chapter  5
25 Pages

Diversity Management in the Private Sector


We know that over the last 15 to 20 years increasing numbers of both private and public sector organizations across Europe and the USA have introduced equality policies that shift emphasis away from non-discrimination towards valuing diversity (European Commission 2005; Konrad 2003; Kelly and Dobbin 1998). As discussed in detail in Chapter 2, this shift has largely been based on ‘business case’ arguments, but in the European context has also been infl uenced by increased legal regulation in the equality and diversity area. However, the central points of the business case have become pervasive as rhetoric and in many cases as (attempted, sporadic) practice, particularly in larger organizations (Maxwell et al 2000; Subeliani and Tsogas 2005; Hoque and Noon 2004). The business case has been explicitly labelled a ‘privatised approach’ to equality (Dickens 1999: 9), and private sector pressures to generate profi t put the business case under its most revealing spotlight. In specifi cally UK terms, these pressures are shaped by an institutional investment and governance context that prioritizes short-term fi nancial returns, often referred to as ‘shareholder’ capitalism (Jacoby 2005).