Workplace diversity and employee well-being in Britain: WERS2004 based analysis
Funded by: ESRC
October 2007 to September 2008
Background, summary and aims
Background and Aims
There has been considerable change in diversity at workplaces in Britain in recent years, and diversity policy is taking centre stage in employers' recruitment practices both in public and private sectors. The increasing diversity and interventions meant to promote it are despite evidence of widespread discrimination at workplaces in Britain. If discrimination is as widespread as the existing evidence suggests, the growing diversity - especially if driven by labour cost considerations, rather than by active equality policies supplementing anti-discrimination legislations - could well have adverse impacts on employees' well-being. This research investigates whether diversity has adverse impact on well-being and, if so, the role policy may play to mitigate such effects. The project uses the 2004 British Workplace Employment Relations Survey data and controls for a range of measurable employee, workplace and HRM practice related influences as well as employing alternative econometric techniques that account for unmeasured workplace influences.
There are three aspects to the project. The first involves making an extensive review of the existing literature on diversity and its impact on wellbeing. The second aspect involves using the 2004 Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS 2004) data to carry out an empirical investigation of whether diversity has any bearing on employees’ wellbeing at workplaces in the UK. This will form the bulk of the project work as it involves setting up the WERS2004 data; including constructing Human Resources Management practice related indicators, and modelling. The third component of the research project involves relating our empirical findings to what, if any, the existing literature offers and drawing up important lessons that may be of policy relevance.
Importance of Research
There is an overwhelming need for research that i) comprehensively establishes the link between diversity and employee well-being and ii) determines possible ways in which the effect of diversity on well-being could be positive. Such research will be vital in informing future workplace policy making, thereby helping to curb adverse effects of diversity, if any, and create healthy workplace (and societal) dynamics.