Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Conference 'Diversity and Inclusion: Can India Maximize Corporate Power from Diverse Workforce '

Conference 'Diversity and Inclusion: Can India Maximize Corporate Power from Diverse Workforce’ in New Delhi, 19 December 2011


The concept of Workforce Diversity Management is being increasingly promoted as a strategic people management technique by multinational corporations (MNCs) to enhance organizational competitiveness. Many organizations in India have been rolling out domestic-designed Workforce Diversity Management programs to their operations (Dogra, 2009). However, when we talk of domestic-designed initiatives, there is need for managers to look at Workforce Diversity Management from the Indian perspective. India is one of the most diverse nations in the world (Sowell, 2002) and to understand the organizational context for Diversity Management it is important to first understand its societal context (Cooke & Saini, 2010). India must address a range of diversity issues, including age, education, religion, caste, socially disadvantaged (e.g., scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, and other depressed classes), gender, language, regional background, ethnicity, economic well-being, and lifestyle (e.g., vegetarian vs. non-vegetarian) (Som, 2007; Venkata Ratnam Chandra, 1996). Since, India is a multi-religious country, with Hinduism being the dominant religion practiced by 81% of the population (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM], 2007).

Hundreds of languages are spoken by the Indian people; 18 of them are officially recognized by the Constitution (Ratnam Chandra, 1996). Gender inequality in education is relatively high, even in urban India. In India, women make up around 20% of the workforce in urban areas and religion, caste, and language remain major determinants of social and political organization, despite economic modernization and laws countering discrimination against the lower end of the class structure (SHRM, 2007; Som, 2007).

In addition, managers and other categories of employees, especially those belonging to the higher castes, resent reservation policies and concessions through which socially disadvantaged people may enter organizations (Kundu, 2003). Consequently, despite the fact that three rounds of anti-caste legislation have been passed in India since 1955, caste stratifications continue to play a dominant, though diminishing, and divisive role in governing Indians’ lives (Foster, 2007). This is, to some extent, reflected in organizational life as well. For example, Kundu’s (2003) survey of 1,083 male and female employees across categories regarding their perception of workforce diversity in Indian organizations revealed “the prevalence of gender and category (racial) discrimination” in workplaces.

In this conference attempt will be made to understand the extent to which Diversity Management has been adopted in corporate India to gain competitive advantage and explore how top management in India has been spearheading this concept.

Conference Sub-Themes:
(a) Managing the Culture of Workforce Diversity: Managing and developing a diverse human-resource base; Need for regulatory compliance in Indian Corporate; Case studies of affirmative action in Indian companies; Beyond legislation; Developing multi-contextual policies and practices etc.

(b) Workforce Diversity Management in India: Indians in a Globalizing World; Indians in India; India Diaspora; Diversity in India; Corporate and Diversity Management; Urban and Rural Diversity; Regional and Cultural Identities etc.

(c) Learning Workforce Diversity: Multicultural, Cross-cultural and Global education; Diversities in the classroom; Cultural, Gender and Disability; Primary Regional and English language Education across regions, Education of women etc.

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