Equality management - Towards a materialist approach

Doug Miller

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Attempts to redefine equality initiatives to fit squarely within the enterprise culture serve only to mask an ongoing conceptual confusion in the area of equality management. This theoretical article attempts to show that this conceptual confusion lies within the narrowness of approaches which address labour market inequalities from both an equality of opportunity and an equality of outcome perspective. The inability of these perspectives to satisfactorily address systemic causes of labour market inequalities pulls our attention towards a more materialist approach which may be found (this side of a capitalist/patriarchal society) within an equality of condition frame of reference. This widens the perspective from which equality management can be pursued so that measures to address the differential distribution of resources, rewards, opportunities and treatment in the workplace are informed by all three equalities: opportunity, outcome and conditions. Such a theoretical approach is inevitably limited in that it only provides a framework for addressing those who are in paid employment, i.e. seeks to reform the capitalist/patriarchal system. However, by posing questions of the crucial pillars of such systems notably status, reward and with that power, the 'long' and 'radical' agendas of the equality project may once again be picked up.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-214
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1996


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