems, dilemmas and opportunities associated with the furtherance of diversity in the workplace. The United Kingdom, again a multi cultural and multi racial society, with a centuries-old history of imperialism, is another relevant model, where attempts to achieve equal opportunity in employment are throwing up social, business and economic problems.

While women continue to receive unfair treatment in all environments and their representation in the workplace, especially in positions of responsibility, control and seniority, remains much below that warranted by demographic structure, discrimination in the white, Christian and male dominated societies of the USA and UK works also against people of different religions and races, and communities, who had originally come from other countries, willingly or forcibly, to work in low level menial jobs and with the passage of time became citizens of their adopted countries. While the UK, unlike the USA, does not have a history of intentional discrimination against specific groups, income and social differences still exist between the dominant white population and people from other communities.

Africans came into the UK in large numbers in the early fifties, mainly from the Caribbean, to augment Britain’s depleted work force and found ready employment in factories and workshops. Asians have streamed in from the former colonies of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and East Africa. In the recent past, the UK has also played host to large numbers of migrants from East European countries. The British have, over time, responded with a number of initiatives to make the UK a multi cultural and equal society. At the legal level a number of enactments, namely (a) the disability discrimination act of 1995, (b) the disability discrimination act of 2005, (c) the race relations act of 1976, (d) the race relations amendment act of 2000, the sex discrimination act of 1975, (e) the employment equality (sex discrimination regulations) of 2005, the human rights act of 1995, (f) the equal pay act of 1970, (g) the employment equality ( sexual orientation) regulations of 2003, (h) the employment equality (religion or belief) regulations of 2003 (i) the employment equality (age) regulations of 2006, (j) the rehabilitation of offenders act of 1974 and (k) the data protection act of 1998 aim to ensure legal protection to all groups and communities. (Appendix 1 provides further details of the legislation and regulations currently in force) To put it concisely, legislation in the UK ensures the prevention of discrimination on grounds of sex, race, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation and past convictions.

While these efforts, along with the gradual acceptance of an equal multi ethnic world have led to improvements in workplace diversity their impact has been nominal and has remained restricted to larger organisations. Recent (2006) studies by Peter Urwin and Franz Buscha on “Changing Gender and Ethnic Diversity in the UK Workplace” reveal that change has been excruciatingly slow in coming and has been limited to larger companies.

Using the WERS, 1998 and 2004 cross-sectional studies to examine the changes in the ethnic and gender composition at the workplace we find that in 1998 nearly 47 percent of respondent companies reported not employing any non-white individuals. Whilst this proportion had only dropped to 45 percent by 2004, this figure hides more significant changes when viewed by company size. we find that small companies with less than 25 employees in 1998 did not change their ethnic employee mix much during the intervening years. In contrast, we find much more pronounced changes in larger companies employing between 25 and 1000 employees. (This) is reflected in a rise in the average proportion of non-white employee’s in UK firms from 5.8 per cent in 1998 to 8.4 percent in 2004. However, we see that this overall rise hides considerable differences in the rate of change experienced amongst different industry sectors; with the utilities, hotel and restaurant, and education sectors experiencing particularly pronounced rises in their proportions of non-white workers; though the opposite is true for the construction and financial service industries. Alongside this evidence for ethnic minority workers, the data suggests that in 1998, 21.5 percent of employees were women working part-time and 27.6 percent of all employees were females working full-time; but by 2004, the proportion of women working part-time had decreased to 19.1 percent, whilst the percentage of women working full-time had increased to 33.3 percent. We (also) see that, of all firms who reported that they had no Equal Opportunities or Diversity policy in place in either 1998 or 2004, 73 per cent experienced no change in the proportions of ethnic minorities in the workplace; in contrast, approximately 55 per cent of firms who had a policy in place in both 1998 and 2004 reported an increase in the proportion of ethnic minorities in the workplace. (Urwin and Buscha, 2006)

Appendix 2 contains statistical details pertinent to the study carried out by Urwin and Buscha. Evidently, despite good intentions and legal proactivity, little has happened on the ground to improve diversity in the workplace. While this is very true of small and medium companies the situation is better in the case of larger multinationals where local recruitment in overseas locations has created a diverse managerial force. Even these larger multinationals however have much lower representation of women and people from ethnic communities and different nationalities and their employee structure remains predominantly male and white.

c. Opportunities and Benefits

British managers in the days of Empire were adept at handling people from a surfeit of different nationalities, religions, races and ethnicities productively. While imperialism is now outdated, the success of the British Empire was largely due to the ability of its representatives, officials and managers to manage, motivate, and control diverse and often warring peoples under one large umbrella. These skills, which led to an inclusive political and geographical organisation, appear consigned to oblivion with the current leaders of British establishments finding it difficult to even include the various segments of its miniscule population into their country’s social and economic structure. Fortunately awareness of the enormous long-term benefits that can accrue to British business and society through achievement of diversification in the workplace is growing, albeit slowly, both in media and in society.

Much of this impetus comes from major international business houses, which, because of their years of experience in handling employees from different communities and cultures, have come to realise the benefits of a diverse and large talent pool. While many of these organisations are American, some British companies like British Petroleum, Barclay’s and Unilever have also been able to achieve significant diversity in their workforce. Unilever, in particular, has a significant number of managers from its overseas subsidiaries in senior managerial positions.

Companies have come to accept that diversity in the workplace, from being a politically correct term is now becoming an essential part of British corporate structure. Management of diversity becoming increasingly important, not because business organisations are becoming more compassionate towards accommodation of groups from different cultures but because they feel it essential for survival and will have to employ, train, and assimilate culturally diverse employees. (Henderson, 1994) The procedure of overseeing diversity in corporations has become a considerable challenge especially for multinational organisations with significant international operations. International HR managers are putting programmes in place to deal with cultural diversity. Experts also feel that ensuring and managing cultural diversity will become an important component of the job requirements of HR managers and a critical necessity for corporate success.
Companies that start the process now (or have already started) will reap an overwhelming competitive advantage in years to come. Those that lag will suffer as the marketplace and the labour force becomes increasingly more diverse. “If we don’t begin to … unleash the power that all the various groups in our national work force have to offer,” Thomas says, “we will compromise all our institutions – business, academic, religious, governmental and civic.( Black Enterprise, 1994)

Companies like Reebok, AT ; T, IBM and Morgan Stanley have been encouraging a culture of diversity for many years now. While Reebok focuses on buying goods from companies owned by people from different ethnic communities, AT ; T believes in continuously recruiting personnel from minority groups and in managing the whole process through a specifically formed interdepartmental, multidisciplinary process management team. Philip Morris has a very well developed diversity management processes in place that starts with a written mandate.

Baxter Healthcare Corporation also has a detailed diversity management process, which commences with an assessment and is followed with a needs analysis, mission statement, leadership strategy, and training. The investment in human capital makes it imperative for them to build competitive advantage through well defined processes. Wyeth is another example of an international company that believes in increasing competitive advantage through a rich diversity management program.  The official website of the company conveys the company’s intentions to increase their competitive status by achieving excellence through improvement in rrecruitment, development, and retention of high potential individuals from an increasingly diverse pool of people, improving relationships and expanding business with global and diverse customer and client communities, enhancing creativity and problem-solving ability and elevating the internal and external image of the company.

The growing numbers of African, Asian, and female workers also means that the proportion of white males in the demographic configuration of organisations needs to essentially decrease with the passage of time. It is vital for corporations to comprehend that any action that will impede or deter the integration of these fresh entrants into the labour force in areas that are advantageous for exploiting their skills will show the way to a steady wearing away and collapse of the competitive and resourceful skills of organisations.
Truly inspired organisations are inclined to put up teams and processes that stimulate creativity by providing unobstructed environments, unambiguous goals and an assortment of dissimilar knowledge skills. Most people believe that cultural diversity leads to quantum leaps in the creation of ideas and in the inventive processes of organisations. NASA is a phenomenal example of a corporate diversity initiative, where multicultural teams, whites, Asians, Africans and females have built one of the world’s most innovative and brilliant institutions.

Philip Morris, a multinational organisation committed to the concept of diversity in the workplace, much before the terminology was coined, has also been able to build a rich, diverse and intensely competitive organization and showcases the potential benefits of a properly thought out and well implemented policy of diversity in the workplace. The company operates in over 160 countries, with employees who belong to 100 different nationalities and speak more than 80 languages. The company’s website states, “We are truly a diverse organization. Our goal is to build an environment of equal opportunities, where each employee can use their unique talents and work style to contribute creative ideas to meet and exceed business and personal objectives.” (Philip Morris International, 2007)

The official website of Philip Morris also stresses how the extensive range of life experiences of its workers help in producing a range of diverse perspectives that nourish creativity and enable the company to bring about superior thinking, excellent results, and powerful competitive advantage. The company encourages employees to come forward and provide direction for initiatives, demonstrate leadership and support ideas. It provides employees with opportunities to engage in the Company’s diversity and engagement efforts. Opportunities include serving on Departmental Diversity Councils and participating in Company-sponsored activities that support the communities in which they live and work. Communication takes place through a variety of internal channels, to inform employees about the benefits of a diverse and highly engaged workforce. (Philip Morris USA, 2007) In a unique initiative the company’s legal department, which has a female component of 39 %, encouraged the law firms that worked with the company to staff the teams handling their cases with women and people from minority communities.

The European Commission carried out a study in 1993, (Broughton, 2004) which, after a comprehensive review of 200 companies as well as detailed case studies found that effective programmes to increase diversity in companies resulted in the following benefits.

·         Fortification and strengthening of “cultural values”,

·         Improvement in corporate status,

·         better pull and retention of highly talented people,

·         improvement in innovation and creativity among employees,

·         enhancement of service levels and customer satisfaction,

·         reduction in labour turnover

·         lowering of absenteeism,

·         improvement in access to new market segments

·         reduction in litigation costs

·         Improvement in global management capacity

HR managers across a broad spectrum of companies in the USA, Europe and the UK are actively involved in diversification programmes of varying intensity and success. There also appears to be consensus among them on its uses in bringing about a number of important competitive benefits.

Now, companies are embracing diversity as a business focus and corporate value. Embracing diversity isn’t just the right thing to do; there’s a strong business case for it. The globalization and proliferation of new retail markets in an Internet-driven world are presenting unprecedented new business opportunities. Via the Web, a company can target its products to virtually any market: African Americans, Hispanics, baby boomers, gays, lesbians, older people, and soccer moms. All of those groups have identifiable and increasing buying power, say marketing experts. Companies recognize the importance of creating workplaces that look like their marketplaces and that do not discriminate based on race, age, gender, ethnic background, religion, or sexual orientation. (Koonce, 2001)
Organizations employing a varied labour force can provide a greater assortment of solutions to problems in operational work. These entrants from dissimilar backgrounds bring individual aptitudes and skills in providing solutions that are adaptable to changing market and customer demands.

IBM has been one of the most successful trailblazers in adopting an equality and diversity approach to business. Under the drive of Lou Gerstner, diversity task forces for each of the equality strands, including one for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people were set up involving employees and senior management. By facilitating change in IBM, they have been vital to increasing IBM’s efficiency and competitiveness. Improvements in IBM’s share of key markets have been spectacular. By targeting groups identified by the diversity task forces and adapting to their specific needs, revenue in IBM’s small and medium businesses have grown tenfold from 1998 to 2003. (Fair for all, 2006)

A diverse collection of skills and experiences (in languages and culture) enables a company to provide service to customers on a global basis. A diverse workforce is also comfortable in conveying differing points of view, as well as in providing a larger pool of ideas and experiences. Diversified organisations can draw from that pool to meet business strategy and customer needs more effectively. Companies that encourage diversity in the workplace also serve as examples of modern liberal thinking, encourage other organisations to assume their roles and instil pride in their employees. This helps in two ways, firstly by enabling maximisation of employee potential and secondly by creating enormous goodwill in the marketplace.

d. Challenges and Dilemmas faced by Human Relations Managers in Managing Diversity

Despite a growing realisation of the benefits of achieving diversity as well as the knowledge of its inevitability, diversity is yet to really make its mark and there are few organisations, whose staff structure represents the demographic structure of their surrounding societies. The political implications of issues related to diversity and the surrounding debates make it exceedingly complex for HR managers to create appropriate and meaningful responses to issues that relate to diversity.  Socio- political discussions of diversity programmes have become replete with politically correct terminology and have assumed a symbolic dimension that frequently tends to overshadow or conceal the actual state of affairs. Individuals who could benefit from such initiatives often end up debased, and resentful of diversity gestures.

Most organizations, despite their stated belief in equal opportunity policies, have practices that range between inclusion and blatant discrimination. These agencies subsequently struggle with issues of gender, ethnic/racial difference, disability, and the sexual orientation of their employees (James, 1996; Minors, 1996). Many agencies, sometimes knowingly, but often unknowingly, develop institutional/organizational barriers that limit the access to services for their clientele and inhibit employment opportunities for their employees. (Allison, 1999)
Most of the challenges that organisations face in implementation of diversity exist below the surface, in unexpressed and subconscious mindsets that come to the fore at the time of taking important decisions. Organisations that have embraced elementary decisions to implement diversity without a clearly articulated and agreed programme are most likely to suffer from such constraints. Such organisations, while publicly known to be non-discriminatory, often condone and accept power and influence differences between sets of employees. Diversity policies become emblematic rather than substantive and the moral and ethical issues become shrouded by the desire to be legally and politically correct.

Multi-culturism often becomes a politically correct façade rather than a focussed objective with the removal of policy barriers  not leading to its implementation on the ground. In such organisations, women, members of ethnic groups, as well as people with disabilities, are welcomed but expected to conform to the behavioural stereotypes of the dominant white groups. Acceptance Issues often exist deep below the surface of organisational culture and the use of power and authority by the management, or by members of the dominant group, (be it on issues like enhancement of responsibilities, interdepartmental transfers, or even in the arranging of office picnics) strengthens and reinforces organisational preconceptions. While some progressive members of the dominant groups do try to alleviate the grimness of the situation, they are incapable of solving these problems on their own.
In many cases, members of the dominant group suffer from a severe lack of exposure to minorities and while sincere in their desire to promote diversity tend to feel much more comfortable with what they feel to be familiar, with consequently undesirable consequences.

The introduction of diversity has, on many occasions, led to adverse reaction from existing staff, and resulted in undesirable actions like harassment and bullying. Bullying and other forms of workplace harassment can relate to and be caused because of sex, religion, creed, ethnicity, physical appearance or just plain dislike. It may also encompass other forms of hostile, intimidating, threatening, humiliating or violent behaviour, which are offensive or intimidatory in nature.

e. Implementing Diversity in Multinational Companies

Diversity as a vehicle of social engineering is under implementation by governments all over the world as an integral part of their political and social agenda. Private sector organisations, on the other hand have their agendas determined by various stakeholders, with the implementation of diversity often suffering because of other pressing priorities. Most of the initiatives taken in the private sector occur in large companies, with smaller organisations preferring to concentrate primarily on their immediate business objectives. Changes in organisational staffing in the smaller companies have happened extremely slowly and progress in diversity implementation has been practically negligible. (Urwin and Buscha, 2006) Public sector organisations, as well as multinational organisations have however been mandated to achieve diversity in a phased and progressive manner. Most such companies have clearly articulated diversity policies in place and managements make serious efforts to meet diversity objectives. NASA, (the National Aeronautical and Space Agency) one of the best-known federal agencies of the USA, has achieved a truly diverse and well-represented workplace. Furthermore, NASA has never made any compromise with quality in achieving its objectives. The company firmly believes that its diverse workforce is its main strength and the main driver of creativity in America’s space programme.

“As the leader of NASA,” said Goldin, “I have the obligation to communicate, communicate, communicate.” Goldin communicates his support of diversity initiatives to the public, legislators, administrators and his employees. “I tell them in the years ahead, three quarters of those entering the work force will be women and minorities, so diversity is a fact of life.” In praising his diverse team of astronauts who recently repaired the Hubble Telescope, Goldin is convinced “Diversity in the workplace brings a better product. We are finding at NASA that diversity has made us a much stronger organization.” (Diversity and NASA, 2002)

The organisation has a clear and unambiguous diversity policy and a specific office, which oversees the implementation of NASA’s diversity policy. A senior official, the Assistant Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity is responsible for a host of diversity functions, including defining objectives, ensuring development of diversity policies, providing training and reporting to congress. Appendix 3 provides an exhaustive detailing of the functions of NASA’s diversity office. (Office of diversity and equal opportunity, 2007) The organisation has backed up bureaucratic intention with actual implementation on the floor and created a truly diverse organisation in which women and non-whites have played stellar roles.

One message that comes across very clearly is the pre-eminence of the multinational companies in implementing diversity in the workplace. While efforts put in by multinational organisations are elaborated in earlier sections of this Literature Review, many of them do not have the levels of commitment shown by public sector organisations for achieving diversity objectives. Apart from large international companies working in global environments, very few private sector organisations have shown the vision or the perception to understand either the social necessity or the competitive benefits that can accrue from implementing diversity in the workplace. Even as companies in the private sector feel the compulsory implementation of diversity to be against the principles of laissez faire or free trade, they persist in violating its basic principles by basing their recruitment decisions upon the comfort levels of working with members of specified sections of society and refusing to consider people from “out groups”. HR managers of such companies persist in building and maintaining organisations with low diversity levels preferring operating comfort to the problems associated with diversified organisations.

3. Research Methodology

a. Research Questions

An analysis of the available primary and secondary material available on the issue of managing diversity in the workplace in multinational organisations with international operations reveals that diversity occupies significant mind space in most such companies. International HR managers and company leaders agree on its need and importance, not just for social engineering aimed at achieving equal opportunities in the work place, but also for improving innovative and creative ability, understanding global cultural diversity, managing companies in culturally diverse locations, and increasing international competitiveness.

Research work and study, carried out until now, also reveals its many benefits, in improving the innovative and creative abilities of organisations and towards the improvement of competitive advantage. Despite the urgent need for achieving social equality of all people, regardless of sex, age, religion, race, or sexual orientation and the enactment of comprehensive legislation the actual achievement of some amount of diversity has been disappointingly low and restricted to government departments, public sector corporations and large multinational companies. This dissertation attempts to investigate the matter further at the primary level. A review of existing material and literature available on the subject thus leads to the framing of the following research questions.

 

The primary Research Question for this assignment is as under.

·         Why do Human Relations Managers of international Companies need to implement and manage diversity in the workforce?

The Secondary Questions are as follows

·         What are the issue and problems faced by managers in implementation of diversity?

·         What measures can improve the rate of implementation of diversity in the workplace?

b. Choice of Research Methodology

The methodology for this assignment consists of distinct functions, which include detailed study of primary and secondary sources in the Literature Review, framing of appropriate research questions, deciding on the requirement and practicality, if at all of conducting primary research, defining and quantifying respondents for primary research, the formulating of the research procedure, recording findings, arriving at conclusions and preparing the final report.

The choice of the basic methodology for primary research depends upon the nature of the assignment and the suitability of different available methods. Primary research strategies involve a choice between Quantitative and Qualitative methodologies for obtaining and analysing data. Both these methods use specialised techniques and require detailed planning, preparation, knowledge of methods of data collection, ability to analyse collected data, both statistically and interpretatively, validate results and arrive at appropriate conclusions. Researchers often choose to adopt one of the two methods; sometimes they use a mix of both, concurrently or sequentially.

Primary research will consist of a series of steps that will include (a) deciding upon the appropriate research methodology, (b) laying down the research procedure, (c) selection of researchers, (d) localising respondents for carrying out research (e) preparing the questionnaires (f) carrying out the interviews, (g) interpreting responses and arriving at findings and lastly (h) arriving at conclusions and preparing the final report

The various research methodologies need examination in detail and assessment in light of the information provided in the Literature Review, for a decision on the more appropriate methodology for the subject assignment. This is also because methods of data collection and choice of analytical strategies support the execution of research and, in the first instance, depend upon the objectives and reasons for the research.

In the subject assignment, the research, which encompasses an investigation into the various reasons that could be responsible for the slow progress of diversity initiatives in the workplace, will be more suited to investigating a few deeply involved people, in detail, rather than taking an opinion survey with large numbers of respondents. Review of published material leads to the conclusion that the spread of diversity in the workplace has been rather limited and research questions therefore focus on the reasons behind the rather slow movement of such initiatives. Rather than focussing upon objective measurement, the study of published material and the research questions deal with issues like “how”, “why”, and “what”, when pertaining to the problems related to diversity in the workplace.  In such a situation, the use of quantitative methods is clearly not suitable and needs elimination.

An examination of the Literature Review, the distinct requirements of this dissertation and the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative methodologies indicate that use of qualitative methods will serve the purpose of research much better. This is primarily because the research will need in depth information from individuals, rather than straightforward responses from a large respondent base.

c. Factors to be considered in formulating Research Procedure

The success of the research assignment will depend upon a number of aspects, namely the proper selection of respondents for in depth interviewing, carefully considered framing of questionnaires, proper conduct of interviews, accurate and painstaking data collection, and the logical interpretation of responses.

It was appropriate, for the purpose of this exercise, to approach three senior HR managers in the UK with significant international experience in the private or public sector. Respondents chosen consisted of two whites and an Asian. All of them are British citizens, with one of the white respondents being female.  The purpose of the research, along with the benefits expected to accrue from the exercise, were conveyed to the respondents, as well as details of the procedures adopted for maintenance of ethicality and guarantees of total confidentiality of identity and information provided.

It was important to structure the contents of the questionnaire and rehearse the flow of questions before attempting interviews. There are three ingredients to a well-designed questionnaire.

·         A clear understanding of the research objectives and the product, concept, or issue

·         An ability to write clear, intelligent questions using the language common to the survey’s respondents

·         Attention to the questionnaire’s flow & logic so respondents are only asked appropriate questions & not asked those that do not pertain to their situation. (Quantitative Research, 2007)

A sample questionnaire, designed on the above lines, is available in Appendix 4.  While the interviews frequently freewheeled off track, it was important to monitor and record the entire conversation.

d. Data collection

Extensive and in depth interviews were conducted with three carefully chosen respondents. All three respondents are in the age bracket of fifty-to-fifty-five. While two respondents are white, one of them being female, the other is an Asian male. All of them belong to the HR discipline, have worked in international environments and have more than twenty tears of experience in small and large establishments.

Interviews consisted of 15 standard questions, all of which are available for perusal in Appendix 4. During the course of the interview, it was essential to rephrase some questions, as well as use additional queries to elicit important information.

The complete transcript of one of the interviews is available in Appendix 5. The other two interviewees, while they are agreeable to the use of the revealed information prefer that publications do not contain extracts of the actual conversation.

e. Limitations

The research topic relates to the need for HR managers in multinational organisations, especially those with significant international operations, to implement and manage diversity in their organisations. The absence of primary research on an appropriately large scale limits the scope of the assignment to what is available from primary and secondary information sources. In addition, any research into a global issue, particularly where the scope of the assignment extends to countries with different cultures, politics, economics, and social structures is limited by the understanding of the researcher of the many variables that come into play.
Great caution has thus been exercised in restricting the scope of the assignment to data from companies that are transparent, in order to be able to use multiple data sources for referencing and cross validation.
4. Findings, Analysis, Conclusion and Recommendations

a. Findings and Analysis

A detailed analysis of the information available in primary and secondary sources gives rise to the following findings.

Practically all civilisations have witnessed the manifestation of prejudice against certain sections of society. While gender prejudice has existed for thousands of years, people of many other social segments have been discriminated against by the dominant segments of society based on race, language, ethnicity, religion, age and sexual preference. This prejudice has also affected the composition of the workplace with the best jobs, in terms of remuneration, responsibility and status going to members of the dominant sections of society.

The spread of democracy, in recent years has led to a realization of the inequities of such beliefs and the growth of initiatives to improve social cross representation and diversity in the workplace.

Measures to increase diversity in the workplace consist of two distinct and separate sets of remedial actions. The first set, which consists of various laws, ensures that active discrimination against certain sections of society is unlawful and liable for punishment. Laws, dealing with such issues, now exist in most countries of the free world. Various legal enactments in the UK make it illegal to discriminate in recruitment, promotion and other workplace related issues because of race, religion, gender, age and sexual orientation, in the UK. These laws work as deterrents to the practice of discrimination in the workplace. Apart from legal deterrents, many countries have embraced a number of positive steps to ensure greater representation of people from different social sections.

Diversity in the workplace has increased at an excruciatingly slow pace, except in large international institutions, and in organisations belonging to the public sector. The rate of change in small and medium enterprises has been particularly slow.

Many major organisations, in the public and private sectors have benefited greatly through achieving diversity in their workplaces. Companies like IBM and Philip Morris and organisations like NASA, have publicly acknowledged that a large part of their competitive edge and success has arisen because of their policy of encouraging diversity, and that furthermore a diverse workplace is essential for meeting today’s global challenges.  The experiences of IBM and Philip Morris reiterate the need for multinational organisations to implement diversity to increase their international competitiveness.

Difficulties in implementation arise primarily because of ingrained historical and cultural traits that managers and workers appear to have difficulty in overcoming despite being exposed to education, training, and modern management practices. While these traits work primarily towards ensuring a workplace that provides a comfortable and familiar cultural ambience, (rather than out of prejudice), it leads to gender bias, and to the discouragement of recruitment, promotions and career upliftment of people belonging to other ethnic groups. Prevention of diversity takes place mostly through practices that remain unacknowledged, and occur below the surface, becoming evident only after decisions for recruitment, promotions, job allocations and transfers are over. Absence of workplace diversity affects the organisation in many ways. In the first instance it builds a reputation of insularity and regressive conservatism, thus hurting the image of the corporation, an extremely important attribute for any company wishing to be globally successful. In addition to hurting the public image, lack of diversity affects the company adversely by frightening away talented people, reducing the amount of the available talent pool, shrinking creativity and innovation, and lessening understanding of other cultures, with adverse results on marketing and competitive ability.

 

 

b. Conclusions and Recommendations

Research Question 1:

Why do Human Relations Managers of international Companies need to implement and manage diversity in the workforce?

The introduction of diversity leads to an improvement in the available talent and genetic pool and often results in very significant improvement of the intellectual capital and innovative ability of organisations. Apart from improvement in the general competitiveness of firms organisational diversity is essential for firms that have international operations. Such firms have great difficulty in operating in different cultural, political and economic environments if their managements are starved of inputs from managers who belong to different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Diversified international teams greatly increase the ability of companies to understand the complexities of working in different environments in various areas, including customer psychology, bureaucratic working, economic and cultural nuances, market needs and various other local factors. The motto of McDonalds, one of the world’s most successful global enterprises, “think global, act local” succinctly sums up the company’s stress on the importance of knowledge of the cultures where the company operates, an approach that is practically impossible in the absence of a diversified managerial workforce. Diversity in the workforce causes a shift in competitive ability, which improves significantly, and leads to much better organisational performance.

Research Question 2

What are the issue and problems faced by managers in implementation of diversity?

The desire for economic and political power by dominant groups appears to be an integral part of human society, evidenced empirically by continuous attempts by these groups to obtain and retain power for themselves, to the exclusion of other sections of society. Resistance to workplace diversity occurs because of a number of factors, which include (a) ingrained mind sets and attitudes about people belonging to other social groups, (b) familiarity with people from similar cultural and social backgrounds, (c) discomfort in working closely and in equal positions with people of other groups, and (d) perceived economic and power threats from women and other social groups.

International HR managers face resistance and pressures from within the organisation to their efforts to bring in diversity in the workplace. Additionally, they may also face obstacles due to the lack of availability of people from other social groups capable of meeting organisational needs, specific training needs of new entrants, organisational lack of understanding of different cultures, need to reframe internal career and promotion policies that should be fair both to the existing employees and to the new entrants, and in framing rules for overseas work that should be appropriate for both local residents and expatriates. It is common, for example, for multinational organisations to have two remuneration structures for locals and expatriates. Expatriate salaries, which as a rule are significantly higher than those paid to local employees, become points of contention, emphasise the unfairness in employment terms, and lead to dissatisfaction, resentment, and exits of people, who otherwise are competent employees and on whom organisations have incurred significant expenses.

 

 

Research Question 3

What measures can improve the rate and nature of implementation of diversity in the workplace?

Considering the complexity of the issue and the deep rooted causes that work against large scale implementation of diversity in the workplace, it would be futile to expect a sea change to occur in basic nature of humankind and anticipate that the current global environment of equality will automatically result in the provision of equal opportunities for all, and lead to increased diversity in the workplace.

International HR managers need to realise that changes in the constitution of the workplace occurs only because of positive intervention, either by self driven activity of certain organisations, or because of compulsions, such as those experienced by multinational and public sector companies. However, it also needs to be understood that the use of force, in cognitive issues like these, could lead to the surfacing of serious resentments, hostile repercussions and fragmentation of organisations.

It is also evident that diversity in organisations takes much longer to happen if positive steps are not taken to hasten its progress. This is evident from the difference in levels of diversity between smaller companies, where achieving diversity is not a priority and in multinational enterprises and public sector enterprises where it has been encourage either because of governmental policy or an appreciation of business realities.

Bringing about organisational changes in workforce structuring is the primary responsibility of the senior management, who need to work with HR managers to further the strategic objectives of the company. Once broad policy decisions are taken, achievement and management of diversity becomes a critical and companywide objective where HR managers need to play multiple roles, namely those of initiators, catalysts, and facilitators, for its successful achievement.

Information available from primary and secondary sources indicates the criticality of the following measures for bringing about diversity in the workplace.

·         International HR managers need to be instrumental in defining and articulating the diversity policy of their organisation. It is simply not enough to be committed to diversity and yet work without a clear policy. The official diversity policy of the organisation shows organisational purpose and becomes the foundation for diversity initiatives.

·         Diversity needs to be encouraged not just in staffing but also in other functions like sourcing suppliers and engaging consultants. These actions act as force multipliers and help in making diversity integral to company operations.

·         The policy must be based on total and transparent fairness not only towards the new entrants but also towards old employees, ensuring the construction of a true meritocracy.

·         The company’s diversity policy need to be publicised through all available channels, including company websites and regular PR channels. This helps in improving the image and status of the company and in drawing applications from members of other social groups to work for the company, thus enlarging the available talent pool significantly.

·         HR managers must make all possible efforts to ensure assimilation of the new entrants into the social fabric of the company. While this task will initially face resistance it is essential for realising the full potential of the new entrants and to reinforce the company’s commitment to diversity.

·         Special emphasis needs to be given to training and retraining procedures for employees, taking account of their different cultures and language skills. Deficiencies in communication need to be specially addressed through  training and education.

·         HR managers must work on charting out career paths and absolutely fair promotion, transfer, and remuneration structures. All employees belonging to other social groups must be made to realise their worth to the organisation and made to feel at ease, comfortable, and equal with the others.

·         Grievance redressal needs to be quick, fair and transparent. Grievance redressal policies often prove to be acid tests for organisations and send out messages that can affect employee morale considerably.

In the UK, diversity in the workplace has remained more a matter of debate, and public concern, than an issue for implementation. Despite a number of supportive laws and apparently sincere professions of the necessity of diversity in the workplace from official websites, progress has been slow and restricted to large companies. It is a matter of concern that there has been absolutely no improvement in the figures of non-white employees, working in concerns with less than 25 employees during the last five years. In the private sector, larger international organisations and companies that have shown the commitment to draft and articulate a firm diversification policy have achieved more success. Little improvement has occurred, during the last five years, in the number of non-whites, in companies that do not have articulated policies.

Achievement of diversity in the workplace is a natural result of the movement for freedom, democracy and equality that has swept the world since the end of the Second World War. It is associated with concepts like equality in the workplace, and equal opportunities for all people regardless of their sex, race, religion, age or sexual orientation. The movement has gained global currency and has become a topic of debate in numerous countries across continents. In a fast globalising world brimming with endless opportunity diversity is essential for the success of multinational organisations that need to work in different global locations.

The process of achieving diversity involves a number of variables, namely existing staff who will continue to work well into old age, the slow growth of business in developed countries, and the suitability of people from other sections to fit into specific slots. In these circumstances, the growth of diverse organisations is bound to be organic and dependent upon growth in the economy. Diversity, as an idea that needs translation into reality is a well-accepted fact and the problem stands with speeding up the rate of change..

The achievement and management of workforce diversity is one of the main functions of international human resource managers and is a task that, apart from being extremely complex, needs maturity, understanding of corporate and human ambitions and needs, concern for human and corporate development, as well as empathy. While the easiest solution to tackling and implementing diversity is to link it with increasing competitive advantage in the international marketplace, such actions are akin to be putting essentially shallow and utilitarian labels on noble and uplifting corporate missions. Human Relations managers and senior managers need to realise that efforts for achievement of diversity will remain hypothetical exercises, aimed to obtain brownie points for their companies, if they are not accompanied by serious commitments to bringing in diversity, not just because it will serve business ends but because it is the right thing to do. Adopting principle based attitudes will lead to ensuring the incorporation of diversity as a primary workforce and staffing objective. It will also thereafter lead to the generation of an array of strategies, policies, and methods aimed at increasing organisational diversity and ensuring its effectiveness during activities involving recruitment, training, absorption and assimilation, promotions, and planning of career progression. The creation of an environment of equality and the desire to create absolutely level playing fields will also automatically lead to the formulation of worldwide best practices in this area as well as to the elimination of unhealthy practices like workplace harassment and bullying.

HR managers need to communicate that diversity in an organisation is as necessary as excellence, and needs fostering at all stages and levels. Relentless communication of the need for diversity will need to go hand in hand with that of organisational commitment to fairness. The message that diversification does not, and will not, involve unfair treatment to people of the majority or dominant communities should be loud and clear.

The UK has an excellent record of tolerance, multiculturalism and fairness in society. Social development and awareness has also reached levels that are conducive to much faster integration of all sections of society into the workforce and provide all citizens with an equally level playing field and dignity of life. Considering the far better performance of multinational organisations and public sector companies, who have  clear policies for fostering diversity it would possibly be a good idea if HR bodies and associations push all their members to consider the need for fostering diversity and ask them to articulate clear internal policies. This could possibly act as an enormous force multiplier and bring in real improvements in the next five to ten years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendices

Appendix 1

Legislation directly or indirectly related to diversity in the Workplace

(Equality and Diversity Policy of Suffolk College, 2006)

1. Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against a prospective or current member of staff on grounds of disability. The Act requires the employer to take reasonable steps to ensure arrangements are in place so that a person with a disability is not disadvantaged. This means that it is unlawful for employers to treat a person or persons with a disability less favourably than those who are not disabled without sound justification. The Act also stipulates that it is a legal requirement for adjustments to be made in favour of people with disabilities. The definition of a ‘disabled’ person under the Act is one who has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial, adverse, and long term effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day to day activities.

2. The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 has resulted in the following changes to discrimination law:

(a) The abolition of the requirement for a mental impairment to be “clinically well recognised” before it can amount to a mental impairment;

(b) Cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis will be deemed disabilities from the point of the diagnosis;

The Disability Equality Duty, implemented from December 2006, is a positive duty which builds in disability equality at the beginning of the process, rather than making adjustments at the end. It will bring about a shift from a legal framework that relies on individual disabled people complaining about discrimination, to one in which the public sector becomes a proactive agent for change. Suffolk College has a Disability Action Group where issues can be addressed

and implemented in accordance with the specified requirements of the legislation.

3. Race Relations Act 1976 (RRA) defines racial grounds as meaning colour, race, nationality or ethnic origins. Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another person who is not of the same racial group. The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) have issued Codes of Practice for the purpose of eliminating discrimination in employment.

4. Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000

The RR (A) A (2000) placed certain requirements on public sector bodies (such as Colleges, government departments, local authorities, the police and NHS) for implementation by 31 May 2002. The general duty is to pay due regard, when carrying out functions, to eliminate unlawful discrimination, and promote equal opportunities and good relations between persons of different racial groups. Under the Race Relations Act 1976 (RRA), public Authorities, including further

and higher education institutions, have a statutory general duty to promote race equality. The duty is made up of three distinct parts: to work to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination, to promote equality of opportunity, and to promote good race relations

5. Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) forbids discrimination directly or indirectly against a person on the grounds of sex or marital status. Direct sex discrimination is when a person is treated less favourably on account of their sex in relation to issues such as recruitment, selection,

training, promotion and selection for redundancy. Indirect discrimination is when an employer imposes a requirement or condition which fewer persons of one sex can fulfil. In exceptional circumstances there may be a GOR.

6. Employment Equality (Sex Discrimination) Regulations 2005 introduce a new definition of indirect discrimination in employment matters prohibiting harassment and sexual harassment in employment and making it clear that less favourable treatment of women on grounds of pregnancy or maternity leave is unlawful sex discrimination. The Sex Discrimination Act was extended in 1999 to make it unlawful to discriminate in employment on the grounds of an employee intending to, undergoing, or having undergone gender reassignment. If it is known to the employer it is good practice to ask individuals how they wish to be treated.

7. Human Rights Act 1998 incorporates a substantial part of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It is important to be aware of and not to breach the Human Rights of individuals as this also can result in tribunal proceedings.

8. Equal Pay Act 1970 states that if a person, male or female, is doing ‘like work’ or work of equal value compared to a person of the opposite sex in the same employment, they are entitled to equal pay. This Act does not permit claims for equal pay with other people of the same gender, or between different employers.

9. Equal Pay (Questions and replies) Order 2003 allows people to question their employer on matters they understand to be discriminatory on the grounds of gender, race and disability.

10. Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 cover discrimination in the workplace such as job applicants and those already in employment. The Regulations also cover the wider category of “workers” as well as those genuinely self-employed. Discrimination is prohibited in the arrangements made by an employer when determining who should be offered employment opportunities, promotion, training and protection from dismissal. This includes discrimination towards someone with orientation towards the same gender (lesbian or gay men), opposite gender (heterosexual) or both genders (bisexual). There can be no justification for direct or indirect discrimination unless in very exceptional circumstances a GOR applies. Care should be taken when considering social gatherings within the work place. For example, invitations should be carefully worded so they are free of bias.

11. Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations (2003) are designed to protect those who suffer discrimination on the grounds of religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief. The Regulations will make it unlawful to discriminate on matters of employment against ‘workers’, which includes employees and contract workers. This means it is unlawful for employers to discriminate in relation to recruitment and selection, employee terms and conditions, promotion, transfers, dismissals and training. People who hold no religious belief are also protected as the regulations do not require the complainant to have a religion or belief.

12. Draft Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. Age Discrimination has become unlawful. These regulations will apply to all people who apply for work. In addition they will cover access to vocational training, membership of trade unions, professional associations, employers’ organisations, and trustees and managers of occupational pension schemes. This includes self-employed people. The Age Regulations will prohibit direct and indirect age discrimination, harassment and victimisation. One of the main requirements expected to arise from this legislation is to abolish employers’ mandatory retirement age below age 65, unless employers can objectively justify such a retirement age.

11.10 The Rehabilitation of Offenders: People with criminal records are protected by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, which makes it unlawful for an employee to take account of (or be informed of) a person’s previous offending history once the conviction has become spent. However, some sentences can not be spent, and others may be ‘spent’ but still have to be declared if the employment involves nursing, social work, working with children in care or people with learning difficulties, handling money or national security (if relevant).

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) was introduced by The Police Act 1997. This gave rise to employees and applicants in sensitive jobs having to give consent to a search being made for details of any previous or current convictions and for employers to be advised of the outcome by way of a Disclosure service.

Appendix 2

A. Average proportion of non-white workforce in companies by industry (Urwin and Buscha, 2006)

 

Industry
1998
2004
Increase (%)
Manufacturing
4.62
5.63
21.74
Electricity, Gas and Water
2.78
5.95
114.11
Construction
2.50
1.62
-35.07
Wholesale and Retail
6.42
6.70
4.41
Hotels and Restaurants
6.85
12.75
86.18
Transport and Communication
5.26
7.70
46.39
Financial Services
2.83
1.69
-40.55
Other Business Services
11.09
10.00
-9.84
Public Administration
3.54
5.72
61.67
Education
4.42
7.51
70.12
Health
7.29
12.10
65.98
Other Community Services
4.73
6.74
42.66
B. Changes in a company’s adoption of formal written Diversity policies vis-à-vis changes in workplace diversity

 

Companies where the percentage change

in the non-white workforce (1998-2004)…
No policy in 98 Policy in 98
No policy in 04 Policy in 04
Policy in 04 Policy in 04
Dropped by more than 10 per cent (-10%)
0.00
2.56
2.06
Dropped by 10 to 5 per cent (-10% to -5%)
0.00
2.38
5.15
Dropped by 5 to 0 per cent (-5% to 0%)
11.11
16.27
17.53
No Change
73.33
25.41
32.99
Increased by 0 to 5 per cent
4.44
31.63
30.93
Increased by 5 to 10 per cent
4.44
10.42
6.19
Increased by more than 10 per cent
6.67 11.33 5.15
11.33
5.15
Total
100
100
100
Appendix 3

Duties of the officials responsible for diversity in the workplace at NASA (Office of diversity and equal opportunity, 2007)

The Assistant Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity reports directly to the Associate Administrator for Institutions and Management and has direct access to the NASA Administrator on all matters pertaining to diversity and EO requirements under Federal law and NASA rules and policy, and pursuant to EO laws and regulations (e.g., 29 C.F.R. Sections 1614.102 (b)(4), and (c) (1), and 1614.607).
The Assistant Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity is responsible for:
a. Providing input to the Mission Support Implementation Plan that describes the organization’s goals, objectives, performance metrics, budget, and alignment of goals with overall Agency objectives.  Executing the MSIP in alignment and support of the Agency mission and Vision.  Managing the MSO functions by reducing institutional risk to missions.

b. Defining diversity and equal opportunity program objectives and top-level requirements.
c. Serving as the principal advisor to the Administrator on diversity and equal opportunity for NASA including civil service and contractor employees, NASA assisted and -conducted programs and activities, outreach initiatives, and educational information.
d. Ensuring the development of diversity and EO policy and strategic program planning, implementation, oversight, and evaluation.
e. Ensuring statutory, regulatory, and fiduciary compliance.
f. Achieving consistency of approach to improve functional performance across the Agency.
g. Providing technical assistance, training, and advocacy to ensure an open and inclusive workplace, fair and equitable decision-making in all aspects of workforce activity, voluntary compliance, and effective and open communication.
h. Administering an effective and efficient EO complaints process, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process, and compliance review process.
i. Monitoring program performance, as well as effectiveness and efficiency of programs and processes.
j. Providing liaison to external organizations performing similar functions and to stakeholders who establish Government-wide policies and requirements.
k. Overseeing reporting as required by Congress, the Office of Management and Budget, and other external bodies.
l. In concurrence with Center Directors, approving the assignment, promotion, discipline, and relief of the principal Diversity and Equal Opportunity official at each Center and assessing their performance.  Provides a written evaluation of the principal Diversity and Equal Opportunity official at each Center, which shall be attached to each individual’s annual performance appraisal.
m. In concurrence with Center Directors, determining the appropriate staffing compliment for Center Diversity and Equal Opportunity offices.
Appendix 4

 

Questionnaire for interviewing respondents to determine answers to Research Questions
Instructions:

1. The sample questionnaire is for use of researchers for in-depth interviewing officials with significant experience of working in large organisations in the UK.

2. All questions are to be used as open-ended and can be reframed for regular conversation, if the researcher so desires.

3. All interviews will need audio recording and transcription into print.

4. The researcher needs to listen carefully, and ask for further details, if the answers indicate that information that is more relevant could be forthcoming.

5. The personal details of the respondents, i.e, name, age, sex, organisation, function, need careful noting in order to ascertain the demographics of the assignment.

6. All respondents must have information of their right to answer, or not to do so, to any of the questions asked, as well as their right to privacy and confidentiality of information given. The respondents also have the right to decide on whether their interview transcription can be included in any publication.

Questions:

1. Please, describe your experience and nature of organisations that you have worked in the UK. 2. How many years have you worked with this organisation?

3. Can we have some details about your education, work experience and any particular skill sets that you may have acquired?

4. Can we have some details about your personal life, i.e, marital status and children?

5. What do you feel about the introduction of diversity in the workplace in the UK? (This is an interpretative question and the researcher will need to softly probe further to extract nuances from the answers)

6. Do you feel that diversity measures and policies in force are adequate? (This question can increase in scope to include more details depending upon the answer)

7. Since when have the organisations you have worked for adopted measures to introduce diversity?

8. Do you know why your organisation decided to introduce diversification measures? (This is a probing question and will need augmentation if answers are not forthcoming. It is important to ascertain the reactions of employees to this initiative, as well as to know whether they support it)

9. Do you think these measures have been successful? (This is an omnibus question and needs further probing)

10. What sort of discrimination do people routinely face during interviews and in the course of their employment? (This is an omnibus question and needs further probing)

11. Have your organisations faced legal liabilities because of unfair discrimination acts or policies? (This is a sensitive question and respondents may well refuse to answer it. Researchers should tackle the issue with caution and sensitivity)

12. What sort of measures help in the assimilation of women, disabled employees and people belonging to other communities into the workforce?

13. Do you feel that measures to increase diversity in the workplace have gained momentum during the last ten years?

14. What information have you been able to obtain from your interaction with members of other communities and women employees?

15. Do you feel that the introduction of diversity needs more emphasis, possibly even compulsion for it to be successful? (This is again a sensitive, but relevant question and respondents may well refuse to answer it. Responses will be important and researchers the issue should be tackled with caution and sensitivity?

Appendix 5

Transcript of interview with one of the respondents for primary research

The respondent is a 55-year-old Asian male, an MBA from a famous institute, and has 30 years of experience in international organisations in banking and industry. He has served on the boards of British and German companies. He was also a Senior Vice President with one of the largest international banks.

1. Interviewer: Please, describe your experience and nature of organisations that you have worked in the UK.

Respondent: Well it has been a long journey. While I have spent time in the UK when I was in college and used to visit the country regularly during my career with (X) bank, I got my first good offer from a major UK bank in 1989. The children were very young when we shifted and both of them are working now. In the UK, I worked with two major banks and was on the board of the investment-banking subsidiary of one of these organisations. I am also on the board of an Asian owned company and take an active interest in its functioning. It has given me a good opportunity to look at how different companies function in different ways even though they belong to the same environment. I also have a stake in a management consulting company, which works in the banking and loan syndication space.

2. How many years have you worked with this organisation?

Around six years, I joined as the CEO of one of their divisions. I have been director in charge of investment banking for four years now.

3. Can we have some details about your education, work experience and any particular skill sets that you may have acquired?

Very standard, rather boring. I finished my MBA in 1977 in finance and joined (X) Bank as a trainee directly from the campus. I was with these people for 12 years, right until I came to London. Banking is multifaceted and I must have worked in all areas. As a regional manager, I controlled three countries and the experience was very rewarding. Further education, I must say has happened only through training sessions at various levels. I never was able to go off and get my Ph.D. It is a matter of regret. As far as skill sets go, I presume skill sets pertain to banking, finance, corporate strategy, managing people, things like that.

4. Can we have some details about your personal life, i.e, marital status and children?

Yes, sure. I am married. We have two daughters. Both of them grew up in the UK, went to good schools. They are integrated and think of the UK as their country. English boy friends. No desire at all to go back to heir homeland

Are you happy with this?

Not really, I think they should know about both, the country of their birth and adoption. Maybe it is our fault. We should have brought them up in a more traditional atmosphere.

5. What do you feel about the introduction of diversity in the workplace in the UK?

It is a very complex subject, and much easier to talk about than actually go and do it. Of course, all of us want integrated and diverse workplaces.

Why?

It is the fair thing to do. It is an equal society. You cannot have some communities working as dustmen and the others in offices all the time. Maybe this is an exaggeration but it is the essence. Why do we have democracy? Why do we talk of equality?

Apart from this I personally think that companies miss out on many things by not taking in more women and Asians. Women are very perceptive and Asians, especially in SE Asia, China and India are doing excellent business, both locally and globally. We need to get rid of these blinkers.

Apart from these issues, do you think organisations also benefit?

Organisations will start benefiting only after the process gets really going and people from other communities settle in properly. The first years are always difficult. There are going to be teething troubles. Some people who have come in will not be upto the mark. There is a certain amount of resistance from the existing employees. At (X) bank the atmosphere was truly cosmopolitan and equal. There were lots of women and people from all nationalities. They were chosen on merit, trained rigorously and located in foreign locations to open their minds up. The situation is not the same in the UK. We are behind the times. The bank was definitely doing well and I am sure the diversity of the talent pool helped in many ways.

6. Do you feel that diversity measures and policies in force are adequate?

The UK has many laws that effectively prohibit people from discriminating in the workplace, either at selection or later on in the organisation. Therefore, people have protection against overt discrimination. In most cases, the prejudices are internal and never expressed. They become evident only some times and then again are covered up fast. However, the laws do help in stopping people from taking unfair decisions. Victimised people, especially women, as well as Asians and Africans have gone to court on many occasions and won. Laws do help to a certain extent. However, I am sure that much more can be done but it is not going to be easy. You can pass a protocol at Kyoto but enforcing it is another issue.

7. Since when have the organisations you have worked for adopted measures to introduce diversity?

Official policy regarding diversity has been there in these organisations since the mid nineties. Ironically it s the Asian company that I am associated with that does not have a diversity policy and they need to do so. Diversity has to work both ways if it is to be fair.

8. Do you know why your organisation decided to introduce diversification measures?

I feel that a number of reasons lead to these policy changes. Primarily it is a nice and politically correct thing to do and it is better to have policies that are in consonance with governmental beliefs. The non-executive directors on the boards also exercise pressure to make organisations socially responsive. I personally do not see the reason why there has to be a policy to be fair in dealing with humans. Companies need to be fair in their attitude to people and just writing it down appears to be farcical. I do not think companies trumpet that they do not intend to cheat people. It is just the correct thing to do.

9. Do you think these measures have been successful?

We do have an improvement but we are far away from being representative of the demographic structure of society. We are consciously trying to increase the percentage of female representation, which is not more than 30 % now. The company also does not really have any bias about keeping people out because of their sex or sexual orientation. Changes will come about very slowly.

10. What sort of discrimination do people routinely face during interviews and in the course of their employment?

I presume you are asking about the groups that need integration. During interviews, there is just no discrimination. People here are not like that. It would be foolish for someone to reveal his parochialism during an interview.

And during the course of the job?

During the course of the job people are more comfortable with their own communities and this does influence their responses and behaviour to some extent, not a great extent but yo some extent.

And do these responses result in unfair decisions?

Sometimes yes, but very rarely

And do people protest?

Generally, no

11. Have your organisations faced legal liabilities because of unfair discrimination acts or policies?

Once, but the ruling went in our favour.

12. What sort of measures help in the assimilation of women, disabled employees and people belonging to other communities into the workforce?

I suppose normal behaviour, in the true sense of the word, is the most effective and the most convincing.

13. Do you feel that measures to increase diversity in the workplace have gained momentum during the last ten years?

Yes, of course they have. Sexual orientation and age are recent concepts. The large number of employable people from the ranks of women, Asians and Africans also helps. Mixed schools help. It is becoming better each year. There has been a sea change from what I am told was the situation when the migration from the Caribbean islands first happened.

14. What information have you been able to obtain from your interaction with members of other communities and women employees?

I feel they are optimistic about the future. They are certainly not despondent and downbeat. They get good salaries, live comfortable lives. It would be very wrong to think that they lead existences that are overshadowed by prejudices and discrimination. People feel comfortable at a social level with their own communities. Maybe people from different sections do not socialise together but they are quite comfortable with the thought of working with each other. Incidences of discrimination are going down; people are getting to be more civilized.

15. Do you feel that the introduction of diversity needs more emphasis, possibly even compulsion for it to be successful?

No, absolutely not. Commitment of injustices has been outlawed. That is enough. Now things will change, with time. I am absolutely sure. Compulsion will just upset normal working and introduce an unnecessary variable.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Allison, M. T., 1999, Organizational Barriers to Diversity in the Workplace. Journal of Leisure Research, 31(1), 78+.

Armstrong, P, 2004, Managing diversity in the workplace: representation of difference in The Office, SCUTREA Conference, http:// www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/142023.htm

Anderson, Terry H., 2004, The Pursuit of Fairness: A History of Affirmative Action. New York: Oxford University Press,

Black Enterprise, 1993, The challenge of managing diversity in the workplace: corporate America is responding to the changing demographics of the work force with a variety of diversity management programs, Retrieved August 10, 2007,  from http:// www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1365/is_n12_v23/ai_13220969

Broughton, R, 2004, Report finds that diversity policies can improve business performance, Eironline, Retrieved August 10, 2007 from  http://eiro.eurofound.eu.int/2003/11/feature/eu0311208f.html
Bryman, A, 1992, Quantity and Quality in Social Research. London: Routledge.

Bryman, A. L. 1995, Research Methods and Organization Studies. London: Routledge.

Darlington, Y., & Scott, D., 2002, Qualitative Research in Practice : Stories from the Field /. Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin.

Diversity and NASA, 2002, Final Frontier, Ad Astra to the stars, Retrieved August 10, 2007 from www.nss.org/adastra/volume14/v14n5/contents/V14_N5_F1.pdf

Equality and diversity policy, 2007, Suffolk college, Retrieved August 10, 2007 from www.suffolk.ac.uk/about/EandDPolicyJan06.pdf

Equal opportunities, goals and objectives, 2001, department of health, Retrieved August 10, 2007 from www.dh.gov.uk/…/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidanceArticle/fs/en?CONTENT_ID=4009523&chk=yoyVa1 –

Fair for all, 2006, Good LGBT practice in the NHS, Retrieved August 10, 2007 from www.lgbthealthscotland.org.uk/documents/Good_LGBT_Practice_NHS.pdf
Fine, M. G., 1996, Cultural Diversity in the Workplace: The State of the Field. The Journal of Business Communication, 33(4), 485+.

Fishbein, Harold D, 2002, Peer Prejudice and Discrimination: The Origins of Prejudice, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,

Harrison, L., 2001, Political Research: An Introduction. London: Routledge.

Hennebry, J. L. 2004. Winston Jackson, Methods: Doing Social Research. The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 41(1), 95+.

Henderson, G., 1994, Issues and Strategies Issues and Strategies. Westport, CT: Praeger

 

Henderson, George, 1994, Issues and Strategies Issues and Strategies. Westport, CT: Praeger, Hodges-Aeberhard, Jane. “Affirmative Action in Employment: Recent Court Approaches to a Difficult Concept.” International Labour Review 138.3 (1999): 247.

Kaplan, Marion A., and Schleunes, 1990, “Jewish Women in Nazi Germany: Daily Life, Daily Struggles, 1933-1939.” Feminist Studies 16.3 : 579-606.

Koonce, R., 2001, December, Redefining Diversity: It’s Not Just the Right Thing to Do. It Also Makes Good Business Sense. T;D, 55, 22+.

Office of diversity and equal opportunity, 2007, NASA, Retrieved August 10, 2007 from nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/npg_img/N_PD_1000_003C_/ODEO.doc

Omvedt, G, 1993, Reinventing Revolution: New Social Movements and the Socialist Tradition in India. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe,

Philip Morris International, 2007, Retrieved March 21, 2006 from http:// www.pmicareers.com/corporate/eng/get_to_know_pmi/what_we_look_for.asp?item=5;

Philip Morris USA, 2007, Retrieved August 10, 2007 from http:// www.pmusa.com/en/about_us/our_people/diversity_organizational_engagement/default.asp

Quantitative Research, 2007, Campbell Delong Resources, Retrieved August 10, 2007 from  www.cdri.com/market_research/quantitative04.htm

Quantitative Research Considerations, 2004, Quantitative Research, Chanimal, Retrieved August 10, 2007 from www.chanimal.com/html/quantitative_research.html –

Steihm, J, 1194,  Diversity’s diversity. In D. T. Goldberg (Ed.), Multiculturalism: A critical reader. Oxford: UK: Blackwell.

Urwin, P and Buscha, F, 2006, Changing Gender and Ethnic Diversity in the UK Workplace: What Can We Learn From the 2004 WERS?, Westminster business school, Retrieved August 10, 2007 from www.wers2004.info/pdf/Urwin_Buscha.pdf

Wyeth, 2007, Retrieved August 10, 2007 from http:// www.wyeth.com/careers?rid=/wyeth_html/home/careers/shared/banners/diversity.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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