On 21st March 2023, I submitted my first module assessment, Global Human Resource & Diversity Management, for the MSc Human Resource Management at the University of London. The coursework was structured as multiple-choice questions about a fictional organisation called Live2Give. Below is the second of three answers I wrote.
On 8th June 2023, my assessment was graded "73 (Distinction)".
Global Human Resource & Diversity Management
Q2. “Critically evaluate the key issues concerning diversity and inclusion at Live2Give.”
Although there is limited information on the current Live2Give diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies, it is reasonable to assume D&I is valued by Live2Give based on its mission statement (i.e., ‘empowering individuals’) and core values (i.e., social justice, transparent accountability, bravery). Critically evaluating the key issues undermining D&I at Live2Give will be essential to creating a D&I HR strategy that is clear, measurable, and reflective of industry best practices (Parrotta et al., 2016). Key issues to explore will be framework compliance, sexual harassment, recruitment, and pay equity.
As an ethical international non-governmental organisation (INGO), Live2Give should acknowledge international D&I frameworks to mitigate risks and adopt best practices (Parrotta et al., 2013). In facilitating activities from a UK-headquartered location in 100 cultural contexts, Live2Give should harmonise its global policies with cultural sensitivity and acknowledge the potential for D&I resistance (Gumbrell-McCormick, 2008). Owing to the organisation’s UK headquarters, compliance with the Equality Act 2010 is crucial to assuage legal and financial consequences (Equality Act 2010).
Sexual harassment policies are critical to any D&I HR strategy, as they mitigate unwanted sexual behaviour and promote a safe, respectful, and inclusive culture for all workers. According to the case study, several interns and probationers have attempted to report incidents of sexual harassment against co-workers through formal channels. However, these complaints were not adequately addressed, resulting in the promotion of accused co-workers to other locations. Such reports and press coverage could contribute to a perception that Live2Give protected the accused co-workers and did not investigate sexual harassment complaints earnestly (Latham, 2020).
By engaging with this issue, Live2Give may encounter worker resistance (Velasco & Sansone, 2019). It could manifest due to underappreciation of the severity of sexual harassment as a concern or a belief such measures are unnecessary or too restrictive of workers’ freedom to interact. This invariably leads to workplace tension and conflict, hampering team collaboration and productivity (Stephens et al., 2021). Contrarily, failure to adequately address this issue could lead to decreased job satisfaction, negative publicity, or legal sanctions under the Equality Act 2010 (Martin, 2013). By establishing clear policies and procedures in this area, Live2Give can mitigate these risks and benefit from improved worker well-being and job satisfaction (Prouska et al., 2023).
Recruitment, Hiring, and Pay Equity
The recruitment and hiring practices at Live2Give have a crucial role in promoting D&I (Stephens et al., 2021). However, the case study suggests Live2Give’s inadequate recruitment practices, whereby referrals and personal contacts are relied on to recruit senior positions. This approach could result in biased candidate selection criteria, hindering D&I efforts (Stephens et al., 2021). Additionally, utilising exclusive members’ clubs for secondary interviews prohibits qualified applicants who are not a part of the club from being interviewed, further impacting D&I (Sulik et al., 2021).
Live2Give’s current pay policies have also been criticised for amounting to a dual salary system that is inequitable and unfair (Parrotta et al., 2016). The case study indicates that expatriated workers receive higher pay rates than their nationally localised counterparts performing the same role. Local laws applicable to equal pay would need to be respected, equating to a matrix of 100 equal pay arrangements across 30,000 workers. However, even with no national pay laws, renumerating workers differently for the same work still risks a sense of inequity and resentment between workers (Shaffer et al., 2013).
Ethnic Diversity in Leadership
Ethnic diversity in leadership is crucial to promoting a D&I HR strategy in organisations (Martin, 2013). Assistive policies can ensure the leadership reflects the diversity of its workforce and stakeholders, allowing all workers equal opportunities to advance into such positions (Sulik et al., 2021). Concerning the case study, there is a lack of diversity in leadership positions at Live2Give, wherein the executive and trustee boards have all been white men except for the sole female HR Director. This is a crucial issue as it could be perceived as the exclusion and perpetuation of systemic inequalities or reinforcement of power imbalances (Schelling, 1971). It may further limit Live2Give’s ability to reflect the diversity of the communities it serves (Martin, 2013). While Live2Give’s recent appointment of Iradukunda Habimana, a Rwandan-born senior British paediatrician, to its board of trustees, is a positive development, further action is needed to ensure its leadership positions are open to every worker, regardless of background or identity (Latham, 2020).
A potential drawback to prioritising ethnic diversity in Live2Give’s leadership positions is the possibility of overlooking other essential aspects of diversity, such as gender or sexuality (Stephens et al., 2021). There is also a risk of tokenism, whereby individuals from ethnic minorities are appointed solely to improve an organisation’s public image, as opposed to credentials and experience (Bohnet, 2016). However, if carefully implemented, promoting ethnically diverse leaders can improve Live2Give’s understanding of different cultures and enhance decision-making (Sulik et al., 2021).
In conclusion, Live2Give faces several critical issues in promoting a D&I HR strategy. These issues include sexual harassment procedures, recruitment and hiring practices, ethnic diversity in leadership positions, and pay equity. While arguable detriments to prioritising each issue exist, promoting D&I can mitigate the risk of sanctions and reputational damages whilst improving worker engagement and decision-making (Armstrong & Taylor, 2023).
- Armstrong, M. & Taylor, S. (2023). Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice (16th edn.). Kogan Page.
- Employment Act 2008, c. 24, UK Government. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2008/24/contents
- Equality Act 2010, c. 15, UK Government. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents
- Gumbrell-McCormick, R. (2008). International actors and international regulation. In P. Blyton, E. Heery, B. Nicolas & J. Florito (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Industrial Relations (pp. 325-345). SAGE Publications.
- Latham, J. A. (2020). Looking beyond training as a solution to workplace sexual harassment discrimination. Industrial and Organisational Psychology, 13(2), 168-173. https://doi.org.10.1017/iop.2020.24
- Martin, J. (2013). Seven imperatives for diverse and inclusive organisations. Strategic HR Review, 12(3), 151-152. https://www.proquest.com/docview/1630051904?pq-origsite=summon&accountid=14565
- Parrotta, P., Pozzoli, D. & Sala, D. (2016). Ethnic diversity and firms’ export behaviour. European Economic Review, 89, 248-263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroecorev.2016.09.001
- Prouska, R., Nyfoudi, M., Psychogios, A., Szamosi, L. T., & Wilkinson, A. (2023). Solidarity in action at a time of crisis: The role of employee voice in relation to communication and horizontal solidarity Behaviour. British Journal of Management, 34(1), 91-110. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12598
- Schelling, T. (1971). Dynamic models of segregation. Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 1(2), 143-186.
- Shaffer, M., Singh, B. & Chen, Y-P. (2013). Expatriate pay satisfaction: the role of organisational inequalities, assignment stressors and perceived assignment value. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(15), 2968-2984. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2013.763838
- Stephens, N. M., Rivera, L. A. & Townsend, S. S. (2021). The cycle of workplace bias. Research in Organisational Behaviour, 41, 1-25. https://doi.org/01.1016/j.riob.2021.100137
- Sulik, J., Bahrami, B. & Deory, O. (2021). The diversity gap: When diversity matters for knowledge. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 17(3), 757-767. https://doi.org/10.1177/17456916211006070
- Velasco, M., M.A. & Sansone, C., PhD. (2019). Resistance to diversity and inclusion change initiatives: Strategies for transformational leaders. Organisation Development Journal, 37(3), 9-20. https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/resistance-diversity-inclusion-change-initiatives/docview/2292029527/se-2