This chapter presents the background of the research on “How can international human resources managers effectively manage diversity in multinational company?”- Case study Tesco. The company overview of Tesco in UK, background of the research, organisation background, rationale statement, research questions, and purpose of the research conducted the aim and objectives of the research identified by researcher. The structure of the dissertation is described at the end of the chapter.
Managing diversity means maximizing diversity’s potential benefits such as greater cultural awareness and broader language skills, while minimizing the potential barriers such as prejudices and bias that can undermine the company’s performance. Dessler (2008, p.61) referred to diversity as potentially a double-edged sword. Generally diversity refers to the variety or multiplicity of demographic features that characterize a company’s workforce, in terms of race, sex, culture, national origin, age and religion.
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Many organisations have implemented various types of initiatives within the last few decades in an effort to deal with diversity. A possible missing link between how the human resource managers deal with diversity and its impact on the organisation is a diversity strategy that is executed using a planned approach to systemically manage diversity (Leopold & Harris 2009).
The increasing diversity and changing demographics of the UK workforce, the expansion of anti-discrimination legislation, legal rights for individuals with caring responsibilities and government policy commitment to the work-life balance have created new challenges for employers across employment sectors. This research explores some of the issues that arise for employers, managers and employees in the development and application of multinational organisational human resourcing policies which are intended to promote equality of treatment and recognize diversity in the workforce. The 2004 WERS survey (Kersley et al., 2006) found that 73 percent of workplaces had a final written equal opportunities policy or a policy on managing diversity compared to 64 percent in 1998. This figure increased to 98 percent in the public sector (97 percent in 1998) with the incidence of formal policy being higher in large workplaces which means that most employees work in establishments with a formal policy. This was evident in the 2007 CIPD annual recruitment and retention survey which revealed that only half of the 905 participating organisations had a formal diversity strategy although again the public sector is more proactive with 83 percent reporting a strategic approach to diversity (CIPD, 2007 a).
Today’s business and service organisations are meeting the challenge which demands systematic efforts, as many of them have come to realize. Whether the multi-cultural character of the organisation arises from its international workforce and its local operations in various countries, from the mixed backgrounds of a workforce in a single location, the organisation must address this diversity if it is to be successful.
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