In fact now a debate has started whether the concept of 'managing diversity; forms an alternative to 'equal opportunities' based on gender bias. In the UK, human resource practitioners and academics alike are becoming more aware of the emergence of managing diversity. There is now a view that, after twenty years of the ' stick' of legal compliance (which has achieved little), the 'carrot' of underpinning the business case for equal opportunities will perhaps achieve more (Dickens 1994). Thomas1 (2000) argues that, with the growing number of mergers and acquisitions, workforce diversity will become more of a priority for organizations and, therefore, in the future, people will become clearer on what diversity is and how to manage it.
The business case for managing diversity therefore offers a way to operate equal opportunities as a strategic issue, a core value linked to organizational competitiveness (Dickens 1994). Diversity not only comes in the form of culture and values, but it also consists of several other visible and non-visible factors, which include personal characteristics such as sex, race, age, background, culture, disability, personality and work-style. Harnessing these differences is bound to create a productive environment in which everybody feels valued, their talents are fully utilized and organizational goals are met. Therefore, the way to place this on the corporate agenda is to see the concepts as providing both tangible as well as intangible benefits, besides being socially and morally right.
Considering these factors, the underlying philosophy of managing diversity tends to imply that an organization can gain massive competitive advantage, resulting in enhanced performance with the help of a satisfied human capital. It rests on the premise that the organization will be able to serve increasingly diverse customers, meet increasingly complex business and management problems by actively seeking and managing a diverse workforce (Stephenson and Lewis 1996; Cox 1991).
In the era of globalization, when MNCs prefer to take advantage of multi-location facilities, lower costs of production, expertise from the world over, diversity is bound to be there at the workplace. It is for the organization to manage the diversity by recognizing, appreciating, valuing, encouraging and utilizing the unique talents and contributions of individuals from across a wider spectrum of society. But circumstances sometimes create peculiar conditions which brings to the fore the inherent weaknesses prevalent in our society. There are rules and regulations which provide broad guidelines for keeping a delicate balance in dealing with such matters so that mutual harmony is maintained amongst the workforce. The guiding principle behind this thought is that the world is a rich and diverse place, full of interesting cultures and people who should be treated with respect. Skirmishes arising out of 'discriminatory' behavior often result in tensions amongst colleagues. Though there are federal laws in place, but it is the human character and nature which has to