Managing Cultural Diversity

6595 Words Oct 25th, 2012 27 Pages
HRDI 3:4 (2000), pp. 419–433

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What is managing diversity and why does it matter?
Sharon Mavin and Gill Girling University of Northumbria at Newcastle

Abstract: In the UK, human resource practitioners and academics alike are becoming more aware of the emergence of managing diversity. But what does managing diversity actually mean, how does it translate into practice, and what does it matter? The following paper brie y debates the rhetoric of managing diversity and considers whether managing diversity is a distinct approach to managing people or a means of diluting equal opportunities in UK organizations. With respect to the realities of the concepts in UK organizations, empirical data from a survey of sixty UK
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In a recent report (1999), a Department of Education in America described managing and valuing diversity as a key component of effective people management, arguing that it focuses on improving the performance of the organization and promotes practices that enhance the productivity of all staff. Their dimensions of diversity include gender, race, culture, age, family/carer status, religion, and disability. The de nition provided also embraces a range of individual skills, educational quali cations, work experience and background, languages, and other relevant attributes and experiences which differentiate individuals. In the UK, managing diversity has only recently come into fashion and subsequently gained pace since the mid-1990s. To date there is a lack of critical evaluative research and literature to support a common understanding of the concept of managing diversity, what impact it has on equal opportunities and what this actually means in practice in UK organizations. Existing literature relating to managing diversity can be broadly categorized into two groups, the first of which can be seen as doing little more than reiterating the traditional arena of equal opportunities (see Cooper and White 1995; Copeland 1988; Ellis and Sonner eld 1995). The second literature group views managing diversity as going far beyond the conventional approach to equal

Mavin and Girling: Managing

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