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British diversity professionals as change agents - radicals, tempered radicals or liberal reformers?

[Gill Kirton, Queen Mary, University of London], Anne-Marie Greene and Deborah Dean
International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18, 1979-1994

Abstract

This paper explores the role of diversity professionals involved in the development and implementation of organizational equality and diversity policy. The paper draws on in-depth qualitative research with diversity professionals in a broad range of British organizations in the private and public sectors. The analysis unravels who diversity professionals are, how they understand the concepts of equality and diversity and how they develop strategies of change in order to pursue their objectives. The conceptions of ‘liberal’ and ‘radical’ equal opportunities actors (Jewson, N. and D. Mason, 1986, ‘The Theory and Practice of Equal Opportunities Policies: Liberal and Radical Approaches’.  Sociological Review  34(2): 307–34) and ‘tempered radicals’ (Meyerson, D. and M. Scully, 1995, ‘Tempered Radicalism and the Politics of Ambivalence and Change.’  Organization Science 6(6): 585–600) are used as frameworks for this analysis.