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Perceptions of Diversity in the Workforce

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Introduction/Research Objectives:

Diversity Management:

Diversity Management has been defined as accepting that the workforce consists of diverse individuals. Diversity could be on the basis of work-style, age, background, sex, race, disability, personality (Kandola & Fullerton, 1998). A productive environment could be created by embracing these differences where everyone is contributing at their highest potential and feel appreciated while they achieve company goals and objectives (Kandola & Fullerton, 1998).

Company Profile:

The organisation for primary data collection is from the Pharmaceutical sector having 40% stake in the market and an annual turnover of £21 Million (Fig.1.1). With over 160 types of medicine production, this company is Britain's 3rd largest Medicine Producer. 300 employees work between 3 sites of manufacturing, packaging and the corporate office. About 150 employees, most of whom are either African or White work at the main manufacturing site; at the second packaging site there are about 130 employees of mixed origins contribute while at the corporate office, out of 30 people, most are women, of Indian origin except one and also most employees are below the age of 40 (Fig.1.2). The company vision is to maximize inclusion to drive greater business results and sustainable competitive advantage (BL, 2004). This would be achieved by fostering a culture that embraces differences and drives innovation thereby, achieving a skilled, high-performance workforce that reflects the global market place.

Research Aims and Objectives:

  • The main purpose of this dissertation is to research people's perception of diversity and the effects it has on the workforce of a company. This will be investigated with the help of a questionnaire, interview and a tracking log conducted among the employees of the company from all designations.
  • It would be imperative to research the positives of having a diverse workforce and how they contribute in achieving the company objectives, differently. The trials and tribulations faced by them owing to their diversity will be looked into and methods to tackle them will be discussed.
  • Open questions in the survey would include: Share an experience where the organisation supported your religious needs?
  • Through this research, old theories of diversity will be revised, extended and applied to creating new knowledge which would have theoretical and/or practical application. It will not only simplify and add meaning to existing definitions but also create new understandings of diversity.
  • Considering the industry sector at the time of recession, many people have lost their jobs, mainly those who are not British nationals. Hence, the question is: how will an organization create profits if all the diverse individuals who contribute to the company objectives have been dismissed. Therefore, in this project, the question addressed is: What are people's perspectives of Diversity and how does it affect an organisation.

Literature Review:

Diversity – definitions:

This section covers some of the theory and research on Workplace Diversity which is of particular relevance to this research. It is important to define "diversity" for the purpose of this project. CEO of Proctor & Gamble, Alan Laffey said that 'A diverse organisation will out-think, out-innovate and out-perform a homogenous organisation every single time' (P&G, 2009; Skinner, 2001).

Diversity can be defined as a mixture of people with different group identities within the same social system (Fleury, 1999). There are many definitions to diversity, in essence it includes culture, race, geographic origin, ethnicity, gender, nationality, functional or educational background, physical and cognitive capability, language, lifestyles, values and beliefs, sexual orientation, physical abilities, social class, age, socio-economic status, and religion (Dessler, 1998; Ferdman, 1995). The National Council for Voluntary Organisations defines Diversity as the integration of age, gender, sexual orientation, religious preferences, disability and ethnicity without biases into society (NCVO, 2007). According to CIPD, diversity has multiple levels like that of Social Category Diversity that includes demographic variances like age, gender, ethics and race; Informational Diversity which embraces organisational variances like that of education, experience in the field and utility and lastly, Value Diversity encompasses psychological differences like that of attitudes, behaviour and personality (Worman – CIPD, 2005). According to Anderson and Metcalfe, completely diverse people working together may lead to conflicts owing to diversity in their ideologies, experience, personalities, culture and attitude among other variables. Organisations that promote creativity need to find a way to satisfy such differences and lay out ground rules to ensure successful team working. Thereby, it assures competitive edge owing to the creativity and innovation brought by diverse perspectives in products, service pattern and methods of working. The downside is that organisations need to ensure that this does not let employees lose their individuality in the race to fit in (Anderson & Metcalfe, 2003).

'Diversity' is often associated with 'ethnicity' as in case of American Indian/ Alaska Native MBA students showed 89% in a survey. Least association was seen in case of Asian-Indian MBA students which showed 67%. 'Gender' was seen to be the second most common associate among all survey groups. It showed strongest association of 78% among American Indian/ Alaska Native MBA students and least association of 43% by Asian-Indian undergraduates (Fig 2.1, 2.2). Among all survey groups, Latino/Hispanic undergraduates associated 'diversity' with 'language skills' while Asian-Indian undergraduates relate 'diversity' with 'religion' and American Indian/Alaska Native undergraduates connected 'diversity' with 'age' (Black Collegian, 2006).

History of Diversity and Legislation:


The concept of diversity came into power in 1990's (Gatrell and Swan, 2008). In the 70's, 80's and early 90's the need for diversity in the workplaces in UK grew because of the diminishing talent sources as well as to curb the discriminatory HR practices that were carried out against colour and gender. The first piece of legislation to be passed to support diversity was the Equal Pay Act 1970 legislates against discrimination between men and women in relation to their terms and conditions of employment followed by Sex Discrimination Act 1974 which made it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of gender. After these came the following pieces of legislation:

  • Race Relations Act 1976 – protection against discrimination on the grounds of 'race or ethnic or national origins.'
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995 – protection against discrimination for disabled people.
  • Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003 - made it unlawful to discriminate against workers on the grounds of religion or belief.
  • Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 – made it unlawful for employers to discriminate against or harass a person on the grounds of sexual orientation.
  • Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 – made it unlawful to discriminate against individuals on the grounds of age.
  • Equality Act 2006
  • Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.
  • (Daniels, 2008) Diversity training and interpersonal learning was introduced to help diverse workforces bridge the gaps between their education and cultures.


The fundamental essence of diversity is based on its policies. To understand this, it is essential to know what a policy is. Organizational policies are a bunch of fundamental codes and relevant directives, devised and imposed by the presiding body of an organization, to express and limit its conduct while aiming for long-term objectives (Business Dictionary, 2009). An organisations goals, strategies and practices can be affected by a recognized set of broad, open directives, devised after an investigation of all internal and external aspects. Corporate policy is devised by the organisation's executive board to lay down the organisation's objectives to known and predictable state of affairs and circumstances. It also determines the creation and execution of strategy, and directs and limits the strategy, verdict, and deeds of the organisation's employees in accomplishment of its aims (Business Dictionary, 2009).

A policy is meant to balance individual and personal rights while safe-guarding the nation. Due to the ethnic and diverse mix in USA and Europe, the new diverse workforce required equal opportunities and diversity issues to be sorted out at the fore front ((Kandola and Fullerton, 1994; Cox, 1992). Hence, these countries have created policies and laws that protect diversity and promote equality (Dass and Parker, 1999; Kirton and Greene, 2000; Lawrence, 2000; Woodhams and Danieli, 2000). It was created to eliminate discrimination faced by black and ethnic minorities (Healy & Oikelome, 2007). In the 1990s, the NI office initiated the Policy Appraisal and Fair Treatment guidelines (PAFT) which span across areas of religion and political beliefs, ethnicity, sex and race, disability, sexual orientation, age, marital status and those amid dependants. After its establishment, all new policies needed to satisfy the above mentioned nine equality sets (Bagilhole, 2007).

Diversity Policies in SMEs v/s Large Corporations:

According to Carrell, a policy that focuses on eradicating discrimination and bringing about fairness would help focus on overlooking differences and integration. However, he observed through a study that 70% of his respondents were from small companies while 30% were from companies employing 500 or more employees (Fig 3.1). 46% of this total had policies professing employee diversity in place of which 42% said that their policies were executed only in the last 5 years. 53% of the respondents in all said they do not have a written policy in place to enforce diversity and among them, only 7% opined of having discussed such an issue in their company (Fig 3.2, 3.21) (Carrell, 2006).

Some SME's opine that they are simply too small to employ a diverse range of individuals while others find it convenient to hire within the family. In such enterprises, diversity management can create a platform for new products and diverse clientele and networks which is overlooked in their short-sighted vision (European Community Programme, 2007). While SME's harangue the increase in competition, they fail to see how innovation with the help of diversity can provide them with sustained competitive advantage. Other identifies benefits are reduced absenteeism, turnover, time wasted or lost, higher client loyalty and brand value and also, access to wider markets. Some SMEs that implement diversity policies feel that it not only increases an employee's sense of belonging to the company but also their commitment and dedication to the job. The informal learning obtained from knowledge and skills gathered by working with diverse teams can also be of great competitive advantage (European Community Programme, 2007).

Determining whether an organisation is diversity friendly is simple. Typically, large organisations have an entire page devoted to diversity and workforce friendly policies which are also available in print on request. A study revealed that 76% of senior global executives opine that their companies have 1 or no minorities (Fig 4). In some cases, in an effort to increase diversity levels, minorities are placed in positions that would add no value to their career graph. Hence, they choose to not be part of the organisation (Diversity Jobs, 2009). Looking at any large company like Coca Cola, General Motors and Nike among others, their common factor is their recognition of diversity being their key to direct and spanning sales. In order to have a diverse external environment, it would help to have a diverse internal environment as well in terms of contacts, approaches and skills (Eaddy, 2003). Contrary to the notion of diversity practices in Multinationals, the challenges faced by them were discussed among 50 academics, senior executives and HR professionals from multinational corporations at the Global Workforce Roundtable Summit at London in 2006. Some of the challenges faced are the dismissal of diversity policies as an "American notion", the extent to which these practices need to be developed in order to be trickled down the ladder and implemented, getting people down the ladder to embrace the concept of diversity policies and take initiatives in its implementation (Global Workforce Roundtable Summit, 2006).

Research Evidence

Perspectives on Diversity:

The Jewson and Mason Model (1986) is states that there are two perspectives on equality and diversity:

I. The equality of opportunity or liberal approach introduces fair procedures to offer access to institutions, services, social positions and resources.

II. The equality of outcome or radical approach refers to affirmative action for historically discriminated and disadvantaged groups (Gatrell & Swan, 2008).

The liberal approach to equal opportunities is described by a belief of an individual or their imagined capabilities and merits rather than structural sources of inequality. This approach believes that these barriers can be removed such that individuals find a way 'to make the best of themselves' (Jewson & Mason 1986: 314; Gatrell & Swan, 2008). The main objective of this approach is to make sure people are treated equally at the work place (Jewson & Mason 1986: 315). Emphasis is on an individualistic view of fairness and equality rather than a group based approach that encompasses equal and free competition among people (Kirton & Greene, 2004). In the radical view, 'ability', 'skills', 'talent' and merit are socially constructed norms by powerful dominant groups and that inequality is produced as a result of these social practices (Jewson & Mason 1986: 315). Hence, individual merit is not a neutral term but a criterion to filter out diverse candidates from jobs and opportunities based on a socially valued judgment (Gatrell & Swan, 2008). Thus the radical approach looks at equality as a form of social justice centring on checking the outcome of procedures and its effects of different groups and equalising the outcome rather than the opportunity (Richards 2001: 16; Gatrell & Swan, 2008).

The Business Case is another model for managing diversity and is related to bettering "economic productivity and service delivery and depoliticising models of social relations (Blackmore, 2006; Gatrell & Swan, 2008)." It harnesses differences so that a productive environment may be created that not only benefits the individual but also the organisation (Kandola & Fullerton 1994:8). A diverse workforce brings material benefits to an organisation such as increased profit, creativity and representative customer care (Gatrell & Swan, 2008). It is seen as an investment rather than a cost and rejects 'the notion of justice for an instrumental, utilitarian model (Kirton & Greene, 2004).

The Social Justice Model favours a structural explanation of inequalities based upon the concept of social justice (Kirton & Greene, 2000:5). This mode of diversity management can give rise to increased quality of outcomes for individuals as well as groups as it highlights heterogeneity of difference within social groups while taking into account that difference is not a individual possession but socially constructed within social relations (Kirton & Greene, 2000; Ferreday, 2003). This model acknowledges that some differences matter more than others as shown in the research conducted by Ahmed et al. (2006), Hunter & Swan (2007) among others demonstrates that race & gender have a significant consequence on the admission to paid work, working conditions and experiences and possibility of discrimination (Gatrell & Swan, 2008).

Cultural Diversity Model addresses how diversity can be used as a tool to achieve competitive advantage in an organisation. This model was viewed from the social responsibility goals of an organisation which is a fraction of the constitution of diversity management. According to Cox & Blake (1991), focussing on seven areas of effective diversity management can lead to a company's sustained competitive advantage like education programs, cultural variances, prejudice free human resource management schemes, diversity mindset, heterogeneity in race/ religion/ ethnicity, organisational culture and higher vocation resource acquirement for women i.e. extinction of glass ceiling (Parhizgar, 2002). Glass ceiling is an organisational prejudice or a bias in attitude that prevents women and minority groups from progressing to higher leadership designations in an organisation (Princeton, 2009). Researchers contradict this theory as they don't find the connection between diversity and organisational competitive advantage. In Cox's view, in the 1970s monumental organisations were leading USA that did not give importance to diversity or the essential HR function. Instead of being given a fair chance, minority groups were expected to acculturate themselves to the norms set by majority groups i.e. in this case, white men. Pluralistic organisations that came into power in the 1960s, implement diversity management in ways of recruiting minorities, monitoring for fairness and providing diversity training and programs. A key difference between a pluralistic organisation and a multicultural organisation is minorities group are not only employed and value but also identified as key contributors and formally as well as informally completely integrated into the organisation. Cox and Blake also created a model in 2001 that claimed 5 cyclical steps to a successful multicultural organisation. The five steps are leadership, research and dimension, academic backing, coalition of management systems and follow up action steps (Stahl & Björkman, 2006).

The effect of diversity on performance in an organisation is still unclear. Its effect maybe positive or negative in some situations and also sometimes there may be no effect at all (Barrett-Power & Shaw, 1998). Research based on race has shown that diversity in teams can yield benefits as well as costs (Campion, Medsker and Higgs, 1993; Guzzo & Dickson, 1996; Jackson, 1991; Magjuka & Baldwin, 1991). A team can be defined as "a distinguishable set of two or more individuals who interact independently and adaptively to achieve specified, shared and valued objectives" (Salas, 1986). Organisations depend upon teamwork to improve quality, experience of work, product and customer service for their members (Guzzo, 1995). Teams are believed to be vital tools for solving problems and making decisions in a highly complex, international environment (Tjosvold, 1995). Magjuka & Baldwin (1991) found that within a group, diversity showed positive effect on job performance in a sample of 72 manufacturing teams. Some studies have shown that diverse groups (based on race) are more creative and make better decisions than homogenous groups (McGrath, 1984; McLeod and Lobel, 1992) but they can also be less cohesive, less satisfied, have less conformity and more prone to turnover (Jackson, Brett, Sessa, Copper, Julin and Peyronnin, 1991).

3 Level Impact of Diversity:

Individual Level:

Diversity creates an impact on three levels: individual, group and organisation (Nkomo, 1998). "At an individual level, key variable in understanding diversity are culture distance, perceived similarity, a sense of control as well as culture shock (Triandis, 1997). According to previous research by Berry (1984), an individual goes through an "acculturation process" which is; assimilation, separation, deculturation and integration. With assimilation, the culture that is dominant in the group becomes the standard and individuals try to live up to the standard. With separation, majority cultures and minority cultures do not merge as individuals from the minority cultures distance themselves from majority cultures. In deculturation, the individuals of minority cultures lack strong ties with the group as they neither have ties with their own minority culture nor with the standard majority culture. Integration refers to the state where individuals change to a certain extent to accommodate the common norms and standards (Berry, 1984). If an individual from a minority culture is unable to adapt, the group is considered to be at fault instead of the majority culture (Nkomo, 1991). The Alteration Model suggests that minority individuals need not be forced to practice a particular, standard culture or adapt to their own minority culture. They can become competent in multiple cultures and use what is required of it in a context. This may also be known as "code-switching" where an individual uses a language that best suits a context (LaFromboise, Coleman and Gerton, 1993).

Group Level Diversity:

At a group level, diversity can give rise to emotional conflict or task related conflict within a group. Task related conflict will increase group performance while emotional conflict will hinder performance (Kottke & Agars, 2004). In a group research on diversity, it was found that readily observable factors (surface level) are important for group development but deeply held values and beliefs (deep level) are decisive in group processes that yield group outcomes (Stockdale & Crosby, 2004). Group composition has been investigated as surface and deep-level diversity (Harrison, Price and Bell; 1998). Surface-level diversity maybe defined as differences in age, sex, race, ethnicity and other biological characteristics while deep-level diversity maybe defined as differences in behaviour, attitudes, morals, values and beliefs that require interaction to be understood.

Organisational Level Diversity:

Many consultants and academics argue that organisational level diversity is essential to serve the 21st century consumer (Gardenschwartz and Rowe, 1993; Morrison, 1992; Thomas, 1990; Wilson, 1997). Diversity makes an organisation more effective by bringing a lot of creative perspectives to the table. This has served as a base for many claims that suggest that diversity is a resource and strength for an organisation (Adler, 2003; Dobbs, 1998; Thomas, 1990). O'Reilley et al. (1997) conducted a research in an organisation that gave primary importance to employee diversity. They found that within the organisation's groups, diversity created positive performance-related results. Studies show a negative as well as positive effect in organisations as ethnic groups or minorities perceive themselves less likely to advance in an organisation than majorities. Ethnic groups when exposed to majority groups are more susceptive to emotional conflict (Kizilos et al.; 1996). This creates a branching in the hypotheses as the attraction and social categorization theories suggest that diversity will cause a negative effect on organisation performance while only information and decision making theory suggests that diversity promotes organisational performance (Jarry & Pitts, 2005). Information and decision making theory is based on educational and functional diversity and not ethnic diversity. Hence, it forms a weak basis against two prominent theories (Jarry & Pitts, 2005).

Diversity Management

According to CIPD, managing diversity stands for valuing people for who they are; whether they are customers, clients, or even employees, they are all fundamentally diverse. Diversity management is not about identifying a single constant individual difference but about recognizing different individual changes and their ability to create a large scale impact and create dynamic changes (Mullholland, Ozbilgin and Worman; 2006). Managing diversity is meant to bring people from different areas and thought processes together to ensure self development as well as production of superior quality results. It is meant to nurture creativity and innovation by caressing diversity while creating an atmosphere of creative genius and healthy competition (Leader; 2009). The University of Vienna describes diversity management as a strategy or a business plan to perceive, promote, acknowledge implement and preserve essential competencies within an organisation (University of Vienna, 2007). Diversity management stresses the necessity of indentifying cultural variances Between sets of employees, and making rational grants for such differences in policies within the organisation (Thomas, 1990).

There can be a few negative consequences of diversity management like that of the trainer's values expressed in a training program. The trainer's values are just one's point of view and not the universal truth and yet it is forced upon unsuspecting trainees during a program. Some trainers may have ulterior motives or discreet agendas and usually training occurs too late. Diversity training is often looked upon as a band aid, a quick fix if you will a shortcut to a difficult situation. However, quick fixes are prone to disintegrating fast. A psychological disadvantage is the creation of an image that the trainees have some issues in dealing with diversity. Also, the definitions of diversity are often too narrow and under-expressed with the focus on diplomacy rather than honest opinions. Trainers chosen are also often based on which minority group they represent rather than how well they train (Public Personnel Management, 2002).

A study among companies that provide diversity training revealed 33% who said that their efforts were quite or extremely successful. 30% said their efforts were quite successful while 3% opined extreme success. 50% of the firms opined neutral or varied results while 13% said their results were quite unsuccessful and 5% opined extreme failure (Fig 5) (Public Personnel Management, 2002).

On understanding the effects of diversity, it is useful to know how diversity can be managed. Every individual is different from another in matters of age, education, gender, values, physical ability, mental capacity, personality, experiences, culture and the way each approaches work (Jamieson and O'Mara 1991: 3-4). Diversity advantage can be obtained by realizing, acknowledging and valuing these differences and creating an environment that appreciates these attributes - by being flexible enough to meet needs and preferences – to create a motivating and rewarding environment (Jamieson and O'Mara 1991: 3-4). Managing diversity is not only about handling issues on discrimination but also making sure that everyone is contributing to their maximum potential to achieve the organisation objectives (Argott, 2008). Diversity management does not mean only increasing opportunities for women and minorities. It means increasing competitive advantage by taking those diverse variances and creating a comprehensive atmosphere where each can contribute and make a difference (Larson, 2004). This concept covers everyone including the white and middle class males while focussing on movement and culture within the organisation and meeting business objectives (Argott, 2008). Diversity Management differs from Equal Opportunities in its lack of reliance upon positive action or affirmative action (Kaler, 2001). Diversity training is training to increase the contributor's knowledge, skills and awareness of different cultures. This would prevent civil rights violations, promote team work and also provide opportunities to different minority groups (Kalev, Dobbin and Kelley, 2006). It is an effective way to broaden diversity in an organisation and also, increase an individual's ability to cope with it (Vaughn, 2007).

Present Day Diversity Management

Hudson carried out a national survey as a result of witnessing a friend who was denied a job, promotion or increased salary as a result of their ethnicity. The survey conducted in USA in 2005 throws light on startling figures of 31% among African-American employees and drops to 18% among white workers (Fig 6.1)(Hudson, 2005). One out four (23%) employees opined that they know someone who has been treated differently on the basis of their gender. African-American women are more likely to make this claim than others. 23% of workers polled that they do not work for employers who actively promote diversity and 13% are unsure whether their companies have a formal diversity program. 64% of them work for diversity promoting firms (Fig 6.2), 20% of employees know someone who has been treated differently based on their gender and 18% know someone whose been discriminated against based on their ethnic or racial variances (Fig 6.3). These statistics increase to 32 and 29% respectively with workers in non-diversity promoting companies. Employees working for large or multinational corporations are said to report a statistic of 76% for supporting diversity and its programs (Hudson, 2005).

Since this report, two approaches to managing diversity have been founded. One is that which defines diversity in relation to equal opportunities and affirmative action only (Carrell, Mann & Sigler, 2006). Affirmative Action can be explained as taking measures towards the depiction of women and minority groups in terms of employment, edification and commerce in which they have been ostracized throughout history. This method includes preferential assortment i.e. selection on the basis of race, colour, ethnicity among other. Hence, it is a subject of great controversy (Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2009). The other point of view argues the broader concept is inclusive of differences of the people i.e. considering that team members consist of different ages, genders, races, ethnicities and demographic categories to the likes of sexual orientation, religion among others (Carrell, Mann & Sigler, 2006). Hudson's survey called for the implementation of the narrow point of view. However, more recent studies have shown that affirmative action does little to sort out the causative agents of inequality, bias and injustice and does not contribute to the enhancement of opportunities open to men and women in the workplace (Thomas, 1990).

Xerox is among the top employers who enforce diversity. They are ranked among the "Top 50 Corporations for Supplier Diversity," "Top 50 Companies for Diversity" and "Corporate 100." They focus on four key areas to enhance diversity management like that of communiqué, CEO dedication, staff demographics and purveyor diversity. Xerox has been found to give more opportunities to Hispanics in the USA and also been named the national #1 in women's employment opportunities. At Xerox, a Supplier Diversity Program is mandatory for all employees especially those of middle management. The power of this program lies in the recognition of the strength in adversity right from the entry level to the top management (Poder 360, 2009). Xerox employees being diverse; act as campaigners in recommending and negotiating with diverse clientele. Xerox partnerships with diverse suppliers to finance and contribute to their business while profiting from it (Xerox, 2009). They call this their pioneering practice that brings them results (CSR, 2005).

AstraZeneca (AZ) is one of the leading pharmaceutical companies who employ over 65000 people worldwide. Formed by the merger of Astra AB of Sweden and Zeneca Group PLC of UK, AZ brought together the merger of likeminded vision and diversity in race, religion, age, gender, ethnicity and skills (AstraZeneca, 2009). Here, diversity is looked upon in the broader sense and utilized to create high performance teams with the help of sharing ideas and discussing strategies across the board. At the heart of their vision, is the creation of true cultural diversity. Hence, they create small programs and global initiatives to embed diversity (AstraZeneca, 2009). Here, diversity is focussed on three areas – workplace, workforce and marketplace. At the workplace, the forefront of their diversity promotion activities is the ENG's i.e. Employee Network Groups. This allows employees to share their opinions and provides mentorship opportunities and while creating a viable atmosphere for innovation and creativity (AstraZeneca, 2009). Marta, a Hispanic employed in AZ feels that it is not just a pharmaceutical company but an organisation that applies varied strengths to a shared cause. AZ takes a holistic move toward developing multicultural capabilities through an assortment of activities to recognize wants and needs of a client, their inclinations and where they fall on disease state gamut (Pedrero, 2006). AZ is committed to creating equal opportunities and their constant challenge is to enforce diversity aptly in their workforce while integrating it into business strategies. Of the 82 reporting senior managers, 21% are women (Fig 7.1) (AstraZeneca, 2009). A survey conducted at AZ in 2006 revealed that 63% of their staff believed that the organisation supported equal opportunities for all workers; 69% women and 70% men opined of confronting no discrimination at the workplace and 81% were happy with their career prospects at AZ (Fig 7.2) (Hyde, 2007). AZ was the joint winner of the Female FTSE Award in 2007 (Hyde, 2007). According to the Working Mother's Magazine, AZ was voted among the top 100 companies for working mothers in 2004 (AZ Encyclopaedia, 2004).

Diversity and Pay

Organisations may realize the value of diversity but yet how can value added by diversity training be measured? One of the leading techniques is bridging manager's salary to efforts and results from diversity practices. Huge corporations like that of Palmolive of Colgate fame and Corning and Quaker Oats are utilizing this method. The Cultural Diversity at Work editor opines that the link between a manager's pay and diversity efforts helps in increasing focus on accountability in firms which is an initiative that is yet to be fully enforced. Enforcing accountability would require a standard of erudition and sophistication in organisations which is yet to be attained. Most organisations are afraid of a total change in systems that diversity practices demand to ensure full success.

In case of Palmolive, the Executive Incentive Compensation Plan is implemented as two thirds of annual salary awarded based on financial achievements i.e. profits and sales; one third is subject to four or six objectives linked with working projects. This practice is global and the effort focuses on women, people of African American origin and Hispanics. Palmolive looks at this plan as a grave communication tool which helps in tracking goals and enforcing it shows how serious the company is with regards to diversity.

In case of Corning and Quaker Oats, managing diversity is a key marking factor during performance appraisals. The company looks at performance to make sure all minority ethnic groups were considered equally including women during recruitment and whether they have been marked fairly during appraisals. Constant checks are made to ensure the eradication of bullying of minorities at the work place (HR Magazine, 1992).

The Local Government is the choicest employer for many minority groups. 71% of the organisation are women and the gender pay gap is lesser i.e. 14% unlike the wider environment where it is 18% (Fig 8.1). The difference in pay between white and dark complexioned, minority ethnic workers is also because of the kind of work that each does. Pay is assigned on the basis of the grade of job completed. According to this study, even the lowest paid worker in the Local Government is better paid than their private sector counterparts. In 2002, 60% of the first year's intakes in the National Graduate Development Program were women (Fig 8.2)(Local Government, 2002). Johnson & Johnson was voted #1 in the DiversityInc Survey for 2009. CEO and Chairman, William Weldon opines that Diversity is of supreme importance and not to be ignored in any economic climate as it is the penultimate source of competitive advantage (DiversityInc; 2009). However, with the current economic climate, redundancies are evident. Hence the real question is whether Diversity is being valued and whether its practices are specific and measurable. In the bigger picture, one may wonder whether a homogenous workforce has any relation with compensation.


Theoretical Backing

"Positivism" proclaims that natural sciences are apt for social phenomenon study and only observed phenomena can be considered knowledge. Knowledge is then enlarged by the accrual of proven facts. Hypothesis are then derived from scientific theories and tested empirically. Observations have the final say in theoretical disputes. Objective enquiry can then be carried out with the help of distinct values and facts (Bryman, 1988).

'Interpretivism' is said to be the Critique of Good Reason as according to Kant (1781) there are other methods of knowing the world other than simple observation which is used by everyone (Ritchie & Lewis, 2003). The school of thought that emphasizes on interpretation as well as observation in comprehension of a social setting is Interpretive. Kant ruled that perception is also related to human interpretations and an individual's knowledge of the world is based on his understanding, not just from singular experiences. Knowledge and its comprehension transcend empirical enquiry and draw distinctions between scientific and practical reason (Eisner & Peshkin, 1990).

The following research has used positivism and interpretivism as a foundation.

Why Qualitative Analysis?

Qualitative research encompasses interpretive practices of activities in a setting that translate the world into many different representations like that of interviews, recordings, surveys, questionnaires, field-notes, conversations and the like (Ritchie & Lewis, 2003). Researchers attempt comprehending situations in natural settings with respect to the meanings people give them (2000:3).

The main aim of this project is to derive an in-depth understanding of the policies and practices in the company, with the help of research participants by learning about their experiences, social and emotional circumstances as well as histories (Ritchie & Lewis, 2003).

By using qualitative analysis, one would be able to examine a phenomenon in depth while not being bound to defined variables and being open to subjective variants (Denzin & Lincoln; 2000). In this method, new concepts, theories and patterns can be invented and investigated and it gives an opportunity for exchange of significant responses between contributors and the study locations (Pope & Mays; 2000). Having open ended questions in an interview or a questionnaire, gives participants a chance to respond in their own words and emotions unlike quantitative methods where fixed variables must be chosen. It is a method of collecting rich data (Schensul & LeCompte; 1999).

Viability of Other Research Options:

Quantitative Methodology has been discounted as it does not segregate individuals and social establishments from the occurrences in the world (Schutz, 1962). It has been argued that the measures and concepts created by the scientists reveal a supposed rather than real value (Bryman, 2004). Hence, there would be a question of reliability and validity of the data. Also, since analysis of relationship will occur in the form of variables, it creates a stagnant perspective of social existence which is independent of people's lives (Blumer, 1956: 685). Complex questions are often difficult to answer using quantitative methods. Hence, it would be unwise to use quantitative research in such a setting where an in-depth analysis is required with ontological understanding (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005).

There is scope for a mixed method approach but with respect to the amount of data to be collected and the time at hand for the research, the method would not be viable. The biggest disadvantage of a mixed method approach is the large amount of time consumed in data collection as well as analysis. It would also require the researcher to be an expert in both qualitative as well as quantitative research methods which cannot be expected. The validity of a mixed approach has often been under the radar as to how theories and paradigms of qualitative as well as quantitative research can be compatible (Jupp; 2006). Hence, it would be appropriate to employ a rigorous qualitative approach.

Ethical Issues:

Research participants have a right to know the nature and consequences of experiments in which they contribute (Mill & Weber, 1957; 1949). Hence, the participants have been informed of their rights and also regarding the progress of the research over the due course. Voluntary participation has been furthered by the agreement to disclose full and honest information. Deception of any kind is not part of this research (Bulmer, 1982). All information has been discussed openly with only the participants. Privacy and confidentiality code of ethics insist that people's identities and research settings are safeguarded (Reiss, 1979). Intervention and advocacy took a step back in this research as the primary focus of this research is not to coach employees out of their emotions but to understand their point of view and channel their emotions to the profits of the research (Stewart, McGoldrick & Watson; 2001). Disclosure of private knowledge is the singular, most harmful, likely source in social science. Hence, all data collected has been shielded and made public only under anonymity. The cardinal principle of any research is ensuring accuracy in data collection and analysis which has been implemented (Bryman, 2004).


Participant Observation

In this research, participant observation has been used extensively. Participant observation has been defined as a method in which a research participates in the daily routines and rituals of a group of people in order to learn the tacit as well as explicit facets of their life as well as culture in the setting (DeWalt; 2002). By being part of the company, patterns and themes have been observed from conversations with employees regarding how valued they feel. Hidden activities have been discovered as well as the thirst of a researcher has been quenched with the unexpected data that one is confronted with (Werner & Schoebe; 1987).

Data Sources:

In collecting this data, three methods were implemented; observation, interviews and tracking logs. The data was collected from employees of the corporate office as well as both of the manufacturing units to get a whole picture as well as rich data (Trochim; 2006).


Employees were observed daily in their cubicles, meetings, lunch hour and breaks. On site, field notes were kept during the day in a diary and typed up for numerous hours at night. The author was on site for 2 months gathering this data and worked at all 3 locations to make sure her data was a whole picture. She worked as an HR intern thus working in the same context as the employees, facing the same pressures and also allowing private conversations with employees for the divulgence of confidential information. Often employees would come to her, close the door and pour their hearts out regarding some incidents that occurred.

  • Recruitment of a receptionist depended upon age, gender, and ethnicity. Resumes received from women less than 22 years of age were rejected as were resumes from men of any age or background. Resumes received from white women above the age of 22 were looked upon favourably.
  • While creating a database of employee details it was discovered that almost all but one employee of the corporate office were of Indian origin. All posts, irrespective of whether executive or assistant were given to either British Indians or Indians on visa.
  • At the manufacturing units, there were a large number of Polish immigrants and hardly any Indians. There were a sizeable number of Africans and Pakistanis and an equal distribution of age, gender and languages.
  • However, all employees were found to be heterosexual individuals. This lack of diversity in sexual orientation overlaps with the homogeneity seen at this organisation.
  • It was also observed that the salary offered by the employer was relatively lesser than other pharmaceutical companies to the likes of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. The pay was found to be a few pence above minimum wage. This also led to high employee turnover.
  • Most employees at the corporate office were found to be below the age of 40.
  • Most employees were dissatisfied with their career prospects and wished to derive sizeable work experience before moving onto better paying companies.
  • There is no HR function and all HR matters are decided upon by the CEO. Ensuring diversity is not a definite criterion and there is no policy in the past or present to encourage diversity in the organisation.
  • Majority of the corporate office spoke one regional language even during meetings instead of English as a common language. This was prevalent in the manufacturing units as well where polish was frequently spoken.
  • Even while hiring for the important post of Quality Control Expert, resumes from British White or British Indian Women were sort out. Such observations make the data richer to interpret as well as interesting for a researcher.


At each location, 3 men and women of different age groups and religion were interviewed for an hour each. Interviewing different ethnicities was not possible as mentioned before; the organisation employed mostly Indians in the corporate office and Polish immigrants at the manufacturing site. These interviews helped create a bond for sharing and openness and also provided a platform to discuss issues of importance to the research like that of homogeneity v/s diversity. The questions asked were based on the current working atmosphere and most answers used past employment as comparators.

In additional interviews, employees were asked about the support they receive to fulfil their religious commitments, disability support and formation of a diversity policy or forum.

Tracking Logs:

Each employee was requested to fill in a short paragraph on what they thought and faced with regards to diversity on that particular day as well as a metaphor to describe their day. This log was filled daily and helped in forming patterns between diversity and many other variables like that of sales, performance, meetings, targets among others.

Data Analysis

Data was analysed using two techniques namely that of Narrative Analysis and Metaphorical Analysis. Narrative analysis is the analysis of a sequence of events with focus on differential evaluation of various themes and perception variances between past and present, how present shapes the past and how together they shape the future (Alvares & Urla; 2002). According to Polkinghorne (1988: 153), during an interview, people use narration as method to make a whole of their temporal experiences and form a pattern to unite various themes in their lives. By using this method of analysis, a researcher can see how individuals tie together various circumstances with different, important relationships in life. Word choice, stories, body language, and in general, an individual's interpretation of who they are and what they do gives an inside view of what the employee feels while giving insight to a researcher (Reissman; 1993).

Metaphorical Analysis is analysis of metaphors in a text, script or vocal conversation. A metaphor correlates the characteristic of one entity with something completely different. It is a potent method of making subtle concepts more defined. For example, "this method of analysis is a tool"; tool is a metaphor (Morrison; 2002). This came from the research that stated that people think it terms of images rather than words. Hence, they connect the mental image with what they feel (Schiffman & Kanuk; 1997).


1. Biased Recruitment:

The age discrimination law was formed in 2006 which made it unlawful to recruit based on the age of an individual (Age Concern; 2009). What the law can control is what in put in writing in an advertisement. However, what the law cannot control is who is recruited. It was observed that even though the advertisement made no mention about biases based on age, gender or ethnicity; in practice, there were set standards as to who was to be recruited. This goes against the liberal approach of the Jewson & Mason Model. This approach echoes the values of "sameness" i.e. all individuals are treated the same way regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, background or any other biases (Kirton & Greene; 2004).

2. Homogeneity at the workplace

With respect to the homogenous work environment of Indians at the corporate office or Polish at the manufacturing outlet or even heterosexuals only in the organisation brings light to the common phenomena. Even though companies are becoming global today, they still tend to tie themselves with their roots. This completely negates the theory of the Business Case that opines that diversity brings productivity at the forefront creating efficient and innovative teams with high performance abilities (Wilson & Sayers; 1996). In applying the Business Case, one would employ the person who is best for the job regardless of their age or ethnicity. An organisation that applies the Business Case would consist of a creative, competitive workforce with a diverse customer base which is ready to meet the changing demands of the environment (University of Bath; 2006). In the theoretical model by Fisek, Berger & Norman (1991) that predicts contribution between homogeneous and heterogeneous groups; heterogeneous groups were found to perform far better owing to their differences that forged similarities (Ridgeway; 1992). The Social Justice Model also embraces heterogeneity as a social relation that encourages differences rather than forging similarities (Adams, Bell & Griffin; 1997).

3. Salary

It was observed that the pay offered by this organisation in question is extremely low when compared to their competitive counterparts. At the organisation in question, no benefits are provided and the pay is a few pence more than minimum wage. A job that is worthy of £22000 per year at AstraZeneca is worthy of only £14000 at this organisation. Many employees opine that this may be the reason why the workplace is dominated by Indians. Another employee echoed that a white man would not work for such wage. Some employees opined that many Indian students spend thousands of pounds in UK for higher education that they take on loan; thus, on getting a job in UK after the course, they are desperate to pay off their debts and hence, are willing to work for a meagre wage. In 2001, there was a huge uproar when laws were altered to as to allow overseas immigrants for short periods of time for professions that had a short supply of qualified individuals. History repeated itself when it was found that Indians were brought over for short spurts of time for IT jobs and their UK counterparts were thus dismissed. This was because of the amount that the company paid for Indian labour when compared to UK counterparts (Chai Samosa; 2009).

4. Diversity & HR Function

Diversity goes hand in hand with the HR function with respect to recruitment, selection, talent management, motivation and overall development of people. HR managers are said to be in the best position to drive diversity through the workforce for implementation of policies and practices. CIPD also supports this view and also champions the diversity agenda as part of the HR Function (Personnel Today; 2007). According to the Executive Recruiter Index, 68% of the executive recruiters opine diversity efforts being spearheaded by them instead of HR. Other champions of diversity were found to be in favour of the company's board of directors (13%) and HR function (11%) (Fig 9.1)(CPA Practice Management Forum; 2008). However, there are statistics that can disprove the above. In a survey conducted among 121 HR professionals; 50% have staff dedicated separately for diversity related issues only while 14% have a diversity department outside that of the HR function. A whopping 70% have diversity departments within the HR function (Fig 9.2, 9.3). Another survey conducted among HR professionals with a diversity department showed 79% enhanced corporate culture, 77% helped in recruiting new employees and 52% cultivated better customer relations (Fig 9.4) (HR Briefing; 2001).

5. Language at the workplace

In this organisation, it was observed that 64% of the staff at the corporate office spoke an Indian, regional language at the workplace and often to clients as well. The rest of the office was not familiar with this language and opined that it was extremely rude for them to be around regional speaking individuals. Some of the 36% are paranoid. They think they are being spoken about every time someone speaks in this regional language around them. There are two major issues with language, namely that of accent bias and discrimination. Gossip is said to be an important form of casual organisational communiqué which has been documented extensively. Many foreigners or bilingual individuals tend to speak in their native tongues when they wish to speak about their work, someone at work or anything that troubles them at work (Teboul & Speicher; 2007). The US Equal Employment Opportunity Communication passed a regulation that requires employees to speak in English at all times as part of the terms of employment. An individual is prohibited from speaking his primary or native tongue at the workplace. Not adhering to the above would lead to a discriminatory work atmosphere which should be prevented at all costs (Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly; 2009). However, an employer is allowed to create restrictions to the above regulation if it interferes with performing work (HR Magazine; 1995). There has been no research evidence on regulations pertaining to language biases in UK. However, there is a minimum requirement in English tests for any overseas applicant to ensure smooth communication (UK Visa Bureau; 2009). In the European Union, 11 languages have been declared official to the likes of Danish, Dutch, English, French, Finnish, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish (Guardian; 2001)

6. Personal opinions

Of all the employees interviewed, 90% said there was no diversity in the workplace with 30% who said there was possibility for career advancement (Fig 10.2). Some of the metaphors documented were blunt to the likes of "worked like a black dog" or 'boss is like a bull spitting fire' or 'we aren't slaves any more, when will they realize" or 'surrounded by thumb-sucking babies' or 'blonde secretaries are after all blonde' or 'caged like a black dog in a Muslim land'. It showed that most of the employees felt like they were slaves who were overworked and underpaid. They looked at the employer as the enemy who ruled over them. The few employees above the age of 40 looked at the rest as incompetent children working in an adult environment. The employer wished to employ a blonde secretary as that would superficially show diversity in the office. The employer is also offering a measly pay of £12000 per year which he believes a blonde would accept. On many an occasion, the employer has called the HR function a flesh eating virus that eventually kills the organisation. It is clear that neither the employer nor the seniors in command have acute knowledge as to how much value HR can add to the organisation. With change in society comes change in the workplace. Hence it is essential to manage this change effectively. A manager is not as well equipped as an HR manager to deal with such change. Thus, it is imperative to have HR in an organisation (University of Cambridge; 2009). Lastly, Prophet Muhammad of Islam preached that dogs were impure and brand black dogs to be of the worst kind which had to be killed. Hence, dogs are ill-treated and abused in most Muslim countries (Islamic Concern, Newsweek; 2002). Using this in the work context shows how badly an employee feels like he is treated and also how an employee thinks so as to discriminate himself from the rest in this way. These metaphors were taken from the tracking log created by the employees and gave an insight into the stereotypes created in the mind's eye of an employee due to working in an atmosphere where diversity is shunned. This shows that the organisation does not realize the profits of using diversity as a tool for competitive advantage as in case of the Cultural Diversity Model. Multicultural diversity can be stifled by organisational processes but organisational culture also implies acceptable behaviour, attitude and body language which contradicts the basic principles of underpinning diversity (Thomas; 1990).

Issues to be Addressed

Maternity Cover:

At this organisation, you are allowed a year off with hundred pounds pay for the year if you are pregnant. There has been no documentation regarding paternity leave. Four years back, the compensation was only 80 pounds a year. Hence, it is evident that the organisation is looking to only get by with the legalities rather than making sure employees are content and comfortable. It would be imperative to looks at the maternity cover offered by competitors as a comparative. AstraZeneca offers maternity leave of 13 to 18 weeks fully paid and paternity leave consists of two weeks of full pay after twenty six weeks of service. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) offers a fantastic maternity cover. Women with over 56 weeks of work experience at GSK have two options: one is that of 26 weeks of fully paid leave or that of 20 weeks of full paid salary and then 13 weeks of Statutory Maternity Pay with a higher flat rate of £112.75 and 13 weeks unpaid. Paternity leave is two weeks of fully paid leave with occasional leave allowance (The Guardian; 2007).

Most women (74%) at the organisation where this research was conducted opined that the Maternity Cover was very unattractive and did not prompt them to come back after the birth (Fig 10.3). They also felt undervalued for all the work and loyalty they had shown to the organisation.

Diversity Training:

59% employees felt there is need for diversity training in the organisation. The rest 41% did not feel diversity would change the work ethics at the work place (Fig 10.4). However, diversity training as mentioned before is an essential component in the creation of a multicultural organisation. A study conducted by S&P500 showed that organisations conducting diversity training showed an annual average return of 18.3% over five years. Organisations that did not conduct diversity training programs showed an average annual return of 7.9% (Fig 10.5) (Glass Ceiling Commission; 1995). There is no training of any kind in the organisation in question. It can learn from its competitors like GlaxoSmithKline. GSK has a diversity policy that provides for Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Awards. They have a Diversity & Inclusion Committee (D&IC) which runs diversity awareness programs and monitors diversity throughout. GSK is also committed to employing disabled employees. The research organisation has no disabled employees. GSK also provides training of all kinds that would enhance individual as well as organisational performance (GSK Report; 2008). GSK was the #2 Multicultural Pharmaceutical Company in UK in terms of sales (Joycen Consultancy; 2005).

Promotions based on experience and performance:

83% employees felt that promotions were based on favouritism rather than performance or experience (Fig 10.6). Favouritism exists among the employer and people closest to him who consequently are of the same ethnicity as the employer himself.

Safe Haven Creation:

Employees were asked whether they would fancy the creation of a safe haven to promote diversity or also the creation of a policy. 69% of them opined positively to the creation of a policy as they thought that maybe the stringent beliefs of another culture were being forced upon them in a nation where the culture is completely different. 87% felt that creating a safe haven to promote diversity is pointless in an organisation that does not support multicultural communication (Fig 10.7). Even though a policy needs to be put into place to protect diversity in this organisation, the question still remains how stringently it will be observed and how much value it would add.


In the end, the organisation does not condemn diversity in any way. It only needs to be educated regarding the positives of diversity as mentioned above. The aim of this research was to see what people's perspectives are of diversity and what they thought were the positives of having a diverse workplace. One may conclude that based on how the organisation recruits for receptionist or quality control; they are not looking for a person with the best experience or qualifications but someone who ethnically suits the work environment. Target recruitment creates biases which reduce the effectiveness of a workforce (Bohlander & Snell; 2009). The workforce does not believe there are any positives to diversity that would affect them optimistically. They believe that having a young workforce would encourage better sales but they fail to see that the younger workforce does not have time to conjure to the work environment and is more performance driven. They have no time for pleasantries as their focus is on getting the job done. In such an instance at times, teamwork can be compromised (Lazzeretti & Petrillo; 2006). The disadvantages of having a homogeneous workforce have already been discussed. Having a workforce that is of one ethnicity does not bring together the best of idea compilation and creativity to the table (Michalko; 2001).

Most of the employees believe that their religious commitments are supported in the organisation, however, in participant observation, it was observed that an employee fasting during Ramadan was not allowed to take leave or go home early or slack in anyway. It maybe a personal opinion to cut an employee who has not eaten or drunk anything for 7 hours be cut some slack, but this organisation does not believe in it. When questioned about it, the employee said that they did not wish to say more as they "fear the employer's wrath".

In conclusion, the recession has left a lot many people redundant but skill retention is essential. In order to reserve margins, it would be short sighted to cut back on diverse skills and individuals (Freelance Folder; 2009). From the above research, it may be deduced that employees don't wish to include diversity in their agenda to combat the recession. This can only be justified by their lack of worldly knowledge to explain how an organisation which is the 3rd Largest Pharmaceutical Company in UK can be so short-sighted.


The research organisation showed an extreme lack of knowledge of diversity and its positive effects. It also showed an intense dislike for HR due to past mishaps in the organisation. Hence, all HR issues are handled by the CEO and the organisation also disregards many HR practices as unnecessary and time consuming. The main crux of suggestions lies in the path of diversity training. The organisation is in dire need of diversity training which is namely of three types: informative presentation, consciousness raising and experiential skills building. Informative presentation is the formulation and delivery of various demographics or oth

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