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Equality, diversity and corporate responsibility: Sexual orientation and diversity management in the UK private sector

Fiona Colgan (Comparative Organisation and Equality Research Centre, London Metropolitan Business School, London, UK)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 8 November 2011




The purpose of this paper is to explore the triggers to the development of sexual orientation diversity policy and practice in the UK private sector, based on the perspectives of those “championing” sexual orientation diversity work.


The paper is based on 22 in‐depth key informant interviews which can be broken down as follows: diversity specialists (5), management (6, of whom 3 were sexual orientation senior management “champions” in their organisations), trade union (3) and LGBT network group representatives (8), as well as access to company and trade union web sites and publications. Interviews sought to trace the history of sexual orientation equality and diversity work, development of structures, policies and practices as well as triggers and barriers to progress and areas of innovation.


Recent literature on equality and diversity in the British national context has sought to explore the implications of a social justice versus a business case driven equality and diversity agenda. This paper considers that this dichotomous analysis can be unhelpful. Within the private sector case studies, the difference between the two approaches was not clear‐cut. The corporate social responsibility agenda seemed to offer a broader vision for sexual orientation diversity work in a global context. It promised a more activist awareness of international human rights standards, stakeholder involvement plus links between employee and customer rights and concerns.


The paper addresses a gap in knowledge regarding sexual orientation diversity management in the UK private sector. It also considers the links between corporate social responsibility and sexual orientation diversity management.



Colgan, F. (2011), "Equality, diversity and corporate responsibility: Sexual orientation and diversity management in the UK private sector", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 30 No. 8, pp. 719-734.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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