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Article
Publication date: 18 June 2018

Thomas Köllen, Marja-Liisa Kakkuri-Knuuttila and Regine Bendl

There seems to exist a widespread, unquestioned and unquestionable consent, both in research and practice, that there is a moral value inherent in equality and related initiatives…

6043

Abstract

Purpose

There seems to exist a widespread, unquestioned and unquestionable consent, both in research and practice, that there is a moral value inherent in equality and related initiatives toward diversity and inclusion. However, this consent is primarily based on political convictions and emotional reasons, and is without any strong ethical grounding. Whilst a considerable volume of research has been carried out into different facets of the economic value of initiatives toward equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), comparatively little research has been undertaken into its moral value. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to structure the moral perspectives on EDI more precisely and more critically.

Design/methodology/approach

After discussing the interrelation of the three concepts equality, diversity and inclusion, the authors discuss the way in which initiatives toward diversity and inclusion are justified morally in literature. The authors point out the crucial position of equality, and then, subsequently, outline how different approaches to equality try to achieve moral legitimacy. Being an important group of initiatives in this debate, the authors subsequently reflect upon the moral (il)legitimacy of affirmative action (AA). The concluding section of this paper provides a brief summary of the findings.

Findings

The moral evaluation of equality, diversity and inclusion remains an under-theorized field. Within the discourse on equality, diversity and inclusion, the term “justice” is largely used in an intuitive way, rather than being rooted in a specific moral philosophy. As there are several conceivable, differing moral perspectives on EDI, one cannot expect an indisputable answer to the question as to whether a given approach toward equality, diversity and inclusion is morally praiseworthy or just. However, the widespread assumption that equality is morally praiseworthy per se, and that striving for equality morally justifies any initiative toward diversity and inclusion, is untenable.

Originality/value

This paper addresses the lack of theorizing on the moral value of initiatives toward equality, diversity, and inclusion, such as diversity management, AA or various equal opportunity approaches. Future research could enrich the discourse on the moral evaluation of diversity management, inclusion programs and organizational equality approaches with new philosophical facets and perspectives, perspectives that might differ from those taken in the predominantly American discourse.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 37 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 June 2018

Eila Isotalus and Marja-Liisa Kakkuri-Knuuttila

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that creating shared meanings in dialogical communication is a “must” for diversity management if it wants to fulfill the double…

3799

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that creating shared meanings in dialogical communication is a “must” for diversity management if it wants to fulfill the double promise of promoting both business and ethical goals. By way of meeting this challenge, the authors introduce the negotiating reality theory and education program developed by Victor Friedman and Ariane Berthoin Antal, and examine its ethical underpinnings.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is a theoretical exploration which combines ethical and intercultural communication perspectives in the context of diversity management. Excerpts from ethnographic research data are used to illustrate the deficiency of intuitive processes in negotiating reality in practice.

Findings

The negotiating reality program, originally developed for international business, is equally relevant to diversity management, as it serves to deconstruct value hierarchies embedded in diversity categorizations, and hence enhances seamless and productive cooperation. Learning such communication skills involves personal emotional-cognitive growth, which can be analyzed in terms of Aristotle’s notion of virtue. The authors also argue for the interconnected nature of performance and ethical goals in diversity management.

Research limitations/implications

Since this is a theoretical paper, empirical research is needed to investigate the pedagogical and rhetorical means which inspire people to develop their intercultural communication skills in various diversity contexts.

Practical implications

This paper challenges managers to introduce means to develop negotiating reality skills and practices for the benefit of the staff and the whole organization.

Originality/value

This paper suggests that the focus of diversity management should shift to meanings and intercultural communication, and that ethical considerations are an important part of that.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 37 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 21 June 2011

Robert W. Scapens

2627

Abstract

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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