managing diversity

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is the concept of recognizing the wide variety of qualities possessed by people within an organization. It emphasizes the individuality of people, and the importance of valuing each person for his or her unique combination of skills, competences, attributes, knowledge, personality traits, etc. Advocates of managing diversity often present it as an alternative to equal opportunity. The latter is condemned for being obsessed with treating people the same, when people ought to be treated differently, in order to reflect their diversity. It is considered a new approach to fair treatment which values the individual: respect for the individual is stressed, and policies emphasizing individualism are preferred. Critics argue that the concept of managing diversity underestimates the extent to which people share common interests, values and beliefs, and have similar needs. By focusing on the individual, it ignores the importance of a shared, collective identity and the reality of social groupings. Moreover, rather than addressing fair treatment, it abandons the idea entirely and appeals to the selfish and self-serving aspects of human nature. In between, the advocates and the critics are commentators who argue that the management of diversity has an important practical application because it allows organizations with an increasingly diverse workforce to address the varying needs of both individuals and groups. Importantly, it can provide a means of putting fairness and respect for differences on the agenda in organizations with managers who previously have been resistant (or even hostile) to equal opportunities.

Subjects: Human Resource Management.

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