The Evolution Of Diversity Initiatives Business Essay


The Metropolitan Police Service’s vision is to make London the safest major city in the world where all sections of the community have total trust in them. The pursuit of race equality is a core value within the vision and provides the rationale behind meeting the general duty (MPS, no author, 2004, p.3).

The death of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 (this death resulted from a racist attack in which the MPS were criticized for the way they handled the investigation) and the subsequent inquiry resulted in changes to how the public authorities tackle institutional racism. In order to rectify the problems, the MPS set up a diversity directorate to enable the MPS to be progressive and proactive in the areas of race equality and equalities in general. The directorate consists of 236 staff working within the directorate leading, influencing and propagating E&D training and awareness down the operational command, unit and individual level (MPS, no author, 2004, p.3).

The MPS recognized that in order for policies to be implemented successfully, there must be a continuous monitoring system as well as up-to-date training methods. A continuous monitoring system will determine whether policies or functions are affecting some ethnic backgrounds differently and whether the functions or policies in question are causing discrimination or race relations(MPS, no author, 2004, p14-15).

The legislation and policies determine the MPS training needs and where the gaps or developmental needs are identified, training opportunities are prioritized and made available to all staff or targeted groups. Additionally, it has been recognized that additional training is needed for specialist staff, e.g. policyholders and training therefore needed to be structured in order to ensure that the staff had the necessary skills to carry out their duties effectively. The MPS also recognized the need for additional change and have made the E&D training a mandatory aspect of everyday life in the job, having as much importance as other job-specific training (MPS, no author, 2004, p. 19-21).

The MPS Racial Equality Scheme Report; although it identifies the key areas for training and policy adjustment does not address certain fundamental issues pertinent to MPS operations. Issues such as the recruitment process, which has now resulted in the MPS resorting to "positive discrimination "in order to bolster dwindling ethnic minority figures, must be rectified as they are often the catalysts for other issues.

The Current Issues.

The issue of racism continues to raise its ugly head in the Metropolitan Police Service some 20 years after the Stephen Lawrence Enquiry. Bevan Powell, Chairman of the MPS’s Black Police association has revealed to the press (Guardian, 2012) that just 2 out of 2,270 police officers have been sacked for racist behaviour in the Metropolitan Police. The Metropolitan Police Service have suspended eight of its police officers and one member of staff in 10 separate instances or racism, violence and bullying involving 18 police officers and 1staff member. One of the most prominent of these cases is where police officer PC Alex MacFarlane was suspended after audio footage was captured of him using racist language to a 21 year old black man during the 2011 Tottenham riots.

Powell has called for a review of the political structures, allowing for Chiefs of Police to be held to account for racist behaviour within their forces. No one has actually called for a review in the way that training is delivered to police officers and staff.

The author proposes to look at the current way that the MPS equality and diversity training is implemented. Key to the police service is public confidence and with so many instances of racism being recorded in the MPS this confidence is being compromised.

We will be seeking police officers opinions and attitudes on how effective they perceive the current training to be. It is the author’s intention that the findings of this dissertation are disseminated to the HR Directorate in order to help identify more effective ways of delivering police training.

Training the Trainer

Literature Review.

The manpower shortage in the British labour market after World War II inspired an increase in Commonwealth immigration along with a rise in the number of British women entering the workforce. Over time, the influence – such influence being eventually enshrined in legislation – of the trade unions, feminists and racial equality groups led to a fundamental improvement in workplace rights for women and ethnic minority groups. This legislation forms the basis for equal opportunities (EO) and has affected the way business is done in the police. Numerous issues have led the MPS to re-evaluate its employment policies and training methods. Declining fitness levels, persons living to an older age, legislative change and cultural evolution have all led to a shift in the MPS recruiting pool; the heterosexual Anglo-Saxon male is no longer the sole recruitment possibility (Beevor, 1991).

This literature review looks at and analyses previous research done on Equality and Diversity training strategies and the results thereof. Unfortunately, most of the literature in the field focuses on E&D management as opposed to training and its effective implementation and evaluation. This lack of scope holds true for research done on civilian companies and is also the case for the research done on the police in this area. This led to a decision to do a comparative examination of E&D training in the police and Fire Service, focusing on the methods of E&D training implementation that each organisation employs. E&D training in itself has only recently been included in police compulsory training and apart from the XXxxXXXXX; literature on E&D training in the police is very scarce. As such, it is not possible to conduct an extensive literature review on past literature and this influences the focus of the review on the definition of E&D training; examining the issues that organizations face during its implementation and evaluation. It looks at the internal and external factors which affect E&D implementation and the methods that different organizations employ.

Introduction to E&D Initiatives in the Army

The anti-discrimination legislation of the 1960s and 1970s led to the emergence of the theory of "Equal Opportunities"; an era characterised by mass campaigning, women’s increased labour market participation, and large-scale immigration from the Commonwealth (Jewson & Mason, 1994). Large corporations began to value trade unions as communication tools, making them powerful entities able to urge companies to provide better workers rights (Jewson & Mason, 1994). Such pressures eventually led to the introduction of the 1970 Equal Pay Act, 1975 Sex Discrimination Act, and 1976 Race Relations Act. These acts, now subsumed under one commission - which remain the basis of employment law - made discrimination unlawful on gender, ethnicity and ‘racial’ grounds in education, training, employment, and services, established equality commissions to realise the provisions of the acts and allowed for ‘positive action’, a strategy for overcoming the effects of past discrimination without discriminating further (Basham, 2006, p.20)

The Evolution of Diversity Initiatives

The business case for managing a diverse workplace has long been in place, however; in the 1980’s "diversity" became the popular buzzword for those seeking to effect change in the workplace (Dickens, 1999, p.9). More proactive policies eventually overtook the individualistic economic philosophy in the hope that it would address the issue of the shrinking pool of white males (Kandola & Fullerton, 1998) and this led to business’ recognition that individualism was threatened by the collective constraints posed by discrimination against people belonging to certain groups. This presented the case for corporate involvement (Jewson & Mason, 1994). Early diversity initiatives thus acknowledged that employees bring visible and non-visible differences to the labour market but that these could be harnessed to help employees feel valued and to realise organisational aims (Kandola & Fullerton, 1998).

This shift from equality to diversity has been criticised. In some cases it is believed that its primary goal is enhancing the profits and capabilities of organisations, rather than enhancing workers’ rights (Squires, 2005). Others argue that diversity policies blur boundaries between groups and simplistically equate all differences as opposed to the equality initiatives which sought to outlaw discrimination predicated on social categories such as "race". It is further argued that employers may draw upon their cultural background when making choices in the workplace and instead of allowing these persons to be cast into specific roles, these skills should be incorporated into organisational practices (Thomas and Ely, 1996). Organisations frame efficiency in terms of their ability to harness the diverse talents of all the individuals who make up the team Diversity can however have a distinctively collective resonance within organisations where persons can bring distinctive qualities to a team (Basham, 2006)

3.4. Equal Opportunities

The very existence of Equality of Opportunity schemes implies that there was (and perchance still is) a state of affairs in which unlawful discrimination prevented certain groups from realising their full potential in some organisation or social grouping. EO tackles unlawful discrimination and deals with inequality. It deals with fairness, decency, respect and high standards of behaviour between groups (Spencer, 2004). Organisations are expected to provide relevant and appropriate access for the participation, development and advancement of all individuals and groups are also expected to recognize the contribution of each individual (Spencer, 2004). Employers are expected to adhere to the legislative principles and should conduct themselves in an appropriate manner when dealing with their subordinates (Spencer, 2004).

The Fire Service

The Fire Service has taken a more dictatorial stance with E&D in the workplace. The culture of the workplace is one where the core referential values of hegemonic masculinity reign supreme. Heterosexuals are seen as the only type of individuals that exist in the workplace hence all other persons of other sexual persuasions are expected to remain "closeted" i.e. are expected to keep their sexuality to themselves (Ward & Winstanley, 2006). The Fire Service’s stance is similar to that taken by the US Army as it relates to sexuality; "Don’t ask, don’t tell!" They have also taken what is known as the "colour blind approach" and – like the proverbial ostrich that sticks its head in the sand at the first sight of trouble – believes that by not acknowledging that there is a diverse workforce it ensures that everyone is seen as the same and hence treated in a uniform way. The thematic review of the UK Fire Service in 1999 described sexuality as an absolute taboo and refused to acknowledge any sexual minority issues. Training is mainly job specific and no major emphasis is placed on E&D in the workplace as by its very nature it suggests that the workplace is diverse.

This stance has serious implications for the future of E&D in the Fire service. Firstly, the sexual minorities who feel unable to "come out" may experience a feeling of isolation (Ward & Winstanley, 2006). Socialization is an important part of the job, from wearing the same uniform (Holliday, 1999) to banter (Wood &Lucas, 1993); these things all impact on the person’s sense of belonging to the team. The Fire Service tries to indoctrinate persons into the current culture and it not only affects the current serving personnel but it also discourages minorities from joining the service. (Ward & Winstanley, 2006).

The Fire Service and the MPS have taken different approaches to E&D. The Fire Service has taken a more robust approach and has taken a zero tolerance, no-nonsense approach in the hope that it would discourage any anti-social behaviour amongst its staff. The MPS on the other hand has taken a more soft approach and are trying to pre-empt any possible recurrence of the Stephen Lawrence scenario. In the case of the Fire service, they have not put in any effective means of training for their staff, and research shows that they still have serious problems within the organisation. The MPS on the other hand, seems to have overcompensated in some areas but has not addressed the issues at the source. These examples are relevant to this study as the MPS is similar to the fire service and can easily adopt their position in their attempt to implement E&D.

Equal Opportunities

The very existence of Equality of Opportunity schemes implies that there was (and perchance still is) a state of affairs in which unlawful discrimination prevented certain groups from realising their full potential in some organisation or social grouping. EO tackles unlawful discrimination and deals with inequality. It deals with fairness, decency, respect and high standards of behaviour between groups (Spencer, 2004). Organisations are expected to provide relevant and appropriate access for the participation, development and advancement of all individuals and groups are also expected to recognize the contribution of each individual (Spencer, 2004). Employers are expected to adhere to the legislative principles and should conduct themselves in an appropriate manner when dealing with their subordinates (Spencer, 2004).

+It is widely recognised within the Armed forces that in order for EO to become a part of the military culture that there must be an overhaul of the soldier’s perceptions. Soldiers’ views are often the result of years of traditions passed down by the more senior personnel in the forces. In order for this change to be effected, there must first be an understanding of what drives workplace culture as well as determining what the catalyst is for change.

Organisational culture is a reflection of the way an organization operates and it should reflect institutional core values. It may be bureaucratic and role-related as is the case in many government and public sector organisations. Conversely, an organisation’s culture may be egocentric, i.e. related more to power and to influence of the most prominent individual within the organization, a situation often found in entrepreneurial organizations (Cartwright, 2002).

Culture develops over time and is transmitted from one generation to the next. In the British military, an example of such long-term evolution of cultural mores would be the different customs and practices associated with each cap-badge i.e. trade. The wearer of a particular cap-badge often perceives himself/herself to share a common identity and sense of loyalty and perceived responsibility to others who bear the same cap-badge. This cultural practice can often become quite competitive as evidenced in the recent merging of some infantry regiments. Individuals refused to acknowledge their counterparts from other Regiments as being part of the "brotherhood". This resulted in the resignation of numerous soldiers who could not bear to be "disloyal" to their old cap-badge and regimental customs (Rayner, interview at Army Directorate, 2007)

Cartwright (2002) believes that cultural change is generational and he believes that although it is easy for senior management to announce that the culture of an organisation is to change, it is actually a lot harder to achieve that change in the long-term. He believes that certain values, attitudes and beliefs, whether personal, national or organisational are deeply held so they can be only changed gradually.

As a result of the recognition of the need for organisational change and the need to comply with E&D legislation, various strategies have been employed to effect the required changes. These strategies may broadly be categorised as either of the "liberal" or "radical" varieties (Jewson and Mason, 1986). The "liberal" approach is predicated on the notion that a "level playing field" should be provided for all employees by "institutionalising fair procedures in every aspect of work and employment" (Jewson and Mason, 1986: p. 315), thus guaranteeing equality of opportunity for all. The "radical" approach, on the other hand, is concerned with proportionality, the idea that equality involves increasing the numbers of people from marginalised groups, or equality of outcome. The "radical" approach involves strategies which explicitly seek to increase the percentage of minority groups in an organisation, while the liberal approach does not. Cockburn (1989:217) argues that whilst this approach may give disadvantaged groups a boost up the ladder it leaves the structure and the disadvantages it entails as before.

In a study done by the Bank of Montreal by Totta and Burke (1995), it was recognised that in order to become an organisation fully committed to workplace E&D, there needed to be a comprehensive institutional cultural change. In order to determine the best way to achieve this, task forces were set up to look at the employment and advancement of minority groups such as women, aboriginal peoples the disabled and other highly visible minorities. It was recommended that the bank’s management led by example and be made aware how prejudicial attitudes could adversely affect decision making (Totta & Burke, 1995). Ultimately the desired results were achieved by improved communication, collaboration and support. It was required that every Bank employee work actively to embed the values of equality and diversity into the corporate culture.

As alluded to in the "Context" chapter, the Fire Service has taken a different approach to E&D. In an occupation which is gendered and sexualised, groups become cohesive but not welcoming to non-members leading to distinct and exclusive subcultures (Hatch, 1997). Studies have shown that some staff would sometimes not work with the other members of staff that were of a different sexual inclination because of peer pressure (Humphrey, 1999).

In the context of the wider society, the Fire Service has a culture which can be considered to be dichotomous: it consists mostly of heterosexual men behaving as if they were operating in a sexually neutral world where they are dominant. Sexuality itself is seen as taboo (H.M. Fire Service Inspectorate, 1999) and likely to cause tensions in an occupation where high levels of interaction are unavoidable. It is expected that persons who do not conform to this dominant culture – but who aspire to work in the Fire Service – should adopt these heterosexually oriented values (Cartwright, 2002) in an attempt to fit into the culture of the organisation.

Training and development are essential for any organisation. These two factors help to improve quality, customer satisfaction, productivity, morale, management succession, business development and profitability. For state military organisations like the Army or Navy, business development and profitability are not relevant to their operational goals so whilst organisations like The Bank of Montreal have developed programmes which are conducive to effective E&D implementation, the training is geared with a different focus to what the Army’s would be.

Diversity training is the process by which a workforce is educated about cultural, socio-economic, racial and religious differences among employees so that these differences are not considered obstacles to creating and maintaining an effective working environment (Lai & Kleiner, 2001). Lai and Kleiner believe that companies that are committed to diversity training are constantly looking for ways to measure effectiveness of such efforts. It is part of the training process to test whether this type of training is actually related to improved or effective job performance by individuals and work groups. Of course, it is important that any organisation must constantly monitor the effectiveness of any ongoing diversity training programmes.

Velasquez, (2000) maintains that diversity training is not the only answer. He claims that it must be part of the bigger plan of action addressing the systems, the structures and the culture of the organisation. He also asserts that it would be beneficial to focus how other companies are implementing diversity-related support initiatives.

In the case of the Army, because there are no other organisations with the same operational objective, it is not necessarily practical to emulate other organisations’ training strategies. The military training focus must take into consideration the Army’s need to be different from wider society and therefore must be careful not to "civilianise" the training.

The MPS equality scheme report states that the MPS train their staff for their roles as a result of identified needs arising from new legislation and policy, processes and service objectives. Where performance gaps or developmental needs are identified, training opportunities are prioritised and made available to all staff in targeted groups. E&D training is included in many other courses including recruit training, promotion courses, detective training and the training of Family Liaison Officers (MPS, 2004). Each office and member of staff has an annual professional development review based on their role. It sets out an individual role requirement based on "national competencies" and behaviour. Diversity plays a major role in the MPS professional development. The report also outlines the MPS’ pro-activity in designing a training needs analysis schedule which not only identifies the current needs of the organisation but also looks at the needs of staff in an ever changing environment. It places emphasis on the utilisation of modern learning tools and strategies such as IT delivery and community partnership involvement (MPS, 2004). These techniques are effective means of implementing E&D training in the MPS which has a similar hierarchical structure to the Army, however the job that the Army is asked to do requires a more robust individual and consequently, a more robust method of training is required.

The Human Resources Management International Digest (HRMID) (2002) identifies UK bank Barclays as one of the innovators of E&D training, management and implementation. Barclays UK recognises E&D best practice as the key to innovation, insight and access to new resources (HRMID, 2002). Training is cascaded through the company setting out the new "Walk the talk" programme and its objectives. It is being reinforced by behaviour based sessions and is designed to give its leaders the skills needed to ensure successful implementation of the programme. Barclays has embedded E&D training into its design and services and it now forms a key part of the performance assessment process for all employees

The existing literature that I have gathered from the MPS suggests that although the police has set its directives for what it wants to achieve, these aims seem to fall far down on the list of priorities of the managers. This review highlights the need for greater emphasis to be placed on implementing effective training in the police service, ensuring that there are checks and balances at all stages of the training process. The training must not only meet the needs of the target audience (Chapman, 2006) but it must also be re-evaluated for its applicability to the current military environment.