This chapter discusses the meaning of the term ‘managing diversity’ (MD) and related terms. Managing diversity is a concept that was developed in the United States in the 1980s in response to demographic changes within the workforce and global competition. It was also a reaction to the introduction of equity legislation and practices, central to this concept is the belief that organisations stand to benefit from having a diverse workforce and that is therefore in their interest to recognise and cater to the needs of individual employees. In contrast, the framework for equity within workplaces is based on a human rights perspective: the belief that people should be treated equitably and that employment decisions should not be based on personal characteristics such as sex or ethnicity. While human rights issues are in theory universal, approaches to managing diversity will differ between countries depending on their demography, their view of society and their legislation governing employment.
Managing Diversity in Australia: Theory and Practice p. 1-15