Management Report


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Question:

3000 word individually authored report which will comprise of secondary data and, where appropriate, primary research.

The report will fall into two rough, halves.

  • In the first half the student is required to offer an analytical, contextual overview of Managing workplace diversity inthe UK(talking generally about managing workplace diversity in the UK)
  • Key points to consider:
  • What is Diversity at the Workplace (definition)?
  • What is the importance of managing workplace diversity and the benefits of being divers in the workplacein UK and consequences of ignoring it?
  • Challenges that diversity in the workplace faces in UK?
  • How to manage diversity?
  • Why and when did Managing Diversity emerge? (History)
  • The role of UK government in existing diversity in the workplace (e.g. Legislation)
  • What problems and issues is it supposed to address? (Institutional factors)

Is it working?

  • The second half requires the student to present a policy-oriented analysis of Disability Discriminationin the UK
  • Key points to consider:
  • General idea about disability discrimination in UK
  • Examples of disability discrimination in UK. (E.g. disabled people get less top managerial position)
  • How does the Disability Discrimination Act support disabled people? (UK act 2010)
  • Make a comparison between disability discrimination in UK and any country in Europe and determine which one of them is considered as a role model in dealing with disability issue?
  • Give two true stories that show disability discrimination in the workplace in UK?
  • Recommendations to prevent disability discrimination in the workplace and to activate the role of disabled people in workplace (in UK) and benefits that comes from these recommendations?

What should it look like?

  • Two parts
  • Use the marking criteria
  • Likely format – REPORT
  • Uses recent information and data – theory and research evidence; statistics and case studies
  • Work should be referenced systematically throughout

Writ an index page

Answer:

Table of Contents

Part 1: Managing workplace diversity in the UK: An overview.. 2

Introduction. 2

Consequences of ignoring diversity in the workplace. 3

Challenges of workplace diversity in the UK. 3

How to manage diversity. 6

History of diversity management 7

The role of UK government in the promotion of diversity in the workplace: The enactment of legislation. 8

Part 2: A policy-oriented analysis of Disability Discrimination in the UK. 9

Overview of disability discrimination in UK. 9

How the Discrimination Act supports disabled people (UK Equality Act 2010) 10

Comparison between disability discrimination in the UK and Sweden. 11

True stories that show disability discrimination in the workplace in UK. 12

Recommendations. 13

References. 15

 

Part 1: Managing workplace diversity in the UK: An overview

Introduction

Diversity at the workplace may be defined as differences and similarities among employees with regard to cultural background, age, physical disabilities and abilities, religion, race, sexual orientation, sex, class, gender, and ethnicity (Rosado, 2006). The need for workplace diversity arises has in recent times been emphasized as part of efforts to build all-inclusive organizations. When workplace diversity is promoted, chances of achieving greater productivity are increased.

In the UK, the debate on diversity in the workplace continues to dominate in mainstream organizational discourse. One of the benefits of embracing workplace diversity in the UK is that it increased the pool of qualified candidates for various job positions. Companies that embrace workplace diversity instantly attract a larger number of candidates for the job vacancies advertised. Moreover, candidates with higher education who are used to living in an environment with workplace diversity consider such companies to be more progressive. The large pool of candidates makes it easy for the company to select the best candidates for various jobs.

It also leads to a reduction in number of lawsuits. UK organizations that demonstrate true commitment to workplace diversity receive fewer claims arising from discrimination. Employees who take legal actions against their employers can only claim discrimination after termination or victimization on the basis of a difference that sets him apart from his co-workers. In the case of companies that hire and retain a diverse workforce at all levels, the need for such claims does not arise.

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Moreover, a company that embraces diversity at the workplace succeeds in building a positive image. Many people aspire to work in companies where employees are hired and promoted without any consideration to their backgrounds, race, colour, age, religion, class, gender, sexual orientation or disabilities. Moreover, customers relating with such companies feel that they are valued and therefore choose to maintain the existing corporate relations.

Consequences of ignoring diversity in the workplace

In the UK, companies that fail to adhere to tenets of workplace diversity face a number of consequences. First, the UK government has put in place legislation to ensure that a culture of diversity in the workplace is promoted (Barak, 2010). Moreover, the European Union (EU), of which the UK is a member state, has also put in place legislative mechanisms of dealing with discrimination in the workplace. For instance, the Amsterdam Treaty contains provisions that give the EU powerful legal competences for strengthening the fight against workplace discrimination (Montes, 2003). In the UK, one of the outcomes of this effort by the EU is the enactment of legislation for combating workplace harassment and discrimination.

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Through the efforts of the EU, the UK government has been gaining insights into the best ways of creating a framework for ensuring that all employees are accorded equal treatment as well as access to opportunities arising in the workplace. Failure by companies to comply with these requirements exposes them to dire legal consequences.

Challenges of workplace diversity in the UK

However, serious challenges continue to be faced in efforts to promote workplace diversity in the UK. The socio-economic arrangements of the twenty first century are going through dramatic changes. These changes have far-reaching implications on notions of equality and inclusiveness. In some cases, they have necessitated changes in the practices that have traditionally guided organizations and communities as far as the quest for workplace diversity is concerned.

The most significant challenges relate to those aspects of diversity management that impact on the development of capabilities, effectiveness, reputation, and performance of the organization. A major challenge arises because of the demographic, political, social, and economic changes that have occurred in today’s society. Many events occurring in recent times on a global scale have reignited intolerance and polarization.

The United Kingdom is one of the Western countries that have been greatly affected by this wave of turbulence. In such an environment, many organizations are tempted to seek comfort of stable familiar cultures as an instinctive response (Clutterbuck & Ragins, 2002). However, it is dangerous for an organization to operate on the basis of such instinctive responses. Such responses breed prolonged conflicts and subsequent destruction. In fact, for organizations of today to survive, they must embrace workplace diversity more than at any other time in the past. Given that the UK is one of most diverse societies in the today’s world, the need to embrace diversity is even more urgent.

One of the challenges faced in the UK is on ensuring that more women are given employment and career progression opportunities.  Many women are normally tied up by familial responsibilities, making it difficult for them to compete at the same level with men at the workplace. Sometimes, it becomes necessary for affirmative action programs to be introduced in order to promote diversity in relation to gender.

Additionally, stakeholders in the UK face competing demands posed by social justice on the one hand and corporate competitiveness on the other. The goals of social justice are advanced through diversity while those of corporate competitiveness are promoted through the setting up of a business case. To achieve the goal of workplace diversity, many for-profit organizations are at times compelled to forego short-term business benefits (Tomlinson, 2010).

Another challenge is on ensuring that diversity is achieved in the way corporate boards in the UK are constituted. This is particularly the case regarding efforts to achieve gender and ethnic diversity (Brammer & Millington, 2007). In such cases, efforts are normally made to put emphasis on factors such as industry characteristics and board size in determining the achievability of the goal of diversity (Brammer & Millington, 2007). According to Brammer & Millington (2007), the goal of gender and ethnic diversity with regard to board composition has been achieved to a very limited extent. In other words, diversity is not well pronounced. However, in some areas such as media, banking, utilities, and retail, an above-average representation of women has been achieved. This seems to suggest that board composition is greatly influenced by the external business environment of the firm, with the aim being to provide a reflection of the corresponding diversity of customers (Brammer & Millington, 2007).

In 2004, the British Workplace Employment Relations survey showed that 61 percent of all members of corporate boards in the hotels and restaurants industry were women (Brammer & Millington, 2007). In contrast, women constituted only 10 percent of the total corporate board membership in the construction industry (Brammer & Millington, 2007). In the transport and communication industry, women represented 21 percent of the corporate board membership (Brammer & Millington, 2007).

How to manage diversity

Today, there is a growing body of literature on how to manage workplace diversity. The first step is to ensure that all HR policies from recruitment to promotion and remuneration are based strictly on employee performance. HR managers must make conscious efforts to ensure that ethnic background and tenure do not in any way influence the way HR policies are implemented. The starting point entails putting in place strong policies for promoting equality (Prasad, 2006). The second step is to rate qualifications of all candidates on the basis of his or her experience and not age, gender, or social class (Prasad, 2006). Hiring of a diverse but highly qualified workforce marks the beginning of a journey towards success in diversity management.

In the third step, the top managers should promote and encourage diversity whenever they are establishing special work groups and teams within the organization (Prasad, 2006). A manager should dismantle all work groups that fail to utilize the skills of the company’s most qualified employees and reconstitute them in the right manner. Fourthly, complaints of discrimination and favouritism are bound to surface in any large company. Such complaints should be treated with a lot of seriousness (Prasad, 2006). Employees must be encouraged to report all incidents of favouritism and discriminatory behaviour. The responsibility of the management is to ensure that there is a definitive process through which such issues are investigated and dealt with. Lastly, every organization should expose the entire staff to quarterly training that addresses the importance of diversity in the workplace. During these meetings, discussions on ways of managing workplace diversity in a better way should be encouraged.

However, although this academic evidence is of critical importance, it does not tell the whole story. It does not tell much about the realities of real-life challenges relating to the management of workplace diversity. It should be supplemented with case studies of specific companies and how they went about the task of managing diversity. In the UK, one case study worth exploring is that of a company called Rent-A-Car (Wood, 2012). This company set out to achieve gender diversity. To achieve this goal, the company’s management was determined to create an environment of career progression and work-life balance for women. This quest for gender diversity was driven by the conviction that such a move was fundamental to the establishment of a culture of success. The company also wanted to maintain a representative proportion of women in all areas in order to ensure future sustainability.

One of the actions taken by Rent-A-Car was the launch of a new scheme that would update all new parents on all business developments while they are on maternity leave (Wood, 2012). Moreover, the company introduced quality mentoring opportunities for all promising female talents. The company also launched a leadership development group for helping them qualify for promotion to senior positions.

These efforts led to various achievements at Rent-A-Car in 2011. One of them was a 3 percent increase in the proportion of women in the workforce to reach 37 percent (Wood, 2012). The number of women returning to work from maternity leave increased to 89 percent (Wood, 2012). Additionally, 50 female employees benefited from the mentorship programs run by senior directors (Wood, 2012). Following these efforts, 9 percent of these women were promoted to senior roles (Wood, 2012).

History of diversity management

The idea of managing diversity emerged following concerns that certain people in society had for a long time been marginalized and denied opportunities in the workplace. Therefore, the first step towards the emergence of diversity management was the recognition of the culture of exclusion that locked people out of the workplace on the basis of characteristics such as physical disability, racial and ethnic background, gender, age, social class, and sex.

Interest in diversity management increased dramatically in management literature in the second half of the twentieth century (Lorbiecki, 2000). This was largely because of the realization that many organizations were missing on growth opportunities because of locking talented employees on the basis of their factors such as race, sex, sexual orientation, and social class. Another reason why the debate on the management of workplace diversity raged was that the world was becoming increasingly multicultural, particularly with the onset of globalization and information technology in the 1980s.

The role of UK government in the promotion of diversity in the workplace: The enactment of legislation

All this time, the UK government has been playing a critical role in promoting workplace diversity. The most critical way in which the government fulfils this role is through legislation. In 2006, the UK government enacted legislation aimed at dealing with age discrimination (Christian, 2012). This legislation came to the fore at a time when far-reaching demographic changes were occurring across the UK (Christian, 2012). For instance, between 2002 and 2008, the working population (aged 16-64 for men and 16-59 for women) increased from 38.1 million to 43.3 million (Christian, 2012). Moreover, a rapid increase in the country’s aging population greatly impacted on the enactment of this legislation.

Although progress is being made through legislation aimed at addressing workplace diversity, many institutional factors act as a hindrance. For this reason, the legislation fails to work in the intended manner. The same thing may be said regarding the Equality Act 2010. This Act provides protection against discrimination on the basis of age in training, employment, and adult education. In fact, the Equality Act 2010 was enacted as a replacement to the Employment Equality Regulations of 2006.

Part 2: A policy-oriented analysis of Disability Discrimination in the UK

Overview of disability discrimination in UK

Disability discrimination is a serious problem in the UK today. This is what necessitated the enactment of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995. The aim of this Act was to bring discrimination faced by people with disabilities to an end. The Act was extended by embedding the Disability Discrimination Order (DDO) 2006. In its new form, the Act gives persons with disabilities express rights in respect of education, employment, access to services, and functions of public entities. The Act also gives people with disabilities the right to disability-related adaptations in residential areas, public utilities, and recreational facilities.

In the UK, disabled people face discrimination in many ways. For example, very few disabled people have succeeded in ascending to top managerial positions. Such people are routinely discriminated against by businesses as well as local authorities across the UK. The people and organizations that discriminate against these disabled people fail to appreciate the impact their actions (or lack thereof) to comply with legislation on disability discrimination. In some instances, disability discrimination in the UK occurs because people lack disability awareness training. They therefore fail to make reasonable adjustments. This failure is normally observed both at the individual level and within the corporate sphere.

How the Discrimination Act supports disabled people (UK Equality Act 2010)

The Discrimination Act (Equality Act 2010) provides a clear description of who a disabled person is. This description provides clarity to managers and workmates who may not be aware of what it means for a person to have a disability. The provisions contained in this Act also provide crucial information on how various stakeholders in the workplace can ensure that the goal of protection against direct and indirect discrimination is achieved (Wadham &  Robinson, 2010).

The Equality Act 2010 also provides an acknowledgment of discrimination that arises from disability as a replacement to the protection provided under previous legislation (Wadham &  Robinson, 2010). This is crucial because some of the protection has been lost under previous legislation through legal judgment. Similarly, the Act aligns the goal of protection from disability protection with employment law. This means that there is great similarity between the approaches used in the two laws.

Moreover, within the Equality Act 2010, various thresholds relating to the duty to ensure that reasonable adjustments have been extended for disabled has been harmonized (Wadham &  Robinson, 2010). One positive impact of this undertaking is that this new Act covers protection against harassment of disabled employees by third parties (Wadham &  Robinson, 2010). The Act even states the various characteristics of disability that are under its statutory protection.

Comparison between disability discrimination in the UK and Sweden

A comparison between disability discrimination in the UK and in Sweden is important because it would shed a lot of light on the progress being made to achieve the goal of workplace diversity. Moreover, it would enable policymakers determine which one between these two countries should be considered a role model as far as dealing with the issue of disability is concerned. This undertaking is very important considering that one in six citizens in the European Union (EU) suffers from a disability (Bassett-Jones, 2005). These disabilities range from mild body problems to serious physical deformities that hinder one’s ability to perform basic daily routines.

In Sweden, about 1.5 million people are disabled in some way (Fägerlind, 2011). A primary objective of the disability policy in Sweden has been to empower people belonging to this group and enable them take charge over their daily lives. At the beginning, Swedish stakeholders focused on social and welfare issues. However, in recent times, the government has been spearheading efforts to shift focus to democracy and human rights. In early 2011, the Swedish government oversaw the launch of a new strategy aimed at guiding this disability policy for the period leading up to the end of 2016 (Fägerlind, 2011). The objective of this undertaking was to ensure that people with disabilities are continually being given a chance of social participation similar to that of the rest of the Swedish population.

Towards this end, the Swedish government has identified several priority areas, three of which are accorded special attention: transportation, justice system, and information technology strategy (Omanović, 2009). In the area of transportation, the goal is to ensure that every disabled person is able to travel without any hindrances. This would enable them work, pursue studies, and participate in community activities just like everyone else. To achieve this goal, the Swedish government has already instructed all the country’s municipalities to launch initiatives that increase accessibilities to tram and bus stops. The government is also undertaking a review of the country’s Public Transportation Act. Moreover, plans are underway for the introduction of a new law that will establish the rights of all travelers at local, regional, and national levels.

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In the area of the Swedish justice system, the objective is to ensure that all citizens get the feeling that laws are relevant and reasonable, and that the country’s justice system is working effectively towards ensuring compliance with the legal rights of persons with disabilities. Towards, this end, police authorities face the challenge of creating a new culture where all operations are analyzed from the disability perspective.

Regarding the Information Technology strategy, the public sector has in recent years been using the internet as an excellent platform for increasing the accessibility to amenities by disabled persons. Many new IT tools  available today provide people with disabilities with a greater level of independence (Wrench, 2012). Through such efforts towards digital inclusion, Sweden hopes to be a model with regard to dealing with the issue of disability.

In comparison to Sweden, the UK lags behinds on the issue of initiating programs that benefit people with disabilities. Sweden seems to have adopted a more holistic approach in managing workplace diversity, particularly by ensuring that more disabled people obtain employment opportunities. For this reason, Sweden may be said to be a role model in the quest for equality for people with disabilities in the EU.

True stories that show disability discrimination in the workplace in UK

Many stories have been told of people who have suffered disability discrimination in the workplace in the UK. One such story is that of Julian Wesley, a member of the Union of Shop, Distributors, and Allied Workers (USDAW). He saw an advert in the newspaper for a job as a wagon driver in a local depot. He called the employer, who asked him: “are you well and fit?” Wesley answered to the affirmative, and went on to volunteer additional information: “I have an artificial leg that is as a result of a previous work-related accident”. The employer laughed and asked him to stop joking by saying that he was well, fit, and fully capable of working as a driver. With those words, he had already missed out on yet another job opportunity because of his disability. Suffice it to say that he was perfectly capable of driving the wagon as long as it had an automatic clutch.

The second story is that of Margaret Louis, a disabled, London-based retail worker. Louis’ only concern is that the retail store’s management has refused to put a lift in the store. As a disabled person, Louis has to move up and down the stairs many times every day. She is required to carry some bags upstairs but is unable to do so because she has some of her fingers missing. Louis insists that her disability is not getting her down; rather, she is being let down by retail store’s managers for their persistent failure to provide the necessary support.

Recommendations

Below are the four recommendations for preventing disability discrimination in the workplace and for activating the role of disabled people in the UK workplace. These recommendations are based on the data, information, discussion, and analysis presented in this report.

  1. People with disability need to know their rights. This would enable them know what they are legally entitled for at the workplace and to demand it.
  2. Employers need to put in place facilities that make it easier for disabled people to work. Facilities such as lifts, vehicles with automatic clutches, and IT tools would increase the effectiveness of disabled persons as well as increase their accessibility to amenities.
  3. There is a need for disability training and awareness for employers, employees, and the entire UK society. Many people who discriminate against disabled people do not do so intentionally. They do it out of ignorance for the needs of persons with disabilities. Such awareness and training programs would enable citizens contribute to the welfare of disabled persons, thereby promoting workplace diversity.
  4. Lastly, there is a need for proper enforcement of legislation, particularly the Equality Act 2010, with the aim of promoting diversity in the workplace. Such laws provide a stable framework through which organizations can pursue the goal of workplace diversity. They also provide disabled people with opportunities for seeking legal redress and compensation whenever they are discriminated against at the workplace.

 

References

Barak, M. (2010). Managing diversity: Toward a globally inclusive workplace. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Bassett-Jones, N. (2005). The Paradox of Diversity Management, Creativity and Innovation. Creativity and Innovation Management, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 169–175.

Brammer, S. & Millington, A. (2007). Gender and Ethnic Diversity Among UK Corporate Boards. Journal of Corporate Governance, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 393-403.

Christian, J. (2012). Workplace Diversity and Group Relations: An Overview. Harvard University Press, Harvard.

Clutterbuck, D. & Ragins, B. (2002). Mentoring and diversity. Heinemann, London.

Fägerlind, G. (2011). Diversity in Working Life in Sweden: Ideas, Activities and Players. Longman, London.

Lorbiecki, A. (2000). Critical Turns in the Evolution of Diversity Management. British Academy of Management, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 17–31.

Montes, T. (2003). The Future of Workplace Diversity in the New Millennium. Blackwell Publishing, London.

Omanović, V. (2009). Diversity and its management as a dialectical process: Encountering Sweden and the U.S. Scandinavian Journal of Management, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 352–362.

Prasad, P. (2006). Examining the contours of workplace diversity. Free Press, Washington, D.C.

Rosado, C. (2006). What Do We Mean By “Managing Diversity”? ICAFAI University Press, Hyderabad.

Tomlinson, F. (2010). Reconciling Competing Discourses of Diversity? The UK Non-Profit Sector Between Social Justice and the Business Case. Organization, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 101-121.

Wadham, J. &  Robinson, A. (2010). Blackstone’s guide to the Equality Act 2010. Blackwell Publishing, London.

Wood, S. (2012). High Commitment Management in the U.K.: Evidence from the Workplace Industrial Relations Survey, and Employers’ Manpower and Skills Practices Survey. Human Relations, Vol. 51, No. 4, pp. 485-515.

Wrench, J. (2012). Anti-Discrimination Training At The Workplace In Europe: The Application Of An International Typology. Norwegian University of Science and Technology Press, Stockholm.


 

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