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Understanding the Managing/Valuing Diversity perspective. Judith Foreman. What is ‘managing diversity’?. The concept of Managing Diversity embodies two key assumptions The heterogeneity and diversity of social groups - discrimination and disadvantage are, therefore, multifaceted

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Understanding the Managing/Valuing Diversity perspective

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Understanding the managing valuing diversity perspective l.jpg

Understanding the Managing/Valuing Diversity perspective

Judith Foreman


What is managing diversity l.jpg

What is ‘managing diversity’?

The concept of Managing Diversity embodies two key assumptions

  • The heterogeneity and diversity of social groups - discrimination and disadvantage are, therefore, multifaceted

  • Organisations can benefit from valuing difference and managing diversity effectively

    Both ideas have implications for organisational change and professional practice


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What is Managing Diversity?

  • MD is often defined by comparing it with Equal Opportunities approaches

  • Some authors claim that MD represents a ‘paradigm’ shift in equal opportunities work

  • Some see MD as an extension/development of EOP


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Equal Opportunities

Externally driven

Rests on moral and legal arguments

Perceives EO as a cost

Managing Diversity

Internally driven

Rests on ‘business case’

Perceives MD (Managing Diversity) as investment

Equal Opportunities and Managing Diversity compared – drivers for change


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Equal Opportunities

Operational

Concerned with process

Externally imposed – low ‘buy-in’

Managing Diversity

Strategic

Concerned with outcomes

Internalised by all

Equal Opportunities and Managing Diversity compared – degree of integration


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Equal Opportunities

Difference perceived as other/problematical

Deficit model

Assimilation advocated

Managing Diversity

Difference perceived as asset/richness

Celebrates difference

Mainstream adaptation advocated

Equal Opportunities and Managing Diversity compared – perception of difference


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Equal Opportunities

Focus on group discrimination

Group initiatives

Supported by narrow positivist knowledge base

Managing Diversity

Focus on development for all individuals

Universal initiatives

Individual development

Supported by wider pluralistic knowledge base

Equal Opportunities and Managing Diversity compared – focus of action


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Different approaches to WP emerging from research


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Origins and application of MD to widening participation in HE

  • Private sector

  • More recent application to public/not for profit sector

  • Employment

  • Generally not as well developed in relation to customer/client diversity – especially student diversity


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‘Business Case’ in HE

  • Business case not an approach used in HE

  • WP driven by a range of factors

    • Govt policy

    • Funding

    • Institutional mission – social justice

    • Market position


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Why a Business Case?

  • Creates internal arguments for student diversity and WP based on benefits to institution

  • HE Sector is partially ‘marketised’, so ‘business’ arguments apply

  • HE sector is diverse, so not ‘one size fits all’

  • Organisational change


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Elements of a Business Case

  • Potential benefits to the institution

  • Potential costs, risks and barriers

  • Differential impacts on different stakeholders

  • Do the benefits outweigh the costs?

  • Can the costs be met?


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External Drivers

Internal Drivers

Recruitment

‘Pool of Talent’

Improving T&L

New markets

Reputation

(Access to funding)

Legislation

Funding and policy drivers

Ethical drivers - Social justice

Organisational Change

Mission Commitment

Corporate Social Responsibility


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Potential benefits to institutions

  • Increased student numbers

  • Tapping the pool of talent

  • Improving teaching and learning

  • Access to funding

  • New roles and markets

  • Complying with legislation

  • Reputation


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Group discussion activity

  • Which of the benefits would be most relevant to your institution(s)?

  • How might these provide a rationale for further investment in managing student diversity?

  • What would be the implications of this (costs, risks, barriers etc)


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Costs and risks

  • Additional cost of supporting the learning experience

  • Costs of low retention

  • New course development (for new student markets)

  • Academic standards

  • Diverting funding from ‘core business’


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Barriers

Internal barriers context specific, e.g.

  • Other activities such as research being more highly valued

  • Institutional history and perceptions held by prospective students (and some staff!)

  • Fear of adverse effect on existing student cohorts

  • External barriers, e.g. funding system


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