"Its focus has been traditionally disadvantaged 'group' categories of gender, race/ethnicity, disability and sexuality, and its basis has been seen as one of 'social
Managing Diversity which has its roots in the US and has been considered as a "backlash against the promotion of ideas of social justice based on minority group advantage, is explicitly based on the 'business case' and emphasises multiple, individual difference, potentially applicable to all employees" (e.g. Kandola and Fullerton 1998)
The basic argument that the gathering and utilising all available talents will greatly benefit the organization has also been found to the basis for the concept of equal opportunities policy. (Liff 1999; Liff and Dickens 2000)
However diversity management is viewed more as an organizational imperative. Though the objective of diversity management is also the utilization of all available talents it is said that there is a shift in the orientation of this policy from the concept of equal opportunities. Nevertheless the concepts of equal opportunities and diversity management as emerging aspects of Human Resources Management (HRM) are occupying a central place in the recent periods. In this context this paper presents an overview of the conceptualization of both the HRM aspects and also presents an evaluation of some of the ways in which the present day organizations can improve upon their policies on managing diversity and equal opportunities to make them more effective.
2.0 Concepts of Equal Opportunities and Diversity Management - An Overview:
"Managing diversity effectively follows on from, and expands on equal opportunities"(NCVO) Equal opportunities is about keeping within the law and the decisions about the payment of wages, recruitment and promotional policies are to be framed on the basis of the capabilities of the individuals to perform their functions effectively. This requires a systematic policy approach to all facets of personnel management and such policies are framed by a pre-empting discrimination.
"Diversity is a more wide-reaching approach to equal opportunities work. It incorporates the principle that all workers should receive equal rights but, rather than ignoring the differences between people in terms of their gender and race, this diversity should be recognised and respected." (NCVO) Diversity management works on the basis of a valuation of the varying aptitudes and skills that different workers bring along with them to be utilized by the organizations. Under this concept the managers arrive at a working environment where all the workers are valued on the basis of their individual skills and expertise and also such skills and expertise are utilized to the fullest extent.
Cooper and White (1995) suggested that one reason that equal opportunities had not really made an impact was because those who had the power to change the inequalities - white, able-bodied males - had never really experienced discrimination in employment. This was the possible reason that the interests of the minority group was never focused nor there any empathy with the issue. Research by the Equal