Examining the discursive production and deployment of diversity and inclusion in a UK-wide outdoor organisation

Linda Allin*, Zoe Avner, John Hayton

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study draws on a Foucauldian lens to examine how diversity and inclusion are produced, understood, experienced, and managed within the context of a UK wide outdoor non-profit organisation that recently began steps to increase the diversity of its workforce. Qualitative semi‐structured interviews were undertaken with 16 adult members of staff (8 male and 8 female), from different levels, roles and leadership positions, and across different locations. Analysis highlighted tensions between historical and cultural legacies of exclusion in the outdoors and diversity and inclusion organisational values and practices. It also highlighted the privileging of certain discursive articulations, rationalities, and diversity management practices over others. These included the need for workforce diversity to better represent the client base, leading to a focus on front-facing staff and instructors, and a project-based approach. Findings suggested there may be a generational shift in talking about diversity and inclusion within the outdoor sector, but alternative voices are not yet powerful enough to provoke meaningful and sustainable change. We propose a critical perspective to challenge unproblematized discourses of progress and call for diversity and inclusion to be embedded within core organisational cultures and working practices to avoid it slipping down the ladder of competing organisational priorities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalLeisure Studies
Early online date4 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Oct 2023

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