Built in or Bolted on: Managing Equity and Diversity in Vocational Education and Training Delivery

By Robert Bean.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The progress made in recognising and supporting cultural diversity in Australian organisations over the last two decades has been driven mainly by legislation, policy and labour market demographics and has been achieved largely through the efforts of dedicated specialists with designated funding. Essentially, recognition of cultural diversity has been ‘bolted on’ to organisational cultures and management practices. The next development challenge for public and private sector organisations is to embed or ‘build in’ recognition of the inherent economic and social value of cultural diversity into all core business and management functions.

This paper reviews the development of productive diversity as a core concept of social cohesion and economic development, and the emergence of diversity management as a key aspect of organisational sustainability. The paper then presents for discussion an integrated diversity management approach through which organisations can ensure the sustainability of workforce cultural diversity as an economic, social and environmental asset.

The integrated diversity management model addresses compliance, organisational development and market factors in a framework that enables organisations to reconcile and further both the social justice and the business cases for cultural diversity. The model incorporates performance indicators and measurements of social justice, cultural identity, civil society and productive diversity that reflect and support the principles of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.

Keywords: Integrated Diversity Management Model, Productive Diversity, Diversity Management

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.45-60. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 887.709KB).

Robert Bean


Robert Bean has over 26 years’ experience consulting and training with public and private sector organisations, specialising in cross-cultural communication and diversity management. Migrating to Australia in 1979, he managed the innovative TAFE SA workplace English language and literacy program for 12 years before forming his own company. He has national and international policy and research experience, recently managing two major national studies of the effectiveness of cross-cultural training in Australian workplaces and vocational education and training. He has also published papers, articles and resources on aspects of working with and managing diversity.


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