According to Hemphill and Haines (1994, pp. 17-27), there are six types of discrimination exist in the workplace. For example, gender discrimination, age discrimination, disabilities discrimination, race discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, and sexual harassment discrimination. This research questions whether diversity management could be a solution to deal with the existing types of discrimination.
There has been many researcher was published paper about discrimination and diversity management but nearly none of them focus on how can a company use diversity management as a solution to discrimination in workplace, which mean related diversity management to discrimination issues.
This research will focus on the effectiveness way of diversity management in dealing with discrimination issues in workplace, meanwhile, the writer choose a Chinese company as a case study to illustrate it.
Section 2.1 will present several common discrimination types in workplace, this section consists of seven parts, which are the definition of discrimination and 6 main aspects of discrimination in workplace. Section 2.2 will focus on the links between diversity management and discrimination issues. Section 2.3 will illustrate the limitation of diversity management in dealing with discrimination issues in workplace. Section 2.4 will explain the research gap of this research. Section 2.5 will give a summary of whole literature review part.
2.1 Discrimination in workplace
2.1.1 The definition of Discrimination
Phomphakdy & Kleiner (1999) explain that there are many discrimination still exist in workplace, and “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes job discrimination illegal”, the law also rules” Employers cannot use race, skin colour, age, gender, religious belief, or national origin as their basic for hiring; nor can these be used as the basis for promotions, dismissals, pay raises, benefits, as- signments, leaves of absence, or any other employment relationship beginning from the pre-hiring interviews to the post-employment stages”. Based on that, if employer breaks the law, then it is called discrimination. For instance, employees are often discriminated against in the workplace for a variety of reasons, for example, female sometimes have a low position in some Chinese companies, and their efforts of work usually less valued by employers.
Other authors (see Hemphill and Haines 1994, pp. 17-27) described the six important discrimination types in the workplace.
2.1.2 Gender Discrimination
Chien and Kleiner (1999) indicate that there are two theories could illustrate the expression of gender discrimination, which are “disparate treatment” and “disparate impact”. Disparate treatment means an institution treat men and women differently by sex and disparate impact means some personnel policy is unfair to protected groups, which reflected in refuse give them promotion and hire (P.32). Here are some examples of women were received unfair treatment. Firstly, Broadbridge(1995) claims that female workers’ total incomes of weekly and hourly is lower than male worker in some company of retail trade, the incomes of female only consists of one quarter of male (P. 122). Secondly, Chien and Keiner (1999) argue that women are regard as not suitable for senior executive, their skills and contributions cannot effectively deal with high-level work then caused failure (P. 33). Thirdly, based on Chien and Keiner(1999), two employees who were late for work due to lunch are also treated differently because of their gender (P. 32). In addition, Chien and Keiner (1999, P. 32) described female applicants in fire department were considered as substandard because the superior thought their strength requirement does not meet the standard.
2.1.3 Age Discrimination
Kapur and Kleiner (2000) suggested that the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 guarantees the rights of employees over 40 years old, which contains “person because his/her age with respect to any term, condition or privilege of employee – including but not limited to hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training” (Facts, 1999) (P. 83). For example, according to Kapur and Kleiner(2000), seven security guards was fired due to they are over 40 years old and the reason is that their manager want hire some young people to replace them (P. 85).
2.1.4 Disabilities Discrimination
Phomphakdy and Kleiner (1999, quoted in Hemphill and Haines, 1997, PP. 17-27) defined disability as “blindness, the use of a hearing device, or a wheelchair” and “HIV infection, AIDS, cancer, diabetes, and the mental and emotional illnesses” (P.43).
2.1.5 Race Discrimination
Kapur and Kleiner (2000) points out that according to the EEOC, racial discrimination was defined that in the workplace as discrimination because of “race or colour in regard to hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition or privilege of employee” (Facts, 1999) (P. 83). Firstly, Smith (1999) points out that a New York brewery was accused of racial discrimination, and managers often attacked foreign job-seekers with humiliating statements, such as “she is so black, she looks like she just came from out of Africa yester- day” or that person was a “Chinese with pimples”, and then they were sued and companies were forced to pay employees, in addition, according to Finkelstein, managers must promise not post discriminatory statements any more (P. 84). Secondly, Dong and Kleiner (1999) point out wage inequality among Asians in the United States is the most common problem in jobs, and the employers pay them at rate less than other race. There are also differences in wages for native-born whites and Asians in the same amount of work (P. 12). Thirdly, Lui and Kleiner (2001, quoted in Reid, 1998) argues that minority women wages are generally lower than white women (P. 123), and they also explain the views (2001, cited in Kleiman, 1995) support the idea that the boss has the different attitude to the unpaid leave between minority women and white women, meanwhile, minorities women suffer from both gender and race discrimination (P. 123).
2.1.6 Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Phomphakdy and Kleiner (1999, quoted in Hemphill and Haines, 1997, PP. 17-27) pointed that there are few evidence on gay discrimination, because researchers are largely does not concentrate on homosexuality in the workplace (P. 44).
2.1.7Sexual Harassment Discrimination
Chien and Keiner (1999) argued that another type of gender discrimination is sexual harassment, and they defined sexual harassment as “deliberate or repeated unsolicited and unwelcome verbal comments, gestures, or physical contact of a sexual nature in a work place or work- related environment” (P. 32). Kapur and Kleiner (2000) stressed that some female employee in beer industry was tolerate verbal sexual harassment, like “we do not like women up here, but, you know, I really like you.” and “Are you a motorcycle mama?” (P. 84) However, they lost the case because of lack of evidence. Kapur and Kleiner (2000) showed that there are many women experience sexual harassment and offensive comments in the workplace (PP. 83-84).
2.2 Diversity Management
2.2.1 The definition of Diversity Management
Tisserant et al. (2012, P. 36) defined diversity management as “a formative change process for organisations, calls for an initial diagnosis where the measurement of diversity must be closely associated with that of discrimination”. Thomas, 1990; Özbilgin, 2009; Kirton and Greene, 2009; Klarsfeld, 2010 argued that diversity management has become the “orthodoxy” on inequality or job discrimination (Knights and Omanović, 2016, P. 5). Tisserant et al. (2012) pointed that diversity measurement has a purpose for correction, and it can help employees develop tailored interventions then improve the organization’s diversity management (P. 37).
2.2.2 The process of HRM – Recruitment
Tisserant et al. (2012) argued diversity management used to relate to three aspects, the first aspects is process of Human Resource Management, such as recruitment, salary, training and relationship with stakeholders; the third aspects contain the first two aspects, meanwhile, it “concerns awareness and training actions”, besides, it involves “measurement group” and “promotion and diversity indicators and indicators of the fight against discrimination”(P. 38).
2.2.3 Gender equality
Kim et al. (2015) illustrate that diversity management gives women more opportunities, and women often think they can benefit from it, and women are more happier accept diversity management than men (PP. 262-263). Knights and Omanović (2016) argued that in business case for DM, recruiting women is difficult and they may not be able to develop well due to in such a male-dominated environment, technology and fixed environment. Besides, a manager says because in the information send by the top project managers, women do not stay on the level of promotion, which is probably due to male-dominated culture (PP. 8-9). Kim et al. (2015) point out effective diversity management could raise employee satisfaction effectively and also can get better performance in western countries, but people in Asian countries pay less attention to diversity management (PP. 259-260), for example, in Korea, with male domination, male employees have higher positions and resources than female employees because of their status and power. As a result, minority women are discriminated against on the basis of the majority by sharing the information and resources (PP. 260-261). Kim et al. (2015) also illustrate that although the status of women has risen and the employment rate has also risen, traditional attitudes still hold women at bay, sometimes frustrating them (P. 261).
2.2.4 Senior workers
Kim et al. (2015, P. 261) suggested that organizations provide equitable treatment to employees and find a positive relationship between diversity management practices and job performance, which also provides a way for all organizations to increase the performance of their employees.
2.2.5 disabled people and ethnic
Knights and Omanović(2016, P. 11) believe that diversified management in special cases can relieve the race discrimination, diversity development related to economy, such as in the case of labor shortage, different nationality labour is easy to be employed.
2.2.6 Social and cultural diversity
Askikali and Groeneveld (2015, P. 758) argue that company was tend to building an inclusive work atmosphere diversity management and it will good for everyone, thereby enhancing the positive attitudes and behaviour of all employees, meanwhile, employee will have more active attitude and make more contributions when they think the HR practice is benefit to them, which is benefit for organization to reach a target. Askikali and Groeneveld (2015) also explain that diversity management focus on organization and management practice and try to change the culture and practice, meanwhile, respect different value of employee and try to create a more inclusive climate to promote development of organization (P. 760).
2.2.7Five method to minimize discrimination
Kapur and Kleiner (2000) argued that to reduce and remove the discrimination in workplace, the superior of beer industry give five possible method, which are “educate the employee; train the employee; have a clear and easy to understand policy about discrimination; enforce the policy; protect the employee through labour unions” (P. 85).
According to Knights and Omanović, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into account in the success of diversity management, and the power of the background cannot be ignored. Furthermore, case studies reveal how some workers are disadvantaged, not only because of their race, but also because of the interplay of race and their aging. They also illustrate that the effect of managing diversity is hard to justify morally, but it is likely to be forgiven if the evidence supports the expected causality. Overall, so far, the empirical results are quite contradictory, usually the result of the report is contradictory (Christian et al., 2006), offers no evidence to support the management good diversity will increase organizational profitability view (such as Kochan et al., 2003; (Shoobridge, 2006), may not improve creativity and innovation ability (Muhr, 2008) (PP. 13-14).
2.4 Research Gap
Presently, many previous researchers have illustrates the diversity management and discrimination. For example, Kim etal.(2015) stating investigate the impact of diversity management practices on organizational commitment and the relationship between gender, diversity management, organization commitment and job performance in a male-dominated society. Pringle and Ryan (2015) pointed that operate in the context of diversity management research. Besides, Tisserant, Wagner and Barth (2012) present the theoretical and operational definition of the concept of discrimination tendencies (PTDs) as a diagnostic indicator of diversity management. However, local scholars (Humphries and Grice，1995) thinks that diversity management is only a tool to absorb workers’ capitalist interests (Pringle and Ryan, 2015, P. 472). For example, most previous researchers have discussed the diversity management and discrimination, but few study discussed if diversity management can be used to deal with the discrimination in workplace. So, this article will choose a company called Hainan coconut tree group co. LTD. in China as the case study and by using this case study to discuss the effective way of diversity management to deal with discrimination in workplace.
In summary, the literature review is included five parts. The first one is discrimination in workplace; the second one is diversity management; the third one is limitation of diversity management, the fourth one is research gap and the last is summary. In following research, I will continue discuss the research methodology.
Chapter 3: Methodology
This dissertation employed the method of in-depth interviews and descriptive analysis to study the current situation of discrimination and if diversity management could be a effective mean to solve it. As for the concept of discrimination, the literature review in Chapter 2 covers varies types of discrimination in the work place. The in-depth interviews reveal the opinions of the employees on the subject. To address the second research question, the dissertation analyzes the answers of the in-depth interview and investigates whether the literature supports the results.
3.2 Data Collection
Since there is not much information on this field we could find online or in any other resources, this research uses the qualitative method to generate firsthand data and information. Normally, both quantitative and qualitative methods are used to generate firsthand data and information—quantitative to generate statistic data, and qualitative to generate information that could be reported in language (McLeod, 2008). The quatitative method generates data in absolute numbers using observations or tests; it is less contentious since the objective data can be analyzed in an unbiased way (Ben-Eliyahu, 2014). However, the qualitative method is more appropriate for this research, as it finds out how people feel and view things. Also, this is an exploratory research. This method is often applied to exploratory research. Qualitative data uses open-ended questions to ask people about their feelings and thoughts, what they see and experience (Wyse, 2011).
3.3 In-depth interview Design
The in-depth Interview plays an important role in today’s sociology; in the academic world, the semi-structured interview is the main type of in-depth interview (Arksey & Knight, 1999; Hakim, 1987; Wengraf, 2001). This interview model is a face-to-face, direct interview model. Interviews require an in-depth session with an interviewer who has advanced interviewing skills. This method is often applied to exploratory research.
The interview outline is constructed of five major parts, including basic information of the employees, understanding the definition of discrimination, the experience of discrimination, the perception of diversity of management as well as the potential method to improve the current situation. All these parts use open-ended questions in order to generate more answers that is more likely to represent their true feeling and thoughts; so no dichotomous questions or multiple choices are included. In this way the interviewees are more likely to share more of their feelings. Much effort has been made to ensure authentic answers, and the information retrieved from the questionnaire will be considered as the main focus of the results analysis and as the key information.
The interview outline:
1.Is there any discrimination in workplace? Can you give some me examples?
2.Have you encountered any discrimination in your workplace? Please give me some examples.
3.What do you think of the concept of diversity management
4.Do you think the process of HRM – Recruitment involves diversity of management? If so, how ? If not, why?
5.Do you think gender equality as an aspect of diversity of management to deal with discrimination issues in workplace? If so, what kinds of discrimination issues to deal with? If not, why?
6.Do you think senior worker benefits as an aspect of diversity of management? If so, please explain. If not , why?
7.Do you think disabled people and ethnic benefits as aspects of diversity of management? If so, please explain. If not, why?
8.Do you think social and cultural diversity as aspects of diversity of management? If so, please explain. If not, why?
9. How does your company deal with discrimination issues in workplace?
10. In your opinion, do you think what the effective ways of diversity of management to deal with discrimination issues in workplace are?
3.4 Sample Size
In order to have a more comprehensive understanding of the employment system, the study interviewed 8 employees form different department, of different ages and in different occupations. Four of the interviewees were from high level management. Two of the interviewees were managers. The interviewees worked in different departments, so as to provide diverse views on organizational justice. Each interview lasted about 40 minutes.
To improve the effectiveness of the in-depth interview, it is generally preferred to select professionals who have worked for years in an organization. Because they understand the problem more comprehensively and with more depth, the interviewer can obtain unexpected information and inspiration. During the interview and data collation, memorandum or voice recording equipment should be prepared to record the interviews for later reflection on the people, concepts and themes, which will form a blueprint for the writing stage and lay a solid foundation for the formal writing of the in-depth interview research. To gain sincere responses from the respondents, the author has decided to conduct the interview in a relaxed environment such as the cafeteria below the office.
After the in-depth interview, the interviewer needs to collect and analyze the collected information and arrive at a conclusion. Because some participants are Chinese, so I will translate their answer form Chinese to English and it will shows in data analysis chapter. A coding system will be employed to sort out the interview data. The specific approach is to integrate similar information through the coding system; to analyze the relationship between the various categories; and after the classification of the data, combined with the relevant literature, to analyze the logical relationship between the various categories.
The author will combine the data gained from the interview with his own observations to carry out the analysis, to ensure a higher level of validity.
This chapter has outlined some benefits and drawbacks of the quantitative method and qualitative method respectively, and explained why the qualitative method was chosen for this research. It generates language-reported information that is subjective as needed for the analysis, and it reveals what the respondents are really thinking and feeling.
In this chapter, the writer will give an introduction about research methods, data collection and data analysis.
3.2 A justification of research methods
3.2.1 Research philosophy
Tracy (2013, P. 269) explain methodology is aim to explore philosophical approach, for example, illustrate the value of interpretivism.
3.2.2 Research method
Qualitative method will be used in this research.
Qualitative method is a way to “examine the object of enquiry”, which included different kinds of approach, but the base approach is provide an open form question to participants and allow them express themselves freely. The common forms of qualitative method are interview, focus group and observation (Liam, 1995, P. 33). Also, according to Liam, a qualitative method focus on the depth views and understanding of participants and personal experiences (1995, P. 32), which is appropriate to do my research.
In the qualitative research approach, this research would take a case study to illustrate the topic.
3.4 Data collection
This research will use a semi-structured interview to collect the data and information.
According to Sandy and John, interview is an important qualitative method to data collection (2011, P. 238), also, interview provide a platform to researcher to understand other people’s depth feeling, which is useful (Sandy and John, 2011, P.239). Doyle (2004) pointed that researcher must be fully prepared for interview and best with relevant professional knowledge in those areas to talk so that they can get more information from interviewee (P. 239), besides, it is important to researcher that understand information form interviewee correctly (Rubin and Rubin, 1995 P. 17). In this research, semi-structured interview was adopted, and according to Alvesson and Deetz, it is very common that semi-structured interview was used in many researches (2000, p. 194). The semi-structured interview is “is ﬂexible, accessible and intelligible”, and it is very convenience and effective to collect people’s idea (Kvale and Brinkmann, 2009). The conversation between researcher and interviewee could be more casual and relax by using semi-structured interview, the interview question usually a subjective question that is easy to answer.
In my research, I will find a case study of a China company to illustrate the current situation of discrimination and if diversity management as a effective way to solve it.
For this interview, I choose 8 participants form different areas and different ages and different occupations. Because some participants are Chinese, so I will translate their answer form Chinese to English and it will shows in data analysis chapter.
3.5 Data analysis
In this chapter, I will give the data analysis by collecting data.
Finding and Discussion
The writer will discuss the findings from the semi-structured interviews, meanwhile, the writer will make a connection with literature review part, which is answer the questions mentioned in previous chapter and illustrate the research gap.
There are 8 participants in the writer’s interview, which are postgraduate students and people who have work experience. The interview questions are:
9.Do you think what the kinds of discrimination in workplace? Can you give some examples?
10.Do you have some discrimination experiences in your workplace? If so, please explain. If not, why?
11.Do you think what the concept of diversity of management is?
1.Do you think the process of HRM – Recruitment involved diversity of management? If so, how ? If not, why?
2.Do you think gender equality as an aspect of diversity of management to deal with discrimination issues in workplace? If so, what kinds of discrimination issues to deal with? If not, why?
3.3. Do you think senior worker benefits as an aspect of diversity of management? If so, please explain. If not , why?
3.4. Do you think disabled people and ethnic benefits as aspects of diversity of management? If so, please explain. If not, why?
3.5 Do you think social and cultural diversity as aspects of diversity of management? If so, please explain. If not, why?
4. How does your company deal with discrimination issues in workplace?
5. In your opinion, do you think what the effective ways of diversity of management to deal with discrimination issues in workplace are?
According to the question, the participant give the different answers are:
The first interviewee has experience discrimination in workplace and she knows two types of discriminations, which are sex and age discrimination. Then her company has no solution to deal with discrimination issue, and the senior manager of the firm does not care about employees. Furthermore, she does not know about the diversity management, also, she thinks that diversity management cannot resolve discrimination issue because of private problems between workers are hard to solve. The second interviewee also has experience discrimination in workplace and people in the company thinks that she is young and lack of experience then lead to she is being treated differently, so there is a decline in trust between workers. He only knows degree discrimination. Then his company has some method to deal with discrimination which is company put the right people in the right place to avoid discrimination, such as women’s physical strength, so manager can put them in a group to avoid complaining. Meanwhile, he knows a little about diversity management, which in his words is company can manage different people according to their different abilities. He thinks that diversity management has some effects to deal with discrimination, for example, company can encourage employees, to overcome gender and education difference problem. The third interviewee’s major was discriminated against in the job interview and she knows three type of discrimination, which includes degree discrimination, major discrimination and age discrimination. Then her company used relax the recruitment condition according to the interviewer’s own ability to try to solve the discrimination. Then she know a little of diversity management. Furthermore, she thinks that diversity management could have effective on discrimination, such as giving full play to the advantages of the individual, and focus on the individual advantages in terms of recruitment instead of gender and some other reason. The fourth interviewee has no discrimination experience and he knows three types of discrimination included experience discrimination, degree discrimination and sex discrimination. Then his company has no solution to discrimination and he does not know diversity management. Meanwhile, he thinks that diversity management cannot solve discrimination effectively, because most employees does not focus on work performance but calculate others. The fifth interviewee has no discrimination experience and she also knows three types of discrimination, which are sex discrimination, height discrimination and degree discrimination. Then she does not know how the company deals with discrimination and she does not know the concept of diversity management. Furthermore, she does not think that diversity management can solve discrimination. The sixth interviewee has no discrimination experience in workplace and she knows four types of discrimination, which contain sex discrimination, age discrimination, sexual harassment discrimination and ability discrimination. Then her company organizes many research activities for young employees and older employees to discuss with each other, for example, the young employees have many innovative ideas and old employees have experience, so they can work together and promote each other to complete a planning activity. Then she describe diversity management as diversity management has been used as a broad term to improve the management practices of organizations using different types of human resources. Now enterprise personnel’s sex, race, religion, age, culture, profession, and many other personal characteristics of an increasingly diverse, a fixed pattern of management style has been misplaced, so diversity management arises at the historic moment. Moreover, she thinks that diversity management can be effective against discrimination. For example, the company can hold an exchange meeting and provide employees with a platform to share experience to make up for their shortcomings, meanwhile, old employees absorb new ideas, new employees avoid previous mistakes, these may could promotes the harmonious relationship between old and new employees. The seventh interviewee has no discrimination experience in workplace and she knows sex discrimination and disabled discrimination in workplace. To deal with discrimination issue, company assess the personal level of employees with the individual ability of the employee, completes the task index, the project process and the ability to solve the problem, and reward employees according to the staff’s comprehensive ability instead of depend on the degree. Then she knows a little about diversity management, which is company manages employees in a variety of ways. In addition, she thinks diversity management is a good way for company to deal with discrimination. For example, the company encourages employees to take professional examinations and further education to improve their professional qualifications, thus making up for the low degree. The eighth interviewee has no discrimination experience in workplace but she saw other colleagues in the company who were discriminated against by sex and degree. She knows sex discrimination, degree discrimination and experience discrimination. Then her company take these approach to deal with discrimination, the senior manager will hold a meeting each quarter to review their previous plans and work progress, furthermore, they will compare with the previous period to check if the existing problems have been resolved. Besides, she just knows few about diversity management. She thinks diversity management is useful to solve discrimination, the company pays attention to humanization development, treat same way with contract worker and regular worker and give them equal pay for equal work.
There are different opinion between different types of participants due to they have different position, different experience, different age, different degree and different gender.