Diversity management practices in public Universities in Kenya
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Diversity refers to the differences between individuals as a result of differences in nationality, race, culture, age, social status, gender, religion, disability and personal values and belief systems. Diversity management is a voluntary process that involves designing formal or informal social and organizational programs in an effort to foster inclusion and respect among employees. The objective of this study was to determine diversity management practices in use in public universities. The study adopted a crosssectional census survey that targeted 30 public universities operating in Kenya. Respondents were one human resource/administrative officers drawn from each university under study because diversity management is a human resource function in most organizations. Primary sources of data were used to obtain information for the study through use of open ended questionnaires. The data collected was entered into excel spreadsheets to enable the researcher analyze the data and descriptive statistics were used to present the data which was illustrated using graphs and figures. Findings from this study revealed that all the public universities have diversity management practices in place. These practices ranged from employee inclusiveness, diversity training and linking diversity management to the organizations' strategic plan and diversity recruitment. Organizations had different ways of ensuring that they foster inclusiveness ranging from once a week tea sessions, open office structures, delegation of duties and responsibilities to decision making cascaded downwards and participation in cultural entertainment activities. Adoption of recruitment and selection procedures that promote diversity was found to be wanting. The study agrees that corruption, ethnicity and nepotism were common and undermine the implementation of diversity management practices. Emphasis on merit only during selection of candidates for jobs at universities also means that minority groups may end up not being hired in a competitive process. Organization's diversity plan must be embedded in the overall strategic plan to enhance structural and systematic implementation. From the data findings it is recommended that universities should ensure that the implementation of diversity practices become the concern of all members of staff and have the support of top leadership. It should not be the responsibility of Human Resource department that was noted to be ill equipped to successfully implement these practices. All employees should undergo diversity training starting with top managers for them to effectively make the benefits of this practice a reality.