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Discuss The Similarities And Differences Between The Business Case For Equal Opportunities And Diversity?

1777 words - 7 pages

The main focus of this essay is to discuss the similarities and differences between the business case for equal opportunities and diversity. In order to do this I will be defining the meaning of equal opportunities and diversity, the benefits and costs of equal opportunities and diversity, with examples of approaches UK organisations use towards equal opportunities and diversity. Finally I will be discussing the similarities and differences between the business case for equal opportunities and diversity.According to Thompson (1998), "The concept of 'managing diversity' is one that has grown out of HRM and is also a movement away from traditional equal opportunity policies and practices. It is premised on a recognition of diversity and differences as positive attributes of an organisation, rather than as problems to be solved". From the idea that all differences between groups and individuals within an organisation should be recognised and valued as 'positive attributes', managing diversity essentially represents a business case for equal opportunities. According to BPP Professional Education (2004), equal opportunities is, "an approach to the management of people at work based on equal access and fair treatment irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religious belief."Equal opportunities have increasingly been a disappointment amongst employers about the effectiveness and current state of equal opportunity policies and practices for disadvantaged groups that it has been lacking in comparison to other equality legislations in Europe and the United States. Another concern is the language in which such policies and practices are framed and their attractiveness to employers. Ross and Schneider (1992) suggest that, "employers have resisted equal opportunity legislation precisely because it has been imposed upon them" and "that the law has enshrined the moral case for equal opportunities ands has therefore given employers the responsibility to create a fair and equal society". Therefore because equal opportunity policies rely upon the law and ethics and are externally driven and imposed, it is to be expected that employees will not respond well towards them. Ross and Schneider (1992) recommend that equal opportunities, "needs to be seen as business-driven in order to be attractive to employers". Because of such problems with the equal opportunities approach, an alternative approach has emerged which is managing diversity. As managing diversity is based on a business case it focuses on the business benefits that employer's build up through making the most of the skills and potential of all employees.Equal opportunities and diversity management both can benefit an organisation if they are used correctly but they can also be very costly if not used correctly. Equal opportunities benefits organisations because it attracts the best people for the job and retains them thereafter, it develops people to their full...

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