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Title: Employee voice, equal opportunities and workplace outcomes : an analysis of UK workplaces
Author: Allen, Maria Lucy
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 2000
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2015
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Equal opportunity (‘EO’) policy, practice and legislation has existed for a long time in the UK. Diversity Management (‘DM’), seeing diverse workforces as a competitive strength, covering everyone in the workforce, being more gender neutral and inclusive of those traditionally excluded from organisations, has also come to the fore. However, discrimination within companies continues. Amongst the groups most affected are women, those from a BME background, and disabled people. This thesis draws on an analytical framework that enables a holistic approach to studying the links between voice and EO and DM policies. This thesis incorporates four main types of voice workplace – minimal voice, dual voice, direct voice and indirect voice. It also disaggregates two of these four main types of voice workplace. Within the minimal voice category, this thesis distinguishes between the ‘bleak house’ approach and the ‘limited approach’ and within the dual voice category, this research differentiates between the ‘co-existence approach’ and the ‘partnership approach’. This enables this thesis to take a fine grained analytical approach of the links between voice and EO and DM policies, as well as the links between EO and DM and workplace outcomes, measured by absenteeism and voluntary labour turnover (quits), on the other, within the various types of voice workplace. Voice is relevant to the debate because it hasn’t been explored before and they could be an important means to covey employees preferences to employers, and can therefore potentially help to explain variation in the uptake of EO and DM in different workplaces. To ensure that the results of this research reveal the attitude of workplaces to EO and DM policies this thesis will analyse EO and DM policies at a disaggregated level, covering not only a more diverse set EO and DM policies, but also examining a range of workplaces, not only large organisations, as previous studies have often done. The study focuses on three groups that are commonly discriminated against: women, BME groups and those with a disability. Such discrimination can take direct and indirect forms, therefore, policies monitoring recruitment and selection, and promotions for direct and indirect discrimination, and relative pay rates will be examined, for each of the three groups. This study draws on data from the 2011 Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS 2011), the largest, most comprehensive study of workplace practices in the UK. The survey covers EO and DM policies in detail, enabling a nuanced analysis of both the voice factors and the workplace outcomes that they may be associated with. The thesis relies on the management survey in order to capture as many workplaces as possible. The analysis of the data relies on logistic regressions, as the outcome variables in both sets of regressions are dichotomous. The first key finding from this research is that voice is associated with the greater adoption of EO and DM policies in workplace: the more voice a workplace has the more likely it is to have a range of EO and DM policies. For instance, workplaces with direct voice, indirect voice, and dual voice are more likely to have a range of policies compared to those workplaces with minimal voice. In addition, dual voice workplaces are frequently more likely to adopt EO and DM policies compared to all other types of workplace. The second key finding of this research is that EO and DM policies are, on the whole, not associated with higher or lower levels of absenteeism and quits, indicating that, in most instances, EO and DM neither help nor harm establishments to any great degree. This suggests that existing theories could be amended. The third important finding is that any statistically significant associations between EO and DM policies, on the one hand, and absenteeism and quits, on the other, depend upon the type of workplace within which the policies operate. For instance, the relationship between policies and outcomes is sometimes positive and statistically significant (albeit often only at the 10-per-cent level) amongst minimal voice workplaces. It is occasionally negative and statistically significant (at the one-per-cent level) amongst dual voice workplaces. This justifies the approach taken here; it also highlights key areas for future research. The fourth key finding of this research is that there is a connection between high levels of labour turnover, amongst minimal voice workplaces, and the use of EO and DM policies. Again, this highlights areas that future research could examine.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available