How to use learning & development to manage diversity

Essay by anuskaUniversity, Master's May 2005

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Diversity is about recognising the differences in the characteristics of individuals that shape their identities and the experiences they have in society. Diversity is the degree of basic human differences among a given population (Samuel, 2003).

Managing diversity means different things to different people, and managing people who are not like you and who don't necessarily aspire to be like you. It can mean integrating different parts of an organisation to enable them to work together (Goold and Cambell 1987). At the organisational level of analysis, the management of workforce diversity has been linked to learning and identified as critical issue for organisational performance.

Literature Review

Many people have defined diversity in different ways.

It is an understanding that there are differences among employees & that difference, if properly managed, are an asset to work being done more efficiently and effectively e.g. race, ethnicity, gender, age, a disability, work experience and the way each approaches to work (Bartz et al, 1990).

Gaining the diversity advantage means acknowledging, understanding and appreciating these differences and developing a workforce that enhances their value-by being flexible enough to meet needs and preferences-to create a motivating and rewarding environment.

Bearing these definitions in mind Kandola et al, (1998) has produced working definition: 'the basic concept of managing diversity accepts that the workforce consists of a diverse population of people.

The diversity consists of visible and non-visible differences which will include factors such as race, disability, personality and work style. It is founded on the premises that harnessing these differences will create a productive environment in which everybody feels valued, where their talents are being fully utilised and in which organisational goals are met'.

According to Kandola et al managing diversity is not just about concentrating on issue of discrimination, but about ensuring that all...