Managing for Inclusion: Equality and Workplace Diversity (Workplace…
Managing for Inclusion: Equality and Workplace Diversity
Workplace diversity & the need to manage it
- Term used to describe differences among individuals
Age, race, ethnicity, gender, physical characteristics (height, weight etc.), mental and physical ability, personality, sexual orientation etc.
Workplace diversity therefore refers to differences among people at work
Religious beliefs, educational attainment, experience, family status, parental status, pregnancy etc.
Is it necessary to ‘manage’ diversity?
28% born overseas, third highest in the world
– Overseas-born residents contribute to more than 50 per cent of population growth – over 300 languages
– Those born in Europe are declining while those born in Asia and Africa are increasing
Indigenous Australians comprise of approximately 2.4% of the population
– Over the next 50 years, approximately 1⁄4 Australians will be 65 years or older
– Increasing labour force participation of women
– Increase in dual-earner households with dependent children, single-parent households, and the ‘sandwich generation’
One of 4 core labour standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) – Elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation
Anti-discrimination, equal opportunity, and affirmative action legislation in Australia
Social identity theory
Social identity theory stipulates that individuals validate their social identity by favouring their ‘in- group’ at the expense of ‘out-groups’
Individuals perceive that it is ‘easier’ to communicate with other members of their in-group as they are more predictable, trustworthy, and more likely to reciprocate favours
A shared social identity increases perceived differences between individuals belonging to different social categories (i.e. between in- and out-groups)
Social dilemmas of workplace diversity
The success of organisational diversity initiatives is dependent upon the degree to which its employees embrace/resist them.
– Formation of subgroups along social categories may result in restricting the movement of information
A consequence of the dilemma of individual participation
Managers likely to recruit individuals they perceive to be similar to them (i.e. their social category)
Individuals may also seek out managers that are similar to them
Those that do not ‘fit in’ often leave resulting in a homogenous workforce
Can result in ‘power battles
Dependent upon how well the social dilemmas relating to individual and managerial participation are addressed
– Incorrect perceptions in relation to the relationship between homogenous workers and employee turnover
Belief that diversity initiatives benefit society not organisations implementing them, organisations bear the costs and accrue little benefit.
– Focus on short-term costs and not long-term benefits
– Creates barriers for selecting highly talented candidates due to ill informed and short sighted views
Solutions for social dilemmas
The management problem
- overcoming individual & managerial participation
The public policy problem
– overcoming organisational participation
The glass ceiling
A phenomenon that limits the advancement of women and other minority groups to senior managerial positions in organisations.
Overcoming the glass ceiling
Changing societal norms around the role of women and eradicating gender bias
Eliminating the stigmatisation of men who choose to stay home for family reasons
Introduction of paid-parental leave schemes, especially for men that goes beyond ‘one week.
Introducing gender quotas for company boards
Realising that a more representative blend of women and men in senior roles just makes good business sense