Equality And Diversity Policy And Practices Business Essay
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Recently, there has been an increase in workforce diversity and all organisations most especially the ones in the Western world strive to remain competitive in the labour market by extending their operations to the developing world as a result of globalisation. This study aims to examine the international transfer of global diversity policies and practices to local context like Nigeria.
The findings demonstrate the importance of flexible management practices for Multinational corporations in transferring their policies across borders. This study reveals some approaches to management of a diverse and equal workforce as well as its barriers.
Keywords: Global Diversity, equality, Workforce Diversity, Nigeria, Culture.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS 5
CHAPTER ONE: 7
1.1: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY 7
1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY 8
1.4: SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY 9
1.5: OUTLINE OF RESEARCH 10
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 11
2.1: INTRODUCTION 11
2.2: WORKFORCE DIVERSITY 11
2.3: EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY IN THE NIGERIAN CONTEXT 14
2.4: GLOBAL DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT 16
2.5: BUSINESS CASE FOR MANAGING DIVERSITY 19
2.6: BARRIERS TO DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT 21
2.6.1: DISCRIMINATION 21
2.6.2: STEROTYPES AND PREJUDICE 21
2.6.3: HARRASSMENT 22
CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY 24
3.1: THE PHILOSOPHICAL POSITION OF THIS RESEARCH 24
3.2: RESEARCH DESIGN 25
3.3: STUDY LOCATION 25
3.4: RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS 26
3.5: SAMPLING DESIGN 26
3.6: SAMPLE POPULATION AND SAMPLE SIZE 26
3.8: ETHICAL CONSIDERATION 27
CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS, INTERPRETATION AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS 28
4.1: INTRODUCTION 28
4.2: DIVERSITY STRUCTURE OF THE COMPANY 28
4.3: INTERNATIONAL TRANSFER OF DIVERSITY POLICIES TO A LOCAL CONTEXT 29
4.4: DIVERSITY AT WORK 32
4.5: PROGRAMMES AND INITIATIVE THAT MAKES THE TRANSFER OF GLOBAL POLICIES WORKS. 34
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS 38
5.1: INTRODUCTION 38
5.2: SUMMARY OF FINDINGS 38
5.3: RECOMMENDATIONS 39
5.4: LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY 39
5.5: CONCLUSION 40
1.1: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The management of diversity has become significant in recent years in the research area in order to certify the total involvement of women, ethnic minorities, disabled people and other less privileged people (Lepaka and Shaw 2008; Nishii and Ozbilgin 2007). Diversity management came into existence in the late 1980s in the USA as a likely criterion for tackling the issues of inequality and diversity at workplace and this has been adopted by so many countries around the world (Kelly and Dobbin 1998).Comprehensively, researches have been carried out on the management of diversity locally (Verbeek, 2011; Ocholla, 2002), but this is not enough to understand the interests of diversity management globally and the way their cross-national activities are managed and directed (Ozbilgin,2005). Cox (2001) defined diversity as the existence of differences in social and cultural identities with in employees working together in an organisation.
An al-encompassing definition of diversity may consist of economic status, physique, educational background, norms, culture, sexual orientation, economic status, duration of time spent with a firm and personality (Carr, 1993; Triandis 1994); Thus, accepting and appreciating the differences in people at workplace with the above features is what diverse workforce is. Recently, Companies across the globe have put alot more into diversity management programs so as to achieve results that include making the most use of talents, and giving the best they can give to demographically diverse customers (Horwitz, 2005). Organizations have recognized that the level to which these specific workforce alterations are successfully and proficiently controlled will influence organizational role and competitiveness (Von Bergen et al 2005). There is no doubt in recent years, globalisation has brought and is still bringing about the amalgamation of the world market. The Multinational companies are beginning to spread their tentacles wide and large across the globe and this has over the years brought about the need for organisations to be able to manage people coming from different cultures, background and also being able to adapt to such new environments from the parent company. This research will be contributing to the very few researches that have been done on the management of diversity globally by examining some of the strategies used by the MNCs and how best they are able to adapt and transfer their diversity and equality practices across the different jurisdictions they operate especially in the African sub-region. The case study company is a MNC with subsidiaries around the world including Nigeria which has over 250 ethnic groups.
1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This study will look into the equality and diversity policy and practices in organisations and its basic objectives includes:
To identify and examine how global diversity policies and practices works in local context.
To examine the barriers that has inhibited the employment, development, retention and promotion of diverse workforce in the organisation.
To examine some of the initiatives and programmes used in ensuring the success of international transfer of diversity policies to a local context.
1.3: RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The main question of this research is "how global equality and diversity policies are being translated and implemented in local contexts like Nigeria. Other research questions are:
What are the difficulties encountered in introducing and implementing global diversity policies locally?
What are the barriers that have inhibited the employment, development, retention and promotion of diverse workforce in organisations?
What are the major factors influencing diversity initiatives at work?
1.4: SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is of great importance because, in as much as diversity and equality issues have been well researched in the western and developed countries, very limited work has been carried out in the African sub-region (Nyambegera, 2002). Hence, this study will contribute to further understanding in the topical area of equality and diversity management within the African context and why it is important for MNCs to acknowledge the effects of local and contextual issues such as culture, beliefs, perceptions etc could have on the effectiveness of their global equality and diversity policies. As mentioned earlier, diversity management have been researched but most of the researches have not taken into consideration global diversity management. Therefore, this project would make an important contribution to the few existing literatures in understanding the concepts of global diversity management and the international transfer of diversity policies to local contexts. Nevertheless, given that Nigeria is a developing country, this research would also help in understanding how MNCs operating in developing countries like Nigeria deal with and manage a diverse workforce.
1.5: OUTLINE OF RESEARCH
This research is presented in five parts. Firstly, is the introduction to the concept of the research topic. Secondly, the key literature of the research topic is discussed. The literature helped the research to think about significant issues to pay attention to when rounding up the pragmatic part of the research study. The third part shows and discussed the method of analysing and collecting data which includes the use of semi structured interviews. Having chosen to use qualitative research method is important because, it brings out some interesting and amazing findings which will be discussed in the fourth part of this research work. The findings of this research suggests that, the successful transfer of MNC's policies and practices is dependent on how they are able to understand the beliefs, norms and culture of the any country they are planning to transfer their diversity policies to and make necessary amendments to suits the proposed subsidiary country's way of life.
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
This chapter will review the past literatures on equality policy and practices and the international transfer of management of diversity policies in multinational corporations (MNCs). Thus, various themes like gender inequality in Nigeria, the management of workforce diversity, equality and diversity policy, culture, global diversity management would be examined.
2.2: WORKFORCE DIVERSITY
Broadly, Diversity management is defined as the logical, methodical and strategic obligations and responsibilities by the companies to recruits retain and promote workers from different backgrounds, beliefs and norms (Ongori and Angolla, 2007). It is argued that companies that encourage workforce diversity certainly will be successful within the international labour market (Jain and Verma, 1996). The importance attached to the management of diversity has been as a result of the increase in openness to national borders as well as the free movement of capital and labour across national borders which could result in companies having some of the most productive employees (Carrel et al, 2000). For an organisation to diversify, the work environment must be able to condone and allow employees to exhibit and make use of their potentials without been subdued by either nationality, gender, race, personality, religion, economic class, culture and other elements that are extraneous to performance(Bryan, 1999 as cited in Ongori and Angolla, 2007).
Triandis et al (1994) define diversity as any traits or elements which might or may possibly direct an individual's perception that another individual is distinct from them or what gives an individual the notion that the other individual is different from him or her. This definition of diversity seems to portray a deeper insight to what diversity is and it can be described as what an individual thinks differentiates them from another individual. With present changes happening around the globe, the increase in globalisation and the management of workforce diversity as a means to expand organisational efficiency cannot be underestimated (Ongori and Angolla, 2007).
Gender can be described as what differentiates individuals sexually. Over the years, it has been seen that women are more disadvantaged in the labour market. Due to negative stereotyping (Loden and Rosener, 1991).
Disability on the other hand is defined as a physical or mental deficiency which has a significant and a lasting unfavourable impact on an individual's competency perform everyday undertakings unexceptionally(Disability Discrimination Act 1995).Most of the physically and mentally fit people have little or no intimate interaction and communication with the disabled people, then there is a possibility then for the non disabled individuals in their growing up to have little or no contact with disabled people which serves as an important barrier to equal employment opportunity for the disabled (French,1996; Reynolds et al, 2001).Further to this, age discrimination has also been a major factor preventing the majority of employees from accessing top managerial positions (Oswick and Rosenthal, 2001; Kirton and Greene, 2010).Many top managers have been removed one way or the other from top and high paid positions in organisations as a result of their age as they are normally perceived to have less capabilities and skills to function well in such organisations (Kirton and Greene, 2010). For instance, the criteria employers use in their recruitment and promotional processes are normally discriminatory against either old employees or even the younger ones (Perry and Parlamis, 2006; Kirton and Greene, 2010).
Further to this, the sexual orientation of employees could also be problematic not only for management but also some employees as well. Many lesbian and Gay people nowadays tend to hide their identity in order to avoid discrimination because companies are frequently harsh and unreceptive towards the lesbian and gay men (Oerton, 1996; Mills, 1989).
Cockburn (1991), proposed the equality for lesbians and gay men as the most challenged and argued equality scheme and assignment as a result of the insufficiency of harmony over the ethical value of the gay rights scheme. In addition, it is still popularly assumed that individuals can decide to choose to be heterosexual or lesbian or gay; while one cannot choose in respect to gender, disability, age and ethnicity.
Race and Ethnicity heave also been an issue for managers of diversity. Taking the UK employment patterns as an examples, in 2006, the unemployment rate for black minority ethnic men was 11% and that of the white was 5% which makes the rate of the black and minority ethnic's group unemployment 2times higher than their white counterpart while the rate of unemployment for black and minority ethnic women was 9% and there counterpart was 4% which makes it 2times higher as well (ECO, 2006). Hence, the rate of women`s unemployment generally in all the ethnic groups experience quite a low unemployment rates than the men. With the recent trend, it can be said that the rate of unemployment as a well as wage gap between men and women in labour market has reduced but absolutely not wiped out (Kirton and Greene, 2010).
For employers both in public and private companies to be able to manage a diverse workforce, it is of necessity to be able to understand, envisage and deal with the fascinating features of a diverse workforce. Although, many companies have adopted diversity, some others still regard it as only a matter of conforming to legal prerequisite.
"Effective diversity management has historically been used to provide a legally defensive position; that is, a firm with a diverse workforce could argue that they were not guilty of discrimination because of the prima facie case based on their workforce demographics representing the demographics of the local community" (Ongori and Angolla 2007; p, 73)
Lederach (1995) defined culture as "the shared knowledge and schemes created by a set of people for perceiving, interpreting, expressing and responding to social realities around them". This definition of culture describes it as a general way by which people in an environment think or perceives things. Hence, culture has impacts on the way persons interconnect and act as it indicates a set of norms including thought patterns, motives, self-image impulsive reactions or feelings (Muir, 2007).
2.3: EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY IN THE NIGERIAN CONTEXT
Nigeria is the single largest geographical unit in West Africa with several ethnic groups of about 250 with considerable differences in the norms and values of each major tribe. Gender is a significant part of diversity because, women make up half of the world's population of which Nigeria is no excerption with half of its population being women even though the majority of these women in question live below the poverty margin and owns little or no education, capital base. (Izugbara and Ukwayi, 2002). There has been little or no research on equality and diversity in companies in Nigeria (Omair 2008, Jamali et al 2005). Nigeria has listed inspiring steps with sense to reducing gender-based violence, sexism and beautifying women's rights apart from many well-intentioned efforts to fill the space between female and male accomplishments in the area of education, economic activity and political participation. "Indeed, Nigeria is still undergoing a difficult political and economic transition after several years of military rule. The problems include pervasive poverty and widespread unemployment; deterioration of government institutions and inadequate capacity at all levels of government to deliver critical services effectively; sporadic violence between ethnic groups; a legacy of widespread corruption; little growth in the non-oil private economy and limited self-empowerment among local communities. Yet, Nigeria remains a society rich in cultural linguistic, religious, ethnic and political diversity" (Obayelu and Ogunlade 2006; p.2). Nigeria accounts for considerable gender inequalities in female labour market involvement, human capital, remuneration and health with pointers for women being profiled as significantly below those for men (Fajana, 2010) Women have the probability to be less buoyant than men and have lesser choices to riggle out of poverty (IMF,2004). Because women possess little formal education than the men they are likely to be inconsistently restrained to lower return and low output or efficiency employment in the informal economy. Subsequently, their capability to break away from poverty through employment is restricted as well. The table below gives an empirical evidence of the huge sexual differences in employment status in Nigeria (Fajana, 2010).
Figure 1: Gender Labour Force Rate
Source: Compilation based on data from World Bank Development Indicators
This graph above shows the huge difference in gender employment in Nigeria between 1991 and 2008 which is obvious that, men in Nigeria are more employed than women. However, the main cause of the problem of inequality and a high rate of unemployment in the labour market is the inability of graduates and skilful individuals to secure decent jobs after studying. Thus, in a country like Nigeria where there exist huge inequalities in gender employment rate, it is a major factor which MNCs transferring their equality and diversity policies to Nigeria to be able to take a good look at and find ways which the situation of the country's inequality rate would not affect their international standard in negative ways.
2.4: GLOBAL DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT
Over the past few years, the word managing diversity or diversity management has been a popular term and matters concerning management of diversity have also gained attention as a result of the diverse workforce and also the rise and increase in globalisation which has increased the mobility of the global workforce (Konrad, 2003). Such a global diverse workforce has culminated in the emergence of regulations and organisational wide policies to try and manage diversity in a way that will be beneficial to the organisations and the society as a whole (European Commission 2003).
Seymen (2006) refers to diversity as a situation where differences exists in the background of various employees in an organisation irrespective of their demographic characteristics which includes, gender, age, sexual orientation, sex, ethnicity, educational background, and physique .Workforce diversity has no singular or a general definition, rather still, it has been debated or contended to be a multifaceted and byzantine term that is conceding a notion , idea and belief which conjure diverse views and opinions in various companies and culture (Omanovic 2002, Cassell, 2001).
Ozbilgin and Tatli(2008) defined global diversity management as the setting up, organising, managing and putting into practice of management strategies, procedures and development programs for the purpose of accepting varied sets of working in multinational corporations. The definition above may be described as putting together and management of HR policies and practices as well as initiatives that is acceptable across the Headquarter of MNCs and its subsidiaries. Global diversity management has to do with the management of the transfer of employment practices from a parent company to her subsidiaries overseas. Historically, the transfer of management practices from the developed to the developing countries is the mode of operation of the MNCs (Azolukwam and Perkins, 2009).
However, the increase in globalisation and also the concerns of growing demographic diversity have enhanced the need for understanding heterogeneity in organisations. Diversity management is a rebranded name given to one time equality policy and practices in organisations in Britain (Kirton and Greene, 2010). They further argued that, matters relating to orthodox equal opportunities such as gender or sex discrimination cannot be separated from the explicit issues such as individual or cultural discrepancies within diversity management. In other to give an overview of what diversity management is, diversity itself should be known. Consequently, Tatli, (2011) suggested that, managing diversity and equal opportunities are complementary rather than conflicting; this means that, the management of diversity and equal opportunities combines in such a way that they both enhance each other's qualities other than conflicting. Wrench (2005) also stated that, diversity management is utilised amenably to conceal so many issues. He further explained that, it should not be allowed to become a Trojan horse that ease or simplify the attenuating of profits which have already been achieved in the procedure of anti discrimination or those that are still crucial for the future.
Lauring (2012) argues that global diversity management in multinational corporations has been confirmed a challenging issue as a result of recurrent failures in the making and growth of such programmes. However, he argues that, what differentiates the management of diversity globally from locally is basically because of the enigma of global integration and local responsiveness. Supporting Lauring's argument, the successful transfer of policies across border to a local context is totally dependent on how it is been handled in the subsidiary Company and the failure of the MNCs to have a deep insight of how the subsidiary country operates including their ways and beliefs of doing things before formulating or transferring their policies affects the success rate of transferring policies.
Noon (2007), argues, that Diversity management is basically an idea that disregarded the significance of equal opportunities and covers up the importance of ethnicity in organisations. On the other hand, (Syed and Ozbilgin, 2009) argues that, they do not as a matter of fact agree with Noon's argument and thereby, pointed out that the idea must be ascertain and espy both in the local and international context before its ability and strength can be enhanced and developed.
Dass &Parker (1999) argue that the difficulty faced by a company in terms of diversity management will be determined by their methods or attitudes they take. However, "At the level of international management pressures, as well as urgency of diversity management, interventions vary more extensively than at the level of domestic operations" (Tatli &Ozbilgin 2008; p.18).
An organisation's subsidiary must be very distinctive in other to be able handle the domestic markets especially in terms of practices, norms and business cultures that differs from that of the parent country (Lauring, 2012).Though, nearly all multinational corporations strive to convey the well established management procedures that initially allowed the corporation to spread out of its local market to its overseas affiliates (Barkinshaw and Hood, 1998). The successful outcome of these practices in the parent company does not make such practices and policies successful in the subsidiaries overseas, as a result of the distinctions in culture and environment affecting the management situation (Dimitratos et al, 2010).
Sippola and Smale (2007) advocates that the transfer of diversity management practices which has more to do with culture, to overseas subsidiary company is possible but could be quite difficult. Nevertheless, "Parent companies may also be less dedicated to ensuring homogeneity in diversity management if legal or cultural differences can be used as an excuse for more dilute diversity management approaches"(Lauring 2012,p.3).He further stated that, in the case of international unification of diversity management, management practices would be developed in the parent company, but when exported to an overseas subsidiary, they become exposed to different circumstances that may not be in accordance with the genuine notion or intention. Looking at workforce diversity from a business panorama, it is argued that, the proficiency and the capability of a company to endure imminent tasks and encounters is doubled when there is better workforce diversity in particular when there is variation in employee's skills, cultural facet, experiences, values (Thornhill et al, 2000).As a matter of fact, managing a global workforce efficiently is regarded has been essential and vital in acquiring benefits for business and in maintaining competitive advantage globally (Florkowski 1996).
Pragmatic evidence from a survey carried out by (Dunavant and Heiss, 2005) showed that 100% of those organisations see global diversity as a significant matter. The term global diversity has gained attention as a result of the increase in both national laws and international policies which is made for the purpose of eliminating discrimination and also as a related increase in the rate of important lawsuits against global organisations (Nishii and Ozbilgin,2007) in spite of that, since the types or categories of discrimination that are termed illegal throughout countries and there seems to be broad differences across countries in the way laws and policies concerning the equal opportunities are put in place and unravelled (Ozbilgin,2002).Furthermore, Nishii and Ozbilgin (2007) gave an example of a country like Japan where 99% of the entire population are of the same ethnic groups and hence, given a laid down goals for the firms is basically absurd and unreasonable .
2.5: BUSINESS CASE FOR MANAGING DIVERSITY
Before organisations can come to an agreement of operating a diverse workforce, they would be doing it to expect a positive impact on their organisational standard.
However, some of the benefits enjoyed by organisations with diverse workforce include a high rate of accomplishment in their transactions with international and domestic ethnic societies as well as a fair circulation of economic opportunity. That is, when a company operates on a diverse workforce, they tend to have different people from difference ethnic groups, different cultures and experience making it much easier for the company to have a good economic transaction with other countries (Blake, 1991; Cox and Blake, 1991).
An organisation that is culturally diverse has the tendency of been more competent and effective in networking, easily acting together and job performance than a non diverse workforce (Watson et al, 1993).
However, managing and having a diverse workforce can be of significance to the organisations for having access to authority in perspective of demographic changes in workforce and human rights legislation. Thus, employing disabled people, people of different race, background, sexual orientation, ethnic minorities and other disadvantaged group helps organisations to benefit from this position in the labour market and diversified market sections (Mueller, 1998; Fleury 1999).
"The increased mobility and interaction of people from diverse backgrounds as a result of improved economic and political systems and the recognition of human rights by all nations has put most organizations under pressure to embrace diversity at the work place (Ongori and Angolla,2007; p, 74).Matters relating to diversity will be more significant in a situation where effective and efficient communication, interface and dealings with people is the key method to business accomplishment as the economies keep moving from the manufacturing to service economies (Wentling and Palma-Rivas, 2000).
Additionally, the management of a diverse workforce helps in dealing with the issue of gender inequality, discrimination as well as the concerns for women mostly balancing their domestic and occupational role together without having to forgo one for another.
Managing a diverse workforce helps management to easily understand customer's needs even from an entirely different culture or background from where the company is situated. Race matching can also be linked to the management of diversity in organisations. Race matching is where organisations specifically employ certain ethnicities or race just to attract those customers who are similar to them which could increase business for the company. For example, Tesco or Sainsbury employing black store managers in a branch located in a predominantly black community so as to get more black customers through the door as they will feel more comfortable and relate to them better and this can be a strategy for having competitive advantage. Nevertheless, there are some barriers which hinder the effective management.
2.6: BARRIERS TO DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT
As there exists benefits for managing a diverse workforce in organisations, so also there are still certain barriers that need to be tackled before an organisation can successfully manage a diverse workforce. Some of the basic and important barriers are:
Discrimination is defined as the unjust and prejudicial treatment of individuals on the grounds of what differentiates those individuals (Halle, 2008).Previous researches conducted on discrimination shows that women in companies are faced with more barriers in getting to the top position in the organisation than men (Auster; 1988; Fernandez 1998). Even though, there has been laws enacted by the government in various countries against discrimination, there still exists discrimination in the workplace (Wentling and Palma - Rivas 1997).
2.6.2: STEROTYPES AND PREJUDICE
Stereotype is defined as a "fixed and distorted generalisation made about all members of a particular group (Loden and Rosener p.58 1991) while prejudice can be defined as the bias to have a negative judgement regarding individuals who are different from other people in terms of either gender, race, ethnic, physical characteristics and capabilities (Morrison 1992). (Henderson, 1994; p.133) also defined prejudice as "a conclusion drawn without adequate knowledge or evidence". Researchers like catalyst (1990), Baskerville and Tuckers (1991) found out that stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination were some of the basic barriers encountered by women in getting to the top and this can be traced to one of the contemporary terms in labour market which is the glass ceiling and sticky floor. Glass ceiling can be described as some of the insubstantial, impalpable and imaginary barriers that counteract and preclude some categories of people from growing and getting higher than a particular level at work while the "sticky floor refers to the way that some groups remain permanently on the bottom rung of the organisation ladder and remain fixed in low paid and undervalued jobs" (Johnstone (2002) p.4).
An explanatory definition of harassment is; any offensive conduct or remarks made to an individual as a result of their ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, age, capability or gender (Poole, 1997). The Black's Law Dictionary (Black, 1990 p, 1375) defines sexual harassment as a "type of employment discrimination, includes sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature prohibited by Federal Law". However, this definition explains that sexual harassment at work is not just making sexual advances alone but could also be saying things that are sexual related in nature. Additionally, Harassment at work has negative effects on both the workers and the organisation itself. Some of the effects of sexual harassment on employees are; inability to concentrate on their given tasks, leads to increased turnover, reduces productivity. Harassment at work makes the work environment non conducive for employees to work perfectly in, as a result of psychological, emotional trauma (Fernandez, 1993).This can also have negative effect on employers part as it will cost them spending so much on lawsuit, legal process. Many researches on the effect of harassment on company's productivity shows that sexual harassment cost organisations a whole lot on absenteeism, reduction in productivity, low morale and worker's turnover (Sandroff, 1988;Tang and MacCollum, 1996).When an employee gets sexually harassed especially by a person in the top management, it might be difficult for such an employee to report such case and to avoid this, such employee might not be able to concentrate so much on their jobs to be done which obviously will reduce the company's productivity over time.
One other barrier of managing a diverse workforce is cost of employing and training different people from different backgrounds. Cost is one thing over the years that has seems to affect organisation's decisions. Also the flip side to the Tesco's and Sainsbury's example above is that, because such black employees are only employed to serve just that purpose of attracting black customers, those black employees are not included in the organisation which could affect their promotional prospects etc.
CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
The success of a research work depends solely on the type of approach or tactics used in carrying out and understanding the trend of the research work. However, this chapter explains the philosophical position of the researcher. It also summarises the research methods and research design that was used to conduct this research project. Additionally, this chapter was ended with the ethical issues that were taken into consideration in conducting the research.
3.1: THE PHILOSOPHICAL POSITION OF THIS RESEARCH
The nature of this research study is qualitative. The basic difference between quantitative and qualitative research is that, the results for quantitative research is statistical in nature while qualitative gives descriptive textual data (Bryman and Bell 2011).However, Keegan (2009) argues, that quantitative research tests hypothesis and measures variables in a statistical method, qualitative research method endeavours to understand the relationships. Thus, qualitative research method is considered the most suitable method for this research in other to gain a deep understanding of the research topic.
The epistemological foundation for this research study is interpretivism. Epistemology has to do with whether or not the social society should and can be studied in compliance with the same methods, beliefs, and philosophy used in studying natural sciences (Bryman and Bell 2011). Interpretevism is a belief primarily related to social sciences, which its purposes is to have an insight or knowledge of human behaviour, deeds and action which makes a researcher to see and comprehend the subject connotation of the objects of the study (Bryman and Bell, 2011).Nevertheless, to deal with the reproach of qualitative research method, as its subjective in nature, Bryman and Bell(2011) explains that, the purpose of a qualitative research is subjectivity which aims at understanding the ideas of the respondents.
The ontological position of this research is social constructionism which is described as the enhancement of a socially constructed reality. Constructionism helps the researcher to discern social beliefs and reality towards the object of the study from the people's perspective.
3.2: RESEARCH DESIGN
The research approach that was used in conducting this research is case study. Furthermore, "A case study research method is defined as an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real life context" (Yin 1984, p. 23).The study of International transfer of diversity management requires a good methodological approach that can capture the under laying issues from all areas including the national context and local. However, this research will adopt an exploratory research design and a qualitative method of research will be used where both primary and secondary data to capture the realities of this condition in the study location.
The basic advantage of using more than one sources of evidence in carrying out a piece of research is that, it permits a researcher to address a wider range of past and behavioural issues. The main method of data collection of this research work was a semi structured interview while, the academic journals, textbooks from the library and the organisation's documentation will be used as secondary data.
3.3: STUDY LOCATION
The study location for this research was Total Nigeria Plc in Lagos suburb of Nigeria which is an overseas subsidiary of Total Plc situated in France. Total Nigeria Plc is one of the biggest oil and energy producing company in Nigeria at the moment with two other main branches in Abuja and Port Harcourt area of Nigeria. However, Total Nigeria Plc was incorporated as a private company on the 1st of June 1956 to market petroleum products in Nigeria, West Africa but became public in 1978. Total Nigeria Plc holds a unique position in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry with a network of about 500retail outlets in six regions all over Nigeria.
3.4: RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS
A semi structured interview guide that contains questions generated from the objectives of this research was used for data collection. Because interviews are said to be "ones where research and planning produce a session in which most of the participant's responses cannot be predicted in advance and where you as an interviewer therefore have to improvise probably half or 80% or more of your responses to what they say in response to your initial prepared questions"(Wengraf 2001, p.5) hence, this makes it easier to gather in depth information about how the case study company have been able to manage a diverse workforce as well as the transfer of global diversity policy from their headquarters to a local context like Nigeria were obtained. Secondary data like journals, books from the library, case study company's documents were used to complement the interview result.
3.5: SAMPLING DESIGN
Getting a concrete outcome with qualitative method was almost impossible, basically because of the available time frame. However, final respondents were chosen on the basis of their demographic features and another criteria used in choosing the respondents was the availability at the time of carrying of this research. However, Total Nigeria Plc was chosen as the study location for this research because of their commitment to equality and diversity and also because, it is a subsidiary of a foreign firm which involves the transfer of diversity policies. Furthermore, Total Nigeria Plc has a diversity council that is responsible for ensuring a diverse workforce and equal treatment in the organisation.
3.6: SAMPLE POPULATION AND SAMPLE SIZE
This research consists of a cross section of both male and female HR personnel and Line managers. A total of 8 semi structured interview were conducted among the participants in the study location of which five of them were males and three are females. Two of them are line managers that have been working within the organisation for over a decade. Five of the respondents are within the age range of 51 and 60 which indicates their experience at work while three were aged 50 and less.
3.7: DATA ANALYSIS
Data collected from the respondent were analysed using manual content analysis .Manual content analysis is defined as a systematic way of compacting lots of words into groups as a result of specific guidelines of coding(Weber,1990).After which the tape recordings of the interview was transcribed. The researcher examined the responses and those that are associated with the objective of the research study were used for the discussion thematically using verbatim quotation method.
3.8: ETHICAL CONSIDERATION
Any issue relating to discrimination and gender are sensitive issues across the globe. Even though, the interview questions has nothing much to do about these issue, most of the participants still asked to be term anonymous in the course of the interview and their confidentiality was respected by the researcher.
CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS, INTERPRETATION AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
The previous chapters of this research examine the objectives, questions and review of relevant literature, the theoretical framework and method of collecting and analysing data. Using manual content analysis, this chapter shows a full account of the research findings and discussion in accordance with the stated research objectives as well as the interpretation.
4.2: DIVERSITY STRUCTURE OF THE COMPANY
The global diversity policies and practices of the case study company is designed and coordinated by the HR office that is situated at the headquarters in France. The case study company has well defined laws and policies covering equality and diversity. The company has local diversity councils across her subsidiaries across the globe. One of the objectives of the case study company indicated that having a diverse workforce is one of their greatest asset with employees from more than 155 nationalities; because, it helps them to compare and contrast points of view and stay in step with the changes in a globalised world. Additionally, they have a diversity council that makes sure they always maintain equal and diverse work environment.
Their objective indicates their benefits over the years of employing and managing a diverse workforce. But interestingly, the case study company was at a point because of the developing nature of Nigeria almost compromised their basic standards in other to satisfy the work environment in Nigeria and still meet up with the global challenges.
To ensure diversity and eradicate discrimination, the case study company indicates in their policies, some of the strategies used in putting these things right. One of their objectives ,they stated how important they regard having people from different socio economic backgrounds, disabled and less privilege people work with them and their stake in ensuring a fair and equal work environment. In other to achieve this, the case study company have a developed proactive plans and approaches which include maternity leave, recruitment process audits, hiring criteria analysis, career management committees to deal seriously with these issues in the organisation.
These things are indications of how the case study company seems committed to ensuring an equal and fair work environment with every employee been able to make use of their potentials effectively; but this seems difficult than what is been said in the company's objectives in respect to what one of the respondents said during the interview section. The researcher found out that, despite the company's strong stake on maintaining an equal and fair work environment, some individuals still feel that they are not trying the best in ensuring a fair work environment as some indirect discrimination still occurs in the organisation.
4.3: INTERNATIONAL TRANSFER OF DIVERSITY POLICIES TO A LOCAL CONTEXT
The first objective of this research is to identify and examine how global diversity policies and practices work in local context. (Rosenzweig, 1998) from his research, indicated the basic challenge of multinational Corporations as the need to transfer and implement their policies from the home country to their subsidiaries in other to set a uniform standard across the headquarters and their subsidiaries. It was discovered from the research findings of this study that, it has not been an easy task transferring the company's policies most especially the equality and diversity policy and practices from their headquarters where it seems to be developed to a developing country like Nigeria where there are no concrete practices and policies covering equality and diversity. The only factor that has helped the case study company in been able to maintain a good and a strict equality and diversity policy is been because of the stake of the company on issues relating to equality and diversity.
During the interview section with one of the respondents, he said;
"For a developing country like Nigeria where many people in the society demonstrates little or no seriousness in the policies that are been put in place, it has been very difficult to transfer the equality and diversity policy into this country. What has made it a bit easier over the years has been the strict policy and practices of the company itself and the kind of ground they take in ensuring equality and a diverse workforce"(Field work 2012).
However, one of the respondents that supported the above comment of his colleagues stated that
"Apart from the fact that it has been difficult to maintain the same set of policies from an international firm to its subsidiary in a country like Nigeria, the company had to put in place some other initiatives like some training and awareness to aid and make the international transfer much easier bearing in mind the differences in the culture of France and Nigeria"(Fieldwork 2012).
These training according to the respondents gives the people involve the understanding of what the company's system and mode of operation is all about. However, it can be suggested that, HR managers should make it an important point of duty to always communicate what the mode of operation of the company is and how it can be of help to them as a society otherwise, this can lead to failure
Another respondent that was also in support with what the previous respondents said,
"We made it our major objective to put across the meaning as well as the benefits of the policies to them before putting it into place. I can specifically say that, one factor that has so far brought about a fair success in the implementation of our internationally transfer equality and diversity policies and a practice has been the understanding of Nigeria culture, way of life and some other essential norms"(Fieldwork,2012).Additionally, the researcher was able to pick from respondent that, the company also makes sure they understand the norms, beliefs and the culture in Nigeria and also the ability to communicate the benefits of such policies across to people before transferring their policies. This above quotation can be supported by Kossek& Lobel, 1996 and they argued that, Changes in organisational and individual conducts, views, thoughts, and culture are criterions of having successful contribution of diversity. In a research conducted by Mor Barak 2000,of a New York based company with subsidiaries in over 170countries he remarked that; The company always consider the type of training needed in each of the country before introducing and implementing and transferred policies from their headquarters. "Although, respecting other cultures was a central element of this policy, the company made a conscious decision not to override the essential policies of banning discrimination and sexual harassment" (P; 349).
Another respondent who was once with the headquarters of the case study company in France stated that
"With my experience with our head office in France and over the years in Nigeria, I can basically say that, most of the policies that works smoothly in France without having to spend money on training and programs does not work well in Nigeria without awareness and all, and this is as a result of the differences in the government policies, norms, beliefs and culture in the host country and Nigeria. Therefore, recognising and taking into consideration the Nigeria culture before transferring policies has really been story behind the fair success of managing global policies in our company"(Fieldwork 2012)
The perception, notion and idea that people have concerning equality and diversity, differs across cultures. That is, the stake of each country differs across cultures depending on the way they see and term equality and diversity. Taking for example the case of Saudi Arabia where gender separation is a well-defined and strict rule as well as in Japan where racial mix is consistent, these kinds of rules does not thereby means it will be successful if transferred across border(Ozbilgin,2005)
4.4: DIVERSITY AT WORK
The second objective of this study is an examination of the benefits of having or maintaining a diverse workforce. Having a diverse workforce is one major thing that all organisations are trying as much as possible to embrace these days and this is most especially because of the increase in globalisation.
When respondents were asked about what they think has been the company's benefits in maintain and recruiting different people from different background, one of them said:
"As an HR personnel that has been in this company for over 15years, I can say that, at first we never thought having a diverse workforce will be of a great benefit to this company not until when we started taking note of significant differences in the company's performance before increasing our level of diversity and now when we have a high level of diverse workforce"(Fieldwork 2012).
Interestingly, this respondent made mention of the global competence of their employees; he continued by saying that the success of the transfer of policies to subsidiaries is also dependent on the competency and capability of their employees to be able to work effectively with people from different cultures and background. This seems to be an interesting point for the respondent to chip into the discussion during the interview as Schneider and Barsoux (2003) also argued that the most efficient way of developing a global competence is the ability of employees on international assignments to be able to work effectively and efficiently with people from various cultural backgrounds.
When further probed, another respondent made mention of the costs and a particular factor that has helped the company so far in benefitting from having a diverse workforce.
"Culture is one basic thing we take into consideration, give time to study and understand what the people of our environment want and try as much as we can to blend our policies to suit their culture. Managing a diverse workforce entails a whole lot of things like spending basically. We spend so much every time to ensure people from different backgrounds, norms, beliefs work together as one and understand the basis of the whole working system. Recently, we can at least be boost of 75% success rate in organisation's day to day activities as a result of our level of workforce diversity"(Fieldwork 2012).
The above statement points out the importance of understanding the proposed country's culture, norms, perception and attitude about things before transferring global policies. This in turns suggest the MNCs' failure in transferring management practices across border most especially to developing countries is as a result of their inability to understand the whole system of the supposedly country before transferring these policies.
For an organisation to enjoy the benefits of embracing and having a diverse workforce, they must be able to admit, develop and embrace cultures that support diversity (Cox and Blake, 1991; Cox 1991).
A top HR manager of the company who is an American explained some of his experiences and the ways in which their company have benefitted from having a diverse workforce.
"Having a diverse workforce is one thing and knowing the tactics to manage it is another thing. I have worked in over 5subsidiaries of this company in different countries across the globe and I can happily say the benefits of having people from different backgrounds, race, beliefs, gender and all, is much more than the obstacles. Some of the benefits I can briefly mention are; it helps us in our decision making process, with having people of minority groups in our organisation, there is an increment in flexibility" (Fieldwork, 2012).
He further said that, having people with different beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and attitudes helps them when dealing with customers internationally which improves the company's productivity.
Having different people with different ideas and opinions, experiences from different cultures standpoint and perspectives in a work environment makes it easy for the company to operate. For example, a situation which was mentioned earlier as race matching; some particular groups of people find it more comfortable dealing with people that understands them and their language better other than the one who does not; Hence, in a situation like this, it will give companies with diverse group to have an edge over companies who seems not to embrace a diverse workforce.
Furthermore, some of the benefits of managing a diverse workforce includes: Improvement in decision making process; Increased Flexibility; Innovation and Learning and Market competitiveness (Cox and Blake, 1991.).
4.5: PROGRAMMES AND INITIATIVE THAT MAKES THE TRANSFER OF GLOBAL POLICIES WORKS.
The third objective of this research is an examination of the initiatives that ensures equality of the disadvantaged group in the organisation.
Some line managers and HR personnel in the case study company, shed light on how they have been able to eradicate the stigma of inequality with the disadvantaged groups in the organisation and some of the initiatives the company do make use of in other to ensure an equal and a diverse workforce. According to the research on the case study company, there are overall 3basic management programmes in place to ensure the involvement of the disadvantaged group as well as equality and diversity work environment.
Over the years, the success of managing a diverse and equal work environment is dependent on the approaches adopted by these firms to deal with these issues.
One of the female managers shared her experience of how difficult it was nurturing her family life with her occupational roles.
"Sincerely, to manage a diverse workforce at the same time ensuring equal treatment of all employees in the organisation is not an easy task. Things are quite easy now for the less privileged individuals in this company because of the initiatives and programmes that the management make a point of duty to introduce in other to help reduce discrimination.
Nigeria is a country where most organisations give just 3months maternity leave and for my kind of job, it was not easy for me to combine my domestic roles with my occupational roles. But with the help of initiatives like Work-life Balance, it has really helped a lot of women especially mothers in this organisation". Interestingly, the researcher was able point out from the respondent's body language how inconvenient it can be at times having your kid in the same environment with you during work hours which sometimes distract her from finishing her work on time. The respondent was able to appreciate the initiate as one of the things other organisations do not even take into consideration like their organisations do.
Work life balance is an initiative in the company's policy that helps women to manage their domestic roles (taking care of their kids and household) with their occupational obligations without having to forfeit one for another. From the company's website, the researcher found that, 42% of the employees are mothers and in other to avoid gender discrimination, the company had some like; childcare leave, parental leave as well as a Crèche in the organisation's premises which has really helped reduce stereotyping.
Similarly, another respondent stated that
"Even though, we incur so much cost on introducing and implementing these initiatives, it is not easy to implement all these initiatives in a country like Nigeria. It is quit easy for diversity initiative to work in the western part of the world where the government have strong policies that governs equality and diversity at workplace. But the case seems to be different in Nigeria as the government has no strict or well defined laws, policies governing equality and diversity. The initiatives we use in Nigeria are quite different from what our headquarters make use of. Considering the fact that, Nigeria is a country where discrimination is not taken seriously as it is in some other parts of the world, we still try as much as possible to utilise our global policies in a way that suits the Nigeria work environment so as to set the basic standard with the host company and other subsidiaries".
This statement above shows the kind of flexibility in the company's HR practices by trying to compare cultural differences in the headquarter and subsidiary companies and making available necessary initiatives that suits Nigeria. Similar findings were reported in Ozbilgin, (2005) on a manufacturing firm in Japan with their headquarters in United States of America. The company could not transfer the exact initiatives from their USA and Europe offices as a result of the kind of environment it is but rather introduced similar initiative to their Japan office.
One other programmes introduced to reduce inequality in the organisation is the anti harassment policy. According to the company's documentation, they have a serious anti harassment which was implemented by the diversity office some years ago. They further mentioned that, any form of harassment, either outside of the work environment which can in any way have a negative effect on the work environment will not be condoned and if anyone is caught in such act or reported to be harassing any of his/her colleagues will be seriously dealt with by having to face various panels and a fine is attached to it (Total Plc Website).They further mentioned that their aim as a company with various subsidiaries across the globe is to create a uniform standard in giving their best to their employees as well as creating an healthy working environment ,where both employees and customers can feel valued, respected and make the most use of their potentials and abilities
Nevertheless, there are still some difficulties in the international transfer of equality and diversity policies across border despite organisation's capability to ensure an equal working environment as well as a diverse workforce. There has been a reduction in the level of discrimination over the years but, disabled people, ethnic minorities, lesbians and gays, and other minorities still remain disadvantages across the globe.
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
In this chapter, the summary of the major research findings in accordance with the study objectives is presented. As a result of the findings, basic recommendations as regards to managing a diverse workforce, ensuring an equal workforce and successful transfer of global policies to a local context like Nigeria is presented. The focus of this study is to examine and understand how global policies can be transferred successfully across borders and to have and interpretative view of how organisations in Nigeria can benefit from having a diverse workforce.
5.2: SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Findings revealed that;
Nigeria Culture makes it difficult to manage and maintain an equal and a diverse workforce successfully unlike the western countries.
Culture is a vital part of transferring equality and diversity policies across borders.
The Nigeria Government has contributed little to ensuring an equal and a diverse work environment as there are no well defined policies governing these issues.
Difficulties lies for working mothers in combining work and family obligations together without been affected by each other
Global Diversity policies of the headquarters cannot be transferred and implemented the same way to a developing country like Nigeria.
The global diversity policies cannot easily be transferred and implemented directly to local context like Nigeria.
Developing global competence of a company is dependent on the ability and capability of the employees both in headquarters and subsidiaries to be able to live successfully and work effectively in various cultural environments.
Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations were presented.
For a company to enjoy the benefits of having a diverse workforce, some strategies and approaches that suits various people from different background should be put in place
The policies and laws of a country as a whole has a strong influence on the implementation of policies and practices transferred across borders.
Well defined policies to help mothers, and other disadvantaged groups in the labour market should be introduced and implemented in other to reduce discrimination and harassment of any form.
From this research, the idea of transferring policies across borders is not as easy as it sounds therefore, MNCs should create enough time to have a good look at how they can manage having subsidiary companies to developing countries especially where they have to spend in other to make it successful.
Future research hopes to have a deep examination of some of the approaches that can be taken to ensure a fair treatment amidst the employees. The researcher suggested the need to use more than one subsidiary company in other to have more pragmatic findings and the ability to listen to various people and company's opinion.
5.4: LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Generalising this study was impossible due to the number of respondents used. However, time and cost of travelling across the globe is one factor that limited this study. This study made use of findings from one host country in the southern part of the world which has the information to be limited to a particular part of the world.
Very few researches have been done on global diversity management (Sippola and Smale 2007; Ozbilgin and Tatli 2008; Lauring, 2012).Thus this study contributes to these few literatures by examining the benefits of having a diverse workforce as well as some of the approaches and obstacles used and encountered by multinational corporations in their bid to transfer their global diversity policies and practices to their subsidiaries. From the findings of this study, the successful transfer of diversity policies and practices across borders is dependent on the type of approach adopted in transferring these policies to local context. It is mostly difficult to manage international diversity policies without carefully examining domestic diversity policies. This research argued the importance of the culture of the subsidiary countries to ensure a successful transfer of global policies. From the respondents of the case study company used for this research study, it can be clearly stated, that the success of their company in managing global diversity policies in a local context and a developing country like Nigeria, is the attention they give to the culture of Nigeria each time they have to introduce and implement global policies so as to be able to place strategically interpret the policies in such way that suits the Nigeria culture. Nevertheless, some of the minorities in the organisation still feel they are not been treated equally despite all the policy put in place to tackle stereotyping and discrimination.
Azolukwam, V.A., and Perkins, S.J (2009),"Managerial
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