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Equality and Diversity

This theme explores the effects of demographic and social identity characteristics on individual and collective experiences of work and the role of employment stakeholders in regulating, managing and policy making around equality and diversity issues.Our work in this area presents a critical position on the theory and practice of diversity management. A particular area of interest is the position and role of the joint regulation of equality and diversity issues at workplace level.We are concerned to voice often unheard stakeholders, namely trade unions and non-managerial employees, in particular woman and minority ethnic employees.

Research highlight

The careers, strategies and practices of diversity consultants in the UK: A mapping exercise.

Diversity and Inclusion Consultancy: A Values-Driven Field

Professor Anne-marie Greene (CROWE, DMU) and Professor Gill Kirton (CRED, Queen Mary, University of London) received funding from the British Academy for a research study, which aimed to investigate the work of diversity consultants in the UK.

Their previous research on diversity management has shown that there is little awareness about diversity consultants and their work even though it is clear that they are key actors in the equality and diversity field.

They were particularly interested in the motivations, beliefs and values that underpin diversity consultants’ careers, strategies and practices and the role that consultants play in developing diversity management practices and initiatives within their client organisations. We wanted to represent and disseminate the experiences and opinions of diversity consultants themselves in order to enhance understanding about barriers and enablers of effective organisational diversity management.

Why this research was undertaken

The body of research on diversity management in the UK context has increased significantly over the last decade. However, a significant gap is the relative absence of focus on the roles, activities and contributions of diversity consultants. With the outsourcing of HR activities on the increase, it seems highly likely that diversity consultants will have an increasing influence on the spread of diversity management initiatives, as they are engaged to assist organizations with a range of activities. A specific focus on diversity consultants adds to the body of knowledge of diversity practitioners and their work and contributes to the emergent evaluation of diversity management and its capacity to address organisational inequalities and business performance issues.

Key areas of interest

  • What work backgrounds do diversity consultants have?
  • What motivates people to do diversity consultancy work?
  • How do diversity consultants and their client organisations understand and work with the concept of diversity?
  • What services and specialisms do diversity consultants offer?
  • When, how and why do client organisations call upon their services?
  •  What role do diversity consultants play in developing organisational diversity management practices and initiatives? What kinds of diversity projects are they involved in?


For this project, we interviewed 28 diversity consultants. The interviews used a broad question guide covering the areas of interest above. The interviews took around one hour, and they were all recorded and transcribed.

Project Outputs

A Discussion Event

Carlton Terrace House, London SW1, 28th September 2016, 1330-1700

This event brought together diversity consultants and academics to discuss first findings from the project and key issues of interest.



Project First Findings Report

Please click on the link above to see a copy of the report.

Related Outputs

Kirton, G. and Greene, A.M. (2016) The Dynamics of Managing Diversity: A Critical Approach, Fourth Edition, Taylor and Francis.

Greene, AM. and Kirton, G. (2010) ‘Diversity meets downsizing: The case of a government department’, Employee Relations Journal, 33: 1,. pp 22-39.

Kirton, G. and Greene, AM. (2010), ‘What does diversity management mean for the gender equality project? Views and experiences of organizational actors in the UK’, Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 27: 3, 249-262.

Greene, AM. and Kirton, G (2009) Diversity Management in the UK: Organizational and Stakeholder Perspectives, Routledge Studies in Employment and Work Relations in Context, Taylor and Francis, New York.

Greene A.M and Kirton, G. 'The Value of an Industrial Relations Perspective to Diversity Management' Key Note Address: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Conference, Toulouse, July 23-25 2012.

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