Equal Opportunities Versus Diversity Management

Topics: Affirmative action, Discrimination, Management Pages: 11 (3616 words) Published: March 9, 2011
Individual Assignment

Organisational Behaviour

Equal opportunities versus diversity management

Executive Summary:
To gain insight into equal opportunities and diversity management we will define them. We will then look at the differences between the two statements. By gaining knowledge around the differences we will investigate what affect it has on organisations in their efforts of improving diversity. It will be looked at in the South African context. The next step will be to look at cornerstones reach by organisations this far. As a conclusion we will look at the implications this has on management and the skills they will need to affectively manage diversity. Equal opportunities versus diversity management:

To understand the statement of equal opportunities versus diversity management we first need to look at its definitions and what each statement means on its own.

How does one interpret equality? The promotion of equality act (4/2000) defines equality as “the full and equal enjoyment of rights and freedoms as contemplated in the Constitution and includes de jure (by right) and de facto (in fact) equality and also equality in terms of outcomes”. By reading Theo Wingrove’s book on affirmative action it becomes clear that equal opportunities derived from the term affirmative action. Vincent Williams (as quoted by Wingrove, :7) gives a good definition to substantiate this. “Affirmative action is about empowerment – about creating opportunities, mechanisms and structures to allow disempowered groups to develop their education, political, psychological and economic capacities in a sustainable manner.” In the South African content affirmative action “addresses the disadvantages caused by poor education, prejudice, segregation, job reservation, racism, lack of political rights and unequal distribution of wealth” (Wingrove, :7). However there is a very clear distinction between the two as with affirmative action it favours a designated group while equal opportunities does not make a distinction but only focuses on equal opportunities for all. In other words equal opportunities highlights the fact that each person no matter who they are or where they come from need the opportunity and the necessary training to become the best they can be. With that being the objective of equal opportunities we have to note that equal opportunities can only be successful once all the disparities between all diverse employees are successfully brought to a level where there is complete equality. To achieve this objective the Employment equity act, (55/1998) was implemented with the sole purpose of this act being the achievement of equity in the workplace. This is done by eliminating unfair discrimination and by implementing affirmative action measures to redress the disadvantages of employment which was and is experienced by designated groups. This is done to achieve equitable representation in all occupational categories. Better understanding of this is equal representation of minorities on all, both junior and senior levels of the corporation.

Diversity management is the transformation or affirmative action and its main goal is “to change the workplace to be more representative of the population as a whole.” (Grant, 2007:2) So what does diversity management mean? Let’s break it down. There are many different definitions of diversity but ultimately it comes to the same. The Definition of diversity is the representation of “the multitude of individual differences and similarities that exist among people” (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2008:37). Diversity on its own means different. Thus, in the people context, each individual human being is unique and no one is the same. In some cases these differences seem more important than others. For example a person’s age or skin colour, gender of race, where they stay or what they earn, their religion or believe and so we can list many differences. It can be concluded that diversity is...

References: • Kreitner, R. Kinicki, A. (2008) – Organizational Behaviour, Eighth Edition. New York: McGrow –Hill/Irwin p2-62
• Wingrove, T
• Thomas, R.R. (1990) From affirmative action to affirmative diversity. Harvard Business Review, 107-117.
• Ehlers, L. (2005) Human resource management practice. Module reading, ABSA management development program: 2005
• Grant, T
• SA. (2000) Promotion of equality and prevention of unfair discrimination Act, 4 of 2000. Cape Town: Government Gazzette, no. 20876, 9 February 2000
• Anon (1998) Measuring diversity part 1: get the definition right and it is easy to measure
• Anon (2009) Diversity Training – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diversity _training (date of access 21 February 2010)
• Olver, K
http://www.diversityworking.com/employerZone/diversityManagement/?id=7 (date of access 21 February 2010)
• McArthur, E.K () Managing diversity for success
http://www.diversityworking.com/employerZone/diversityManagement/?id=14 (date of access 21 February 2010)
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