Understanding inclusion in the retail industry: incorporating the majority perspective

Catherine Cassell*, Kathryn Watson, Jacqueline Ford, Juliet Kele

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The aim of this paper is to move away from the focus upon the drivers of diversity to consider the drivers of inclusion in the workplace. The research outlined addresses this by considering the views of all employees, not just those who would be considered members of minority groups. Design/methodology/approach: The paper draws on an extensive set of case study data from a range of methodological sources. The case study is of a major high street retailer. Findings: Findings focus upon what leads to employees feeling included in the workplace. In addressing this we explore both the drivers of, and barriers to, inclusion. We argue that inclusion is complex and that individuals may feel included by some aspects of organisational culture whilst simultaneously feeling excluded by others. Practical implications: The implications of our results for HR practitioners are that organisations need to pay attention to general HR policies as ways of enhancing inclusion, for example development practices, but also pay attention to the different needs of diverse groups. Originality/value: The paper is original in that in recognising that equality, diversity and inclusion are all closely related, we demonstrate that an understanding of the effectiveness of diversity strategies needs to be fundamentally informed by a consideration of inclusion which can only occur through an engagement with employee's understandings of organisational culture and their place or otherwise within it. Without this employee engagement, many well-intentioned diversity initiatives may go awry. Moreover, the value of the research is that it demonstrates that in order to be successful an inclusion strategy needs to embrace both minority and majority perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-250
Number of pages21
JournalPersonnel Review
Issue number1
Early online date27 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Case study
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Equality
  • Qualitative
  • Retail

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