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Workplace diversity management in Australia: What do managers think and what are organisations doing?

Paul J. Davis (KIMEP University, Almaty, Kazakhstan)
Yuliya Frolova (KIMEP University, Almaty, Kazakhstan)
William Callahan (KIMEP University, Almaty, Kazakhstan)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 14 March 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify Australian managers’ attitudes and understandings regarding workforce diversity management (WDM) and the practices and incorporation of WDM in organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

Methodology is quantitative. A questionnaire in the form of a self-administered survey instrument was mailed to 650 managers (325 HR managers and 325 other managers) in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Findings

The research found that workforce diversity is not especially well understood or appreciated; especially by non-HR managers. Organisations appear generally not to prioritise WDM and levels of senior manager engagement with the topic are tentative. Statistical analysis highlighted considerable divergence of opinion across the surveyed group.

Research limitations/implications

As an exploratory study, further research is encouraged to better understand cause and effect relationships pertaining to the findings.

Practical implications

There are implications for HR managers or those in related roles who might design, implement and promote WDM initiatives. There are implications for consultants, employees and senior managers regarding education, awareness and support of diversity objectives.

Originality/value

Addresses a gap in the literature by looking at contemporary attitudes and practices regarding WDM in Australian organisations. Provides the first empirical comparison between HR and other managers on the topic.

Keywords

Citation

Davis, P.J., Frolova, Y. and Callahan, W. (2016), "Workplace diversity management in Australia: What do managers think and what are organisations doing?", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 35 No. 2, pp. 81-98. https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-03-2015-0020

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited