The purpose of this essay is to provide leaders and line managers with an understanding of the concept of diversity and the challenges and opportunities that an organisation faces in today’s complex global environment.
I will begin by outline the demographics of Ireland’s diverse workforce and discuss the development/progression of the diversity concept from an equality perspective, through different paradigms.
Following this, I will explore the concept of complexity theory and explain how by using this approach, and with an understanding of the diversity paradigms, the leader can best manage and lead his/her organisation to create an optimal culture and practice.
The outputs of Monks (2007) Equality-Diversity Value Chain and indeed the work of many other authors will then be presented to show the leader, the tangible benefits that can be realised through an effective performance management system. Here I will provide practical guidelines on two elements of performance management (training and reward) where I believe diversity management can achieve the maximum impact.
What is Diversity?
Diversity management is “the systematic and planned commitment on the part of organisations to recruit and retain employees from diverse demographic backgrounds’ (Thomas 1990).
Ireland has been exposed to rapid change over the last two decades in many ways, and the national census figures (2011) paint a very different picture in terms of the landscape of the population over the last fifteen years. There are now almost half a million people or 15% of the population living in Ireland who were not born here and Monks (2007) describes the workforce in Ireland today as increasingly diverse in terms of: increased female labour market participation, a larger number of single parent households, membership of the traveller community, people with disabilities, people who have diverse religious beliefs and sexual orientations, a steadily rising older population and as mentioned above...