What can the ideology and practice of diversity management offer those concerned with ethnic inequality, racial discrimination, and issues of social and economic inclusion and exclusion? John Wrench traces the emergence of diversity management in the US in the late 1980s, and explores its subsequent development in Europe. He outlines the various critiques of diversity management that have been put forward both by academics and equality activists and he highlights recent issues and trends that should be monitored by those concerned with racial and ethnic equality in employment. In particular, Wrench addresses the question of whether diversity management can be accused of being a 'soft option' in terms of combating racism and discrimination, or alternatively, whether it should be seen as a new way of mainstreaming anti-discrimination measures.
He also addresses the important question of whether the development of diversity management in Europe will follow a relatively uniform trajectory because of common demographic, economic and market pressures, or whether the historical, cultural and institutional differences which exist between EU countries, and between the EU and the US, will have a determining impact on the adoption, content and operation of this particular management practice.