Are equal opportunities and diversity management interchangeable terms or different approaches to the management of people?
In the UK, the labour market is becoming progressively more diverse which presents several opportunities and difficult challenges for organisations and managers to address. This mounting diversity of workers is accompanied by patterns of labour market inequality and discrimination. The purpose of this essay is to explain the different forms of discrimination which can occur within organisations before defining the terms equal opportunities (EO) and diversity management (DM). It will examine if these terms are interchangeable or different approaches to the management of people.
Discrimination is described as “an unfair treatment of a person, racial group, minority, etc; action based on prejudice or the ability to see fine distinctions and differences (Collins English Dictionary, 2013). According to Pincus (1996) discrimination manifests itself in the workplace on 3 levels: individual discrimination, institutional discrimination and structural discrimination. Pincus also states “individual and institutional discrimination are intentional forms of discrimination”. These forms of discrimination are outlined in the following way:
• Individual discrimination – “the behaviour of individual members of a race, ethnic or gender group intending to have a differential or harming consequence on another a race, ethnic or gender group” (Wilton, 2011).
• Institutional discrimination – “policies of a dominant race, ethnic or gender institution and the behaviour of the individuals who control the institution and implement policies intended to have a differential or harmful consequence on a minority group” (Wilton, 2011).
• Structural discrimination – “policies of a dominant race, ethnic or gender institution and the behaviour of the individuals who implement these policies and control the institution
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