Personal and managerial effectiveness

Personal and Managerial Effectiveness  

Executive Summary

Management of workplace diversity is a major challenge faced by managers and organisations in the modern world. The paper aim was to evaluate the business benefits associated with effective diversity management in Asda Stores Limited. Asda is one of the largest supermarkets in the United Kingdom that embraces workforce diversity. The organisation has adopted an inclusion and diversity policy to make sure that there is no discrimination related to disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or age. Through the use of the Ethnicity Strategy and Open Minds (2013-14), the company has been able to achieve a competitive market in the retail industry. It has also promoted incorporation of employees from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, hence innovativeness and creativity in the workplace. Diversity in the workplace has allowed Asda to engage its employees, and this has subsequently improved productivity and sharing of information and knowledge between employees. Inclusion model adopted by Asda makes the company compliant to the Equal Opportunity Act, which makes it more preferred by employees and customers. The company can also serve customers from different backgrounds because of its inclusive nature of workforce. Thus, Asda is an ideal example of diversity and diversity management that should be adopted by other organisations. It is recommended that Asda should increase the number of women and those with physical abilities in its management levels in order to continue benefiting from workforce diversity


The contemporary workplace continues to change, and this has posed an organisational challenge for managers in terms of managing a diverse workforce. The high levels of globalization have resulted to diversity of the workforce in the workplace. Notably, the practice of workforce diversity is not only recognized, but also applied in both small and large organisations. The benefits linked with diversified workforce are many, and they range from increased productivity because of sharing of knowledge and skills, to effective communication. Nonetheless, workforce diversity management remains as a major challenge because an organisation is compelled to become more heterogeneous in terms of sexual orientation, inclusion of other specific or diverse groups, ethnicity, race, and age gender (Robbins & Judge 2014).  Diversity is the incorporation or inclusion of employees and staff with different racial, gender, sexual and ethnic backgrounds among others in the workforce of an organisation. Diversity has emerged as a major practice in human resource management (HRM), and most of organisations and leaders know the business benefits of having a diverse workforce (Robbins & Judge 2014; Thompson, 2013).

The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate the business benefits of effective diversity management in Asda Stores Limited. Thus, Asda has been chosen as the case study because as one of the largest supermarket chains in the United Kingdom (UK), it employs employees from different cultural backgrounds. Asda Stores Limited retails toys, financial services, general merchandise, clothing, and food. Asda competes with other companies such as Tesco, and it is a wholly owned subsidiary Wal-Mart Ltd. One of the drivers of the diversity of the organisation is based on the belief that so as to realize a competitive edge over its competitors, it is important to have employees and staff members from varied ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  Established in 1949, Asda has over the years grown to become the second largest supermarket in the UK. The organisation provides other services like the ‘Asda Money’ financial services. As a subsidiary of Wal-Mart, the organisation has more than 175,000 employees who work across its numerous formats such as the Asda Living, Asda George, distribution, home office, supermarkets, and superstores (Times 100, 2014).  

Literature Review

Diversity is the process of understanding, acknowledging, valuing, and accepting the differences among people with regard to physical disabilities, gender, ethnicity, race, class or age. Managing a diverse workforce is beneficial and the positive effects are external and internal benefits. The external benefits emerged from the surrounding environment, while the internal benefits usually exist within an organisation. Organisations have embraced diversity and become inclusive because they understand the associated benefits such as competitive advantages and greater work productivity (Green, López, Wysocki, Kepner, Farnsworth, & Clark, 2014). According to Robison, organisations adopt diversity of workforce because it is an invaluable competitive asset. Diversity management is a vital element of effective people management. Managing diversity entails the provision of equal employment opportunity, inclusion of employees, and affirmative action (Shena, Chandaa, D’Nettob, & Monga, 2009). When employees from different regions are employed to work in the same workplace, they share skills, knowledge, and expertise, which results to improve productivity in the workplace.

            In the recent years, workplace diversity has come to lay an integral role in the life and success of an organisation because of the increased globalisation, increasingly complexity of jobs, and the availability of employees with different skills and knowledge (Kamal & Ferdousi, 2009; Shena, 2009). Thus, organisations are compelled to promote diversity and undertake diversity management in the workplace. Diversity management and diversity in workforce is important because it affects the efficiency and productivity of the workforce.  Workplace diversity management is the planned and systematic commitment process that is applied by an organisation to recruit, employ, reward, and promote a varied combination of employees (Bagshaw, 2004). The equal opportunity philosophy is one of the inclusion model adopted by organisations. The major aim of equal opportunity philosophy is to ensure that organisations can benefit from the differences that exist from diverse workforce instead of losing talent that might aid in making the organisations to be more effective and efficient ( Bryan,1999).

            Diversity is advantageous to organisations, especially when they would like to expand their perspective, approach to business, strategy perspective, launch of new products, and creation of new ideas, developing of a business and marketing plan, and reposition strategy such as moving to ecommerce from brick to mortar (Kamal & Ferdousi, 2009). If the management manages diversity well, an organisation is able to benefit from culture specific advantages and synergistic benefits such as problem solving skills, flexibility, and enhanced creativity (Adler, 2002). Rijamampianina and Carmichael (2005) argued that effective management of culture creates sustainable competitive advantage. When such change have been adopted by organisations, it is possible to survive in the contemporary competitive business environment. Moreover, the agility to change and learn new business ideas and undertakings is promoted through workforce diversity. A more diverse workforce increases the morale of employees and effectiveness as well as efficiency of organisations (Kulik & Roberson, 2008). Subsequently, this not only lifts morale, but also brings the ability to access new market segments, hence enhanced productivity.

            Although diversity can render integration and communication more difficult, it promotes harmony in the workplace. For instance, through workforce diversity, employees from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds can co-exist within the company. Moreover, diversity management enables workforce diverse to carry out its full potential in an equitable work setting (Kulik & Roberson, 2008). When there is harmony in the workplace, a competitive advantage is created because employees can concentrate on production, rather than competing with one another. Other potential benefits of workplace diversity entail higher creativity, better decisions making, innovation, better distribution, greater success in when marketing products into foreign and home ethnic minority communities. Thus, culturally diverse groups in comparison to homogenous groups tend to be more efficient and effective in job performance and interaction process (Green et al., 2014).Organisations that have a diverse workforce can offer superior services to compared to homogenous one because they have better understanding of consumer’s needs and preferences (Wentling and Palma-Rivas, 2000).

            The ability by a manager to recognise cultural diversity in an organisation and its benefits and drawbacks can define the diversity management approach to be used by an organisation. According to Adler (2002), the three major approaches used to manager diversity in the workplace include synergistic, ethnocentric, and parochial. Figure 1 below summaries these three approaches.

             The commonly used approach is the synergistic approach, whereby an organisation can create synergy by capitalising on the cultural aspects of the people employed. This approach is based on the supposition that differences and similarities among different cultures of people involved provide synergy (Kamal & Ferdousi, 2009).  Adler (2002) identified five strategies that can be used to manage cultural diversity, and cultural synergy was the most appropriate. By working people with different cultures can solve production problems faced in the organisation. On the other hand, Ely and Roberts (2008) was able to identify two major models of attitudes related to diversity management. According to the pluralism approach, people are different and they should be treated equally and their differences valued and acknowledged (Ely & Roberts 2001). The colour blind model of diversity is based on the supposition that the differences between people are only superficial and they are not applicable when treating people.

            The most used model is Pluralism because it puts into considerations the values and differences embedded in cultures. The common paradigms of diversity management identified by Thomas and Ely (1998) are: learning and effectiveness, discrimination and fairness, and access and legitimacy paradigms. Discrimination and Fairness Paradigm is based on provision of equal opportunity to all people, compliance with equal employment opportunity by the government, recruitment and fair treatment of employees. Organisations that adopt this form of diversity management incorporate career development, mentoring and training programs. According to Thomas and Ely (1998), the Access and Legitimacy Paradigm focuses on the celebration and acceptance of all people’s differences. Thus, inclusion of employees’ workforce in the workplace is encouraged as way of realising all the potential benefits of work diversity. Lastly, the Learning and Effectiveness Paradigm is based on integration of the workforce by internalising the differences that exist among employees.

            The internal benefits associated with diversity in the workplace as such as enhanced creativity, more and better ideas, increased effectiveness, less conflicts and tension, greater capacity in terms of problem solving, satisfying environment, improved innovation, reduced overall costs, reduced employee turnover and absenteeism, and positive effect on efficiency (Özbilgin, Talti, Ipek & Sameer 2014). On the other hand, external benefits are such as improved customer service and care, improved public image and social accountability, and greater understanding of customer preferences and diversified markets.

Discussion and Analysis

The Asda management is based on respect for individuals, diversity, integrity, innovation, teamwork, and contribution to the community and customers. According to Global Diversity Practice (2014), “Asda commissioned Global Diversity Practice initially for a series of Unconscious Bias workshops to ‘upskill’ their senior leaders on diversity and inclusion, focusing specifically on gender balance and the potential effect that Unconscious Bias can have on decision making, with particular reference to recruitment and succession planning” (p. 1). From this statement, Asda has embraced inclusion policy and diversity in the workplace in order to enhance effectiveness in terms of management succession plans. Subsequently, the organisation does not need to deploy resources in order to recruit external employees for managerial positions. This is because the organisation already has identified potential leaders, especially women. Because of the inclusion policy, employees in Asda, especially women are more committed and engaged in the workplace. Both commitment and engagement are important attributes that promote competitive advantages and greater work productivity (Green et al., 2014). The implementation of the Ethnicity Strategy and Open Minds (2013-14) has made the company competitive and innovative because of the adopting an inclusive culture.

            The organisation has a HRM strategy that focuses on the employment of employees from varied cultures and diversity. As such, Asda’s recruitment and selection process is based on diversity inclusion policy. Report by the Times 100 (2014) indicated that Asda’s commitment is to employ the best people for all its vacancies. The implication is that the organisation recruits and selects its employees from the largest possible pool of talent, in order to promote its diversity and inclusion policy. By encouraging people from varied cultures and backgrounds to apply, the organisation has increased efficiency and effectiveness, as well as its customer care (Kamal & Ferdousi, 2009). Thus, the company operates under the Pluralism approach whereby employees from different culture and backgrounds are given the opportunity to get employed. Also, the company uses the Discrimination and Fairness Paradigm whereby people are provided equal opportunity regardless of their age, race, cultural backgrounds, or ethnicity (The Times 100, 2014).  As such, the company has become compliant with Equal Employment Opportunity Act, and this makes it attract to consumers from different backgrounds.

One of the primary diversity management strategies applied in Asda is via the attraction, selection, development and retaining diverse workforce (Robbins & Judge 2014). The organisation has built diversity that is incorporated in during hiring and selection process as part of its strategic management plan. Asda promotes togetherness and inclusiveness when it hires employees from varied backgrounds and creates and retains a diverse workforce (Global Diversity Practice, 2014). Employees’ recruitment and selection process has emerged as one of ways used by organisations to enjoy the benefits of diversity such as increased creativity and decline the levels of employees’ absenteeism (Robbins & Judge 2014). Asda uses the synergistic approach to its inclusion diversity in order to create synergy by capitalising on the cultural aspects its employees (Adler 2002; Kamal & Ferdousi, 2009). By using the Discrimination and Fairness Paradigm, Asda provides equal employment opportunity to its people. The organisation also career development, mentoring and training programs that make the employees feel appreciated. This also makes workers at Asda feel that they belong to the organisation regardless of their cultural background (Thomas & Ely 1998). Consequently, the employees can remain hardworking and loyal, which assists to increase the organisations profits and productivity.

Through its inclusion policy, Asda has employed employee with different skills, experience, and knowledge. Subsequently, the employee can not only work in teams, but also exchange ideas. Teamwork in the workplace has increasingly become advocated by organisations and businesses because it assures better outcomes on tasks as well as on the delivery of service and goods (Greenberg, 2015). Moreover, a diverse workforce is more comfortable in term of communicating different points of view based on experience. In such context, the management can select the most appropriate ideas from a larger pool of experiences and ideas and meet the needs of the customers (Kulik & Roberson, 2008). Additionally, the business can easily meet the business strategy needs, hence placing the company in a better position. Moreover, it is hard for one person to carryout multiple tasks, and perform work in the same way a team could. Thus, when Asda employs persons from different backgrounds and cultures, a platform is created where each of the team                                                                                           members brings varied offers and ideas (Özbilgin et al., 2014).  This reduces wastage of time in matters related to problem solving and decision making. It also reduces the overall costs involved in decision making and encourages positive effect on efficiency (Özbilgin et al., 2014).

Global Diversity Practice (2014) has noted that through the diversity and inclusion programmes adopted by Asda, the company has improved levels of awareness related to unconscious behaviours. This has improved the levels of effective communication within the organisations. Workplace diversity strengthens an organisation’s relationship because some of the customers can identify with specific group of customers, thus making communication more effective (Green et al., 2014).  Customer service personnel with bilingual qualities can attend to customers from a specific area or cultural background, and this makes the customer feel more represented within the company. When the customers are satisfied with the services provided as a result of workforce diversity, they are more likely to inform their peers. In addition, the public image of the company is also improved (Kamal & Ferdousi, 2009). Moreover, Asda’s philosophy is based on the supposition that when people enjoy working with you, the customers are likely to enjoy shopping with you. Therefore, by supporting each other the colleagues have created a safe family environment characterised with trust and respect. This motivates employees to be more productive because there are no possible conflicts or tensions.


Diversity management in the workplace is a challenging practice that managers face on daily basis while running organisations. Nonetheless, diversity of the workforce has both internal and external benefits, and it is recommendable to all organizations. Some of the general benefits include enhanced creativity and innovation, better ideas, increased efficiency and effectiveness, improved customer care, less conflicts and tension, improved public image, educed employee turnover and absenteeism, understanding of customer preferences, and improved problem solving.

 In regard to Asda Stores Limited, the organisation has integrated diversity in the workforce, in order to enhance success and create competitive advantage. The organisation employs diversity of the workforce in terms of age, ethnic background, and gender at surface-level diversity and deep-level diversity. Thus, Asda can be regarded as an example of diversity and diversity management and this should be replicated into other organisations. The organisation uses the Pluralism approach by giving people from different cultures and backgrounds the opportunity to work together making it attractive to consumers from various backgrounds. Asda’s inclusion policy has ensured that people with different skills, experience, and knowledge are employed to enhance better outcomes in terms of service and goods delivery. Communication has also been improved as well as teamwork in the workplace. Customer service and care are also improved because the varied employees can addresses to the needs and preferences of customers regardless of their cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Asda’s philosophy encourages people to help one another in the workplace, and this has created a safe family environment, which allows employees to be more productive. Teamwork also reduces tension and conflicts, hence efficiency. The organisation is compliance to employment regulations and equal opportunity regardless of their age, race, cultural backgrounds, or ethnicity.


Inclusion is a major challenge organisations face and for this reason, Asda must address any possible resistance in the workplace. In addition, employees can be encouraged to express their opinions and ideas in order to attribute a sense of equal value. By promoting leadership proposition and increasing the number of women and those with physical abilities in management levels in order to continue benefiting from workforce diversity. Lastly, Asda must establish a customisable employee satisfaction survey in order to create and implement successful diversity (Greenberg, 2015).



Adler, N. J (2002) International Dimensions of Organisational Behaviour, McGill University, Thomson Learning.

Bagshaw M, (2004) ‘Is Diversity Divisive?’,  Journal Of Industrial And Commercial Training, vol. 36, no. 4, pp.153-157.

Bryan ,J H (1999) ‘The diversity imperative’, Executive Excellence, pp. 6

Ely, R. J & Roberts, L. M (2001) ‘Cultural Diversity at Work: the Effects of Diversity on Work Group Processes and Outcomes’, Administrative Science Quarterly, vol. 46, pp. 229-273.

Ely, R. J & Roberts, L. M (2008), ‘Shifting Farms in Team-Diversity Research: From Difference to Relationships. In A, P. Brief (ed), Diversity at Work, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 265-317.

Global Diversity Practice (2014) Asda Global Diversity Practice [Online] Available at: <> (Accessed 20 August, 2016). 

Green,K,  López, M, Wysocki, A, Kepner, K, Farnsworth, D,  & Clark, J L (2014) Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges, and the Required Managerial Tools [Online] Available at: <> (Accessed 20 August, 2016). 

Greenberg, J. (2015) ‘Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges and Solutions’, [Online] Available at: <> 

Kamal, Y & Ferdousi, M (2009) ‘Managing Diversity at Workplace: A Case Study of HP’, ASA University Review, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 157-170, 

Kulik, C T & Roberson, L (2008) Diversity Initiative Effectiveness: What Organisations can Expect from Diversity recruitment, Diversity Training, and Formal Mentoring Program, Cambridge Press, Cambridge

Özbilgin, M, Talti, IA, pek, G & Sameer, M (2014) The business case for diversity [Online] Available at: <> 

Shena, J, Chandaa, A, D’Nettob, B, & Monga, M (2009), ‘Managing Diversity Through Human Resource Management: An International Perspective And Conceptual Framework’, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 235–251

Rijamampianina, R & Carmichael, T (2005) ‘General Issues in Management: A Pragmatic and Holistic Approach to Managing Diversity, Problems and Perspectives in Management, pp. 109-11.

Robbins, S. P. & Judge, M (2014)  Essentials of Organizational Behaviour, Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Thompson, P. (2013)  A case of leadership diversity. [Online] Available at: (Accessed 3 Feb 2015).

Thomas, D A., Ely, R J (1998) Makin Differences Matter: A New Paradigm for Managing Diversity’, Harvard Business Review, pp. 79-90.

Times 100 (2014) Effective recruitment and selection, The Times 100 Business Case Studies, UK. 


$ 10 .00


Load more