Equality, Diversity and Disadvantage in Employment

By Mike Noon; Emmanuel Ogbonna | Go to book overview
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3 Managing Difference
Fairly: An Integrated
'Partnership' Approach

Nelarine Cornelius, Larraine Gooch and Shaun Todd


This chapter reviews the current debate about the concept of diversity management in organisations and its relationship to equal opportunities. It is concerned with the role managers play in the management of diversity initiatives, why this involvement often fails to deliver permanent change in organisational culture, systems and structures and how managers might work in an integrated 'partnership' within their organisations to implement diversity successfully. In particular, we have drawn our ideas from the European and North American traditions and literatures on equal opportunities and diversity management.To highlight a number of our views, a case study from the railway industry is presented to illustrate key points. Our broad conclusions are that a multidisciplinary and multifunctional approach is most likely to sustain the long-term and deep-rooted changes necessary for successful diversity management.


In essence, much diversity management has 'evolved' from the area of equal opportunities, and indeed in practice the two terms are often used interchangeably. However, it would be fair to say that the common understanding of 'traditional' equal opportunities is most closely associated with the legal aspects of managing equality of opportunity and the making good of different treatments that are grounded in biases and inequality. Typical activities include the auditing of sources of direct and indirect discrimination, and interventions aimed at rectifying historical imbalances in access to opportunity, such as positive or affirmative


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