Perspectives on workforce diversity: a context-based approach to understanding diversity and equality in the police service

Kenisha Linton

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

2550 Downloads (Pure)


This thesis investigates how employee perspectives on diversity, anchored in a specific work context, shape the organisation’s approach to managing diversity. The literature advocates the advantages of diversity but fails to clearly identify the boundaries between the phenomena (diversity perspectives) and context (organisational processes). This research seeks to explore how diversity is understood and put into practice in the complex and dynamic work setting of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). The analysis employs theoretical frameworks on diversity perspectives (Ely and Thomas 2001; Dass and Parker 1999) and diversity discourse (Janssens and Zanoni 2005; Litvin 1997; Zanoni and Janssens, 2007) in order to understand employee attitudes towards diversity management in the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).
Exploratory semi-structured interviews are used to gain insight into the subjective experiences of police officers. The sample of 85 police officers and staff included a mix of genders, ethnicities, sexual orientation, and a range in age and tenure. This multiplicity of interview participants facilitates a multidimensional analysis of the experiences of different identity groups. The discourse of diversity involves the micro-level perspectives of employees, which ultimately impact the macro-level practices and power relations in the organisation. The research identifies important organisation-level contextual moderators that impact employee perception and attitude towards workforce diversity. The study evaluates ways in which the police service might leverage its organisational outcomes through developing context-based diversity strategies and management initiatives. Implications for practice and future research are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Moore, Fiona, Supervisor
  • Exworthy, Mark, Supervisor
Award date1 Jun 2014
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


  • workforce diversity
  • equality
  • police
  • diversity strategy

Cite this