Business Management Assignment Analysing Employee Inequality In Virgin Atlantic
You are required to provide a research report on business management assignment examining the issues faced by businesses in UK with regards to a specific organisation.
The research on business management assignment is based on inequality in the workplace of the UK. Inequality in the workplace is referred to as unequal treatment of employees based on gender, height, and race. In the current research, the inequality of Virgin Atlantic has been presented. The company has discriminated between the males and females regarding the payroll. The company has paid more male employees rather than females. Primarily, the gap has increased from 28% to 31%. The research questions of the current research have helped develop inequality and discrimination in the workplace and how they have faced workplace discrimination challenges. It is essential because it helps to evaluate the problem more effectively.
The research has conducted with the help of a secondary qualitative research process. The books, journals, and articles have given an overview of inequality in the workplace. It has helped to do the research elaborately and effectively. Analyzing the papers and journals helps to develop models and theories of the research. It has helped to build the theoretical foundations of the research. Qualitative research has focused on a better understanding of the research purpose.
The result is entirely based on the data that has been collected from books, journals, and articles. It has drawn facts from literature review sections. The papers have given an overview of inequality in the workplace, identifiable factors leading to UK business inequality. All of the taken papers have maintained the ethnicity of papers. It does not give any misleading information, and all the credits have gone to the rightful authors.
It can conclude that inequality in the workplace has risen because of some factors, and in the company, Virgin Atlantic has gone overboard regarding gender discrimination. Educate the workers on gender bias, give them equal pay, and review the recruitment process to prevent workplace discrimination in Virgin Atlantic.
Keywords: “Inequality”, “Airline”, “UK business”, “Qualitative Research”, “Secondary Research”, “Workplace”.
1.1. Research Background
The research is based on issues of inequality faced in the UK business sectors. Here, for the research purpose, Virgin Atlantic has been chosen. The company's revenue was £2.781 billion in 2018, and it is a part of British Airlines (Our story | Virgin Atlantic, 2021). In 2017, the company had joint ventured with Air-France-KLM; however, it does not last long because of stakeholder issues. In 2020, the company had terminated 3000 staff because of COVID-19, and in September 2020, the company announced a second layoff which was around 1150 across all the departments. In the Virgin Atlantic, inequality among the employees has been identified. Inequality in the workplace can be defined as the unequal treatment of people based on gender, height, or race. It also includes treated someone based on their ethnicity and cultural background.
From some analysis, it has been found that Virgin Atlantic has discriminated against the payroll process in their organization. The company is paying more their male employees rather than female employees. Male employees of the company have paid 28.4% more than female ones. However, the gap has been increased to 31%. Workplace discrimination in the UK has become an enormous problem. The "Sex Discrimination Act" suggests that it is unlawful to discriminate against women in the workplace directly or indirectly. However, the gender pay gap is remaining in some of the companies (Dashper, 2019). In the Virgin Atlantic, the gap is even wider. The company's spokesperson has stated that some of the senior female employees had left the crew that is why pilots are doing an extra hour. Some of the studies show that factors that instigate inequality in the workplace are poverty, minimum wages, and biases towards particular employees. Here, in the research, gender discrimination of the company has been highlighted and gives an overview that how inequality has affected the entire business of this British Airline.
Figure: Gender Payroll discrimination of Virgin Atlantic (Manchester United, 2017)
The research's ultimate purpose has been to recognize the concept of inequality and discrimination at UK businesses taking the case of Virgin Atlantic.
- To explore the concept of inequality and discrimination at the workplace.
- To identify factors leading to inequality at UK businesses.
- To analyze the core issues and challenges that were faced in the Virgin Atlantic Case
- To evaluate the measures taken for the resolution of the challenges faced at Virgin Atlantic.
1.4. Research Problem
The research mainly focuses on the inequality in the UK workplace. This can be evidenced with the fact that only 15% of engineering and technology undergraduates are female compared to 94% of males, as pilots within the companies in the UK (Corporate.virginatlantic.com, 2021). Virgin Atlantic is found to be such companies within the UK that follows the trend of majority of male professionals in the business compared t that of female ones. The adverse effects of gender equality in the workplace are the loss of productivity rate. If the employees have to focus on dealing with inequality in the workplace, then the company's productivity will diminish, and the problem can also cause high team member turnover. Racial discrimination in the workplace has impacted workplace efficiency (Lewis, 2017). It raises conflicts in the workplace and can cause affect the organization directly.
The main issue of the research is unequal treatment of employees in a workplace like Virgin Atlantic UK. From the gender pay report of Virgin Atlantic, it has been shown that the company has 3436 women crew members and 1961 office members (Corporate.virginatlantic.com, 2017). From the ratios, it has been identified that the gaps in the payroll are huge. Men are the highest pay quartiles in the company. The survey has been the average hourly rate for that females has been 30% lesser than men.
Similarly, inequality has also been found in the attire of women of the airline. Females have to wear makeup and tight skirts while attaining passengers. On the other hand, discrimination related to the ethnic minority, a gap in the payment still existed in the company. The research's primary purpose is to convey the problems that have been aroused in the airline company. The problem needs to be mitigated. Otherwise, it will fall impact the productivity and profitability of the company.
1.6. Research Questions
- How is the concept of inequality and discrimination at the workplace understandable?
- What are identifiable factors leading to inequality in UK businesses?
- What are the core issues and challenges faced by organizations like Virgin Atlantic?
- What are the adaptive measures through which challenges faced can resolve at Virgin Atlantic?
1.7. Research Significance
The research's main aspects are to highlight the problematic areas of British Airline Company called Virgin Atlantic. The problem that has been aroused is gender discrimination in the workplace and its effect on the business. Inequality in the workplace is found in the Virgin Atlantic where act of discrimination is witnessed to be against the employee payrolls. The significance of the research is to find the concept of inequality and discrimination in the workplace. The factors of minimum wages, poverty, and essential geographical discrimination in the UK have causes discrimination in the workplace. Not only in the pay but in education also, there is discrimination in the UK.
Societal inequalities have an impact on the income rate of people in the UK. It has impacted efficiency and positive outcome in the workplace (Amis, Mair and Munir, 2020). In the current research, factors leading to inequality have been identified; the Virgin Atlantic employees have faced issues that have been analyzed here. The research has taken secondary qualitative research methodologies, which will help to research the proper way. The research methods are descriptive and give enormous information about inequality in the workplace. The mitigation process of challenges has been discussed in the research. Through the research questions, all of the challenges could address. Finally, it can state that the research has helped evaluate the challenging factors of inequality in the workplace. It has found the negative aspects that the female employees faced in the Virgin Atlantic, with the name of "discrimination."
2. Literature Review
Various types of inequalities and discrimination have been presented in the workplace all around the world. Employees face uneven education, lack of employment, earning a difference. The income ratio between men and women varies widely. Age, colour, and ethnic discrimination can still found in various organizations and enterprises. The different types of literature that various authors publish will support the concept of the report. The literature review supports the case study done on the Virgin Atlantic in the UK business.
2.2. Concept of Inequality and Discrimination
According to (Stypinska and Turek, 2017), age discrimination is present in the labour market. The paper focused on discussing two significant age understandings discrimination is sociological and legal. The study surveyed one thousand men and women between the ages of forty-five to sixty-five. The researcher found that age discrimination in the labour market can take two forms. The forms are hard and soft. The complicated form of age discrimination showed legally prohibited behaviour towards the employees. The complicated form of age discrimination impacts the career path of the employees. Soft discrimination is a type of discrimination that is not legally prohibitive. The soft type of discrimination presents predominantly in the interpersonal relationship sphere. 28% of the sample accepted that they faced soft discrimination in their workplace, whereas 15.7% responded that they face brutal discrimination in their workplace.
In the paper (Tolbert and Castilla, 2017), the issues are present on workplace inequality. High levels of lawsuits, both individual and grouped, were submitted against gender and racial discrimination in workplaces. The paper focuses on providing various approaches to minimize the social inequalities present in the workplace. The researcher also mentioned that diversity management practices could reduce the discrimination and inequality present in the workplace. More careful applications of the various diversity management practices have a huge potentiality to deduct discrimination from the workplace. The paper mentioned that gender inequality could be found across the different levels of organizational hierarchies. The number of women employees in the higher post of the organization is significantly less.
According to (Scarborough, Lambouths III, and Holbrook, 2019), improving diversity and racial inequality have a considerable effect on the workplace. The world is changing the competition between companies is increasing each day. Companies need more money and resources to support workplace diversity. The paper aims to provide information about workplace diversity policies. The researcher finds that the whites who have racist attitudes and males who have sexist attitudes are increasingly opposing affirmative action. The study statistics showed that racial attitudes and gender inequality influence different people to support affirmative actions. When individuals feel threatened with racial or gender discrimination in the workplace, they are more likely to support affirmative action.
According to (Jones et al., 2017), the rise of egalitarian discrimination in the workplace can see. In the recent workplace, illegal practices are conducted on an individual based on various characteristics such as race, ethnicity, colour, sexual orientation, or race. The paper mentioned that discriminating applicants and employees based on their characteristics is socially unacceptable. The presence of prejudice in the workplace tends to create discrimination between employees. The presence of prejudices in the workplace dangerously increases the business's nature to violate social norms and expectations. Subtle discrimination is the adverse treatment towards social monitories based on their prejudices and monitoring status. The subtle discrimination may not be conscious activity. But the impact of discrimination is huge as conscious discrimination.
According to (Plickert and Sterling, 2017), women still face gender inequality in their workplace. The advancement of law and regulation cannot minimize gender biases in the workplace all around the world. The study uses a survey procedure to examine the work schedules on a part-time and a full-time basis. The result showed that the work schedule is widely varies depending on the disposition and workplace characteristics. The result of the survey showed shocking evidence. The work scheduling builds depending upon the gender, parental role. It is enormous workplace discrimination faced by women.
According to (Keynejad et al., 2018), Recognizing gender inequality and discrimination worldwide by carious movements such as "#MeToo." The paper showed that workplace gender inequality is common in both high-income as well as low-income counties. Limited education and cultural defect give birth to gender prejudice and discrimination. The paper conducted an online survey where the adaptability of workplace prejudice or discrimination that addresses gender inequalities and various qualities questions. The result of the survey showed that women reported experiencing more gender prejudice and discrimination than men.
According to Horne (2021), the aspects associated with inequalities and discrimination towards employees based on age, gender, race and others can be linked with the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs. The author stated that the need of particular theory is still relevant in 2021, as the elements of the models can allow the management of an organisation to assess any event of unethical practice or intentions corresponding to inequalities and discrimination within the workplace. At individual level a male as well as a female employee within the workplace adhere to the particular theory in measuring whether the same is projected to any behaviour of discrimination or not. The Belonging element of the model can be linked with company culture, where the employees can assess that occurrence of any discrimination incident is either from the foundation of the company’s culture or not. Self-actualisation shall lead the employees to contribute effectively in finding through meaning towards their respective productivity levels irrespective of their gender, race, colours and others.
Figure: Maslow Hierarchy of Needs Model
(Source: Horne, 2021)
Similarly, the esteem needs defined within the theory can be related with recognition opportunities by peers, industry, and company that is supposed to equally provided to every employee without having biasness or rather any sort of inequalities projected throughout the organisational premises. Safety needs shall be focused to those employees that might have experienced any cases of discrimination based upon various types and occurrence rate so that the same is completely eliminated from the culture and premises thus, developing a motivated environment for every gender, race, colour of employees within workplaces.
According to (Aksoy et al., 2019), the empirical analysis will provide knowledge about the workplace authorities. Workplace authorities have the power to determine the labour market was earning. The job is desirable from their perspective and talent. Inequality can be found based on gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation to get authority. It intensifies and sustains the inequality activities in the workplace. The number of women senior managers is significantly less. Having more senior woman managers can decrease equal treatment for a particular gender. The paper is aimed to provide evidence about the relationship present between sexual orientation and workplace authority.
According to (Sánchez-Monedero, Dencik, and Edwards, 2020), discrimination activates present in hiring is an ongoing issue. The issues are not only crucial for workplace discrimination but also unequal economic justices. The paper is focused on examining three dominant hiring systems in the UK to understand the biases and discrimination. The study concluded that the significant rise in discrimination in the hiring process could be challenging to tackle. The so-called hiring process of sourcing, screening, interviewing, and rejection or acceptance does not constitute profoundly based on the candidate's power talent. Still, the whole process is dependent on the authorities and the employer's bias mentality. The researcher mentioned no singular and a unified path to understanding the meaning of discrimination in the workplace.
2.3. Factors Leading To Inequality at UK Business
According to (Power et al., 2020), food insecurity and inequality in the UK business sector have been found due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been stated that the pandemic has caused socio-economical inequalities in the food-business of the UK. The pandemic has increased the UK's poverty rate, which is causing inequality in the workplace also. It has made the situation more vulnerable, and heightened vulnerabilities have been found in UK businesses' food systems. From the study, it has been found that low-income household has found difficulty in stockpiling more of food in the pandemic. In this kind of situation, the Government has reduced the salary costs that cause differences in the UK business.
According to (Amis et al., 2018), global inequality has affected the UK's organizations in everyday life. The inequality can be found in organizational practices like hiring, rewarding, and promoting the employee's etcetera. It makes a negative impact on the organizations of the UK. From the data, it has been found that Chile and Mexico have the highest rate of inequality in their business. Economic inequality primarily impacts the performance of an organization. Hierarchies in the organization have led to inequality. It affects the physical and social existence of the organization. Moreover, it can say that in the UK, business inequality has decreased the productivity rate of the organization.
According to (Yu and Moskal, 2019) the organizational structures and institutional arrangements have somehow instigated inequality and the gender pay gap in the organization. In the UK, Chinese students have also been affected by the inequality in their educational institutions. From the study, it has been found that less intercultural contact has allowed inequality in any organization. Thus, intercultural contact has enhanced the ability of global students in the international market. In the paper, it has been given that more than 9% of students come to the UK for academic purposes, and it helps to elevate the revenue of the UK Government. International students have encountered comments like "grey zone" and "limbo." It has given the idea of inequality in the education system of the UK.
According to (Fortin, Bell, and Böhm, 2017) the gender pay gap has existed in the UK business system since the beginning. Mostly, after analysis of earnings, it gives an idea that in top-incomes, the inequality existed. In 1980, the income share was doubled up. It has gone from 1% to 10%. From the data, it has been found that women have given more labor force than men. However, they earn less rather than men. Recently the gender pay gap has increased, and the growth of the gap is unexplained. Technological changes and lack of consensus have recently wider the gap in the income between men and women.
Figure: Women’s Labor force (Fortin, Bell, and Böhm, 2017)
According to (Williams, 2017) in Britain, people's occupations play a significant role in measuring the UK's inequality traits. It has been found that the great recession that has been happened in the UK, primarily because of occupational dissatisfaction and minimal wages. The study shows that inequality between wages and occupation and occupational classes has elevated the cause of recession in Britain. The "Annual Survey of Hours and Earning" has given information that authoritative persona falls a significant impact on the inequality in the payment of wages in the UK. Key
According to (Paavola, 2017) inequalities in social and health have impacted climate change in the UK. Exposure to heat, air pollution, and food safety risks are the main impacts on health, and it influences the social and health inequalities in the UK. Social-deprivation can cause people vulnerability, and it makes a negative impact on health. Giving people proper health education and public attentiveness can help to prevent the inequalities in the UK. Broad public campaign and giving poor people financial supports can help to avoid inequality in the country.
2.4. Key Issues Faced By Employees at Virgin Atlantic
According to (Van der Lippe, Van Breeschoten, and Van Hek, 2019), most organizations face many problems like gender inequality, discrimination, and the wage gap, etcetera. In the chosen organization Virgin Atlantic, many vital issues are found that create discrimination in the organization. Virgin Atlantic has been considered one of the best airline companies. However, it faces some problems like inequalities and gender gaps in the organization. The management of Virgin Atlantic is paying the male employees more than the women employees. It causes a gender gap in the organization. It is a burning issue in the organization. The issues can be mitigated by introducing organizational life-force policies. The organization majorly explains the inequality in gender wage by considering the limited access of women in the management and supervisory positions.
According to (Caliendo, Lee, and Mahlstedt, 2017), women's average working hour rate is 30% lesser than the male employees. It proves the pay gap between male and female employees in the organization. However, they have eased some rules like the make-up of female crews, but the payroll gap is different from it. Gender discrimination and the wage gap have been significant in organizations over the last few years. Female employees can potentially anticipate this issue and adjust their reservation salary downwards to increase their future employment vision. However, gender discrimination and cultural diversity have become an emerging trend in workplaces. The HRM is facing issues like inequality and gender discrimination regarding payment and others in the organization. The discrimination in Virgin Atlantic has started with the dress codes and ended with the wage gap.
In the UK, the "Equal Pay Act of 1970" and "The Sex Discrimination Act of 1974" have been implemented to support the workplace's service economy. It has been found that the gender pay gap is more comprehensive in Britain rather than in France and Germany (Dalingwater, 2018). In the Virgin Atlantic, the pay gap is enormous, and it is constantly increasing. It is going to impact the performance of the employees effectively. The effects of neo-liberalism have fall effect on the labor market of the UK since 1979. On the one hand, neo-liberalism has given women opportunities, but on the other, it has also caused social mobilization. It can be considered that Virgin Atlantic should implement strategies and other required practices to decrease the gender gap in the organization.
According to (Verniers and Vala, 2018) the gender inequality still in the rise of the workplace. Enormous policies and discrimination regarding recruitment have been followed. However, discrimination still exists. The new mother has also faced challenges regarding gender inequality in the workplace. Some studies have shown that average women to part-time jobs because of the low-payment process and cannot get promoted to managerial positions. In the organizations like Virgin Atlantic, it has been found that women have to face discrimination regarding the payment process and the attire of the women has to prosper. Otherwise, it will be considered rude.
2.5. Methods Implemented For Resolution of Challenges
Virgin Atlantic has been facing severe problems like the gender pay gap. As per last year's reports, the women working hour rate is 30% less than the men. It means that the female employees earn 70p for each £1 than men's earnings (Virgin Atlantic’s sexism goes deeper than telling women what to wear | Joan Smith, 2021). So, Virgin Atlantic needs to look over this severe problem of the organization. Some methods like inclusion and diversity at the workplace can mitigate these issues. Inclusion means that all the employees are acknowledged as the organization's valued and essential members for their sole personality (Brimhall et al., 2017). They should be encouraged to participate in the workplace.
Figure: Diversity and Inclusion (Created by Author)
This diversity and inclusion strategy can be significant in an organization like Virgin Atlantic. Diversity in the workplace means employee differences in race, religion, culture, ethnicity, skills, background, etc. It is proved that a diverse workplace is more productive than the ordinary workforce (Hieker and Rushby, 2017). Virgin Atlantic has introduced diversity and inclusion in their organization to mitigate issues like gender discrimination and the payroll gap. They provide a supportive and fair workplace where all the employees are treated equally in the organization. However, they aim to create a diversified workplace where no discrimination will take place.
In the workplace, it can find that inequalities have been grown up higher. It has a fallen impact on the performance of the organization. It also destroys the reputation of the company. The organizational structure should be in a way where there will be no chance to see the inequality. Some North American companies have implemented innovative technology, which has helped to evaluate men's and women's performance ratings in the workplace (Rivera and Tilcsik, 2019). It has also been found that it has reduced workplace inequalities and increases the rate of productivity. Distributing the same amount of works in the workplace can minimize the inequality of the workplace.
Workplace inequality has mainly developed, and most women face injustice and potential variations in the organization (Roscigno, 2019). It has been found that inequality has also diminished the workplace employees' relationship and decreased the productivity rate. From a study, it has been found that the workers of the company should be educated about gender biases. A company like Virgin Atlantic should pay its staff members equally. Another method that can be applied to the workplace is to give every employee flexible work hours. It can help to create equality in the workplace.
According to (Ud Din, Cheng, and Nazneen, 2018), some companies are giving opportunities to the women to become a leader for the company. Some survey shows that in accounting company women's feel demotivated as men dominate the accounting world. However, women are mainly transforming the technologies regarding accounting. It is going to affect workplace productivity. Inequality in the workplace can be prevented if the company's management gives proper training to their employees and gives rewards to those who are worthy. Some of the companies have avoided using connotations like "competitive," "outspoken," "loyal," "nurturing," and "co-operative." It makes the atmosphere of the organization more relaxed and equal. A flexible work schedule can also cause equality in the workplace. Giving women employees a more flexible schedule can help to sustain the equality of the organization.
In the end, it can be concluded that gender equality still prevails in the workplace due to policies and rules. Thus, organizations should be implemented tight rules regarding it. Otherwise, it cannot be mitigated easily.
2.6. Literature Gap
From the above discussion with the literature papers, the critical issues of Virgin Atlantic have been identified. The main issues they are facing women's wages gap in the organization. However, some literature gaps are identified from the above-discussed literature papers. They have not discussed the different types of inequalities and discrimination in the organization except gender inequality. The other critical issues in the organization, like the HRM problem, women's dress code, and the related problem, are not explained here. The other implemented methods to solve Virgin Atlantic's challenges except for diversity and inclusion are not present here.
3. Research Methodology
The role of various governmental agency organisations within research activities involved with human rights and negative aspects of workplace discrimination are significant. Human Rights Watch falls under such organisations that practically undertake research activities through systematic investigations of human rights abuse around the world within various industries. The approach of this governmental agency is in regular manner, where they are found to actively engage in research works and report the outcomes to concerned authorities in more than 90 countries (Human Rights Watch, 2021). The role of organisation also plays a role in responding to emergencies within the companies where employees might have reached a critical stage of discrimination where existence of human rights is either completely vanished or is found to be in the verge of being exterminated. The research processes undertaken by the agency is said to conduct among those that are directly within the knowledge of rights violation with the help of interview sessions.
3.1. Research Design
The research is mainly based on the secondary research method. The method involves using existing data. The research method includes research material that has already been published in similar documents and other research reports. The documents can be available on any website or library. Other than these, some government bodies and agencies have also stored data, which can use for research purposes. Secondary research is cost-effective than primary research. It makes use of the existing data and can be used as secondary methods. In the current report, the methods have been based on the literature pieces that have been used for researching inequality in the workplace. Technological advances have led us to a vast amount of data, which can be collected, archived, and complied with (Johnston, 2017). Utilizing pre-existing data makes the research more relevant and proper.
Secondary research methods can be conducted with the help of research questions. The method helps determine the researchers to collect, analyze, and interpret data effectively. It can consider that the secondary research method helps to know about the procedural and evaluative steps of the research. Some secondary researches methods have been defining the purpose of the research, and it helps to analyze the seamless process manner. The secondary analysis helps to know about the development and purpose of the research.
The development of secondary analysis has helped to know about the data in particular. It explains how the pre-existing data can help analyze the knowledge properly (Sherif, 2018). Some of the researchers have identified that secondary analysis's capacity generates valuable insights into the research field. Thus, it can state that conducting the secondary analysis will help the researcher know about the inequality in the UK's Virgin Atlantic airline. It gives an overview of how poverty and minimum wages have instigated inequality in the workplace.
3.2. Research Approach
The research is based on the qualitative research method. It helps to analyze non-numerical data from the research paper. It is used to gather in-depth information, which helps understand the concepts, opinions, and research experience. It gives an overview of the research methods as a whole. Many approaches can found in the qualitative research approach. That includes grounded theory, ethnography, action research, and many more. Other than these, there are many types of data collection methods that can apply by using qualitative research. Observation, interviews, surveys have fallen under it. Research approach specifically within the field of research can be termed as the process of identifying of what approach can be suitable for research studies. This can be made clear when a research that is supposed to be conducted is required to developed either uses deductions from existing research works in the past based upon similar themes and problems or a completely new theory and generalisation is said to be seen, as the conclusion of the study.
Here, in the current research secondary qualitative research approach has been taken. From the existing literature, the data has been collected. It gives an idea about the factors which is causing inequality in the UK business sector. The main focus has been given to the Virgin Atlantic airline of the UK. The company has faced issues regarding gender inequality which is based on separate payroll between males and females. From the existing literature, it has been found that the company has discriminated against females in the workplace. Through the qualitative approach, all the data regarding discrimination has been identified. According to the above aspects, information regarding the extent of inequalities faced in the past by the employees of Virgin Atlantic shall be presented as findings of the study. This indicates the use of deductive research approach where the developed research objectives shall be used to develop themes for the collection of secondary data regarding employee relation, management, and level of discrimination faced by the employees within the companies from scholarly articles and news websites and company’s reports. Deductive reasoning when applied within the research study as an approach, shall allow the researcher in identifying both quantitative and qualitative data regarding the discrimination faced by employees within the chosen company (Research-Methodology, 2021). The rate of employee turnover can be assessed as statistics from various statistical reports, which can help in building the quantitative base of the research. On the other hand, qualitative data can be identified from scholarly articles as secondary sources of information that portray the various reasons regarding higher turnover rates within the company and enumerate the various incidents of employee inequalities and discrimination within the workplace.
Critical realism is an essential philosophical framework that can be helpful to do the research more effective way. A qualitative research approach can instigate theory. All the papers that have been taken for gathering the data can be helpful to do critical realism (Fletcher, 2017). With the critical realism process, research questions can define easily. Existing theories can be helpful to empirical research in a proper way. The qualitative approach's central importance is to present an overview of different approaches to the existing literature (Collins and Stockton, 2018). Qualitative research helps to research productively and effectively. It helps to get the various portions of pre-existing research works and interweave a theoretical framework.
3.3. Research Analysis
The research has given an idea about gender inequality in the workplace of the UK. The research method that has been taken for the research is secondary qualitative research methods. Here, in the research analysis, thematic analysis has been done. It is essential because it makes the research method more interesting, and it gives importance to the purpose of the research. The thematic analysis helps to know about the data, reviewing and defining the research themes. Reflexive thematic analysis articulates the clear perspective about the literature papers for the research (Braun and Clarke, 2019). Through the thematic analysis, the research becomes more reflexive, and it makes the research more relevant.
Thematic analysis can be used as a tool for qualitative research. It is one of the powerful methods for analyzing qualitative data within the numerous paradigms of research papers. It is one of the appropriate methods with bits of help to analyze papers' data analytically. It helps to understand the experience and behaviors of the data (Kiger and Varpio, 2020). For the research paper, thematic analysis has been taken. It analyzes for flexibility. The thematic analysis helps to make the assumptions and ensures the trustworthiness of the findings and interpretation. The thematic analysis helps to identify the relevancy of the papers and conducts appropriate approaches for the research.
The qualitative thematic approach is one of the broad ways to analyze the data effectively. It makes the approach more analytical and approachable regarding the contextual description (Vaismoradi and Snelgrove, 2019). Qualitative descriptive designs help to know about the philosophical backgrounds of the immersion of data. Thematic analysis assists the researcher more convenient way to do the research properly. It makes the research more relevant, flexible, and convenient.
3.4. Research Limitations While Applying Methods
The primary limitations that have been faced while conducting the research methods are it takes too much time to process the data. In qualitative research methods, all of the data cannot be verified quickly. It is one of the labor-intensive approaches. It makes the process of research more difficult. In comparison, they are doing the method some of the papers regarding UK business have not been appropriately found. The most significant limitations of qualitative research are that it takes a lot of time to analyze and interpret the data. The data collection process takes a lot more time (Queirós, Faria, and Almeida, 2017). Each of the qualitative method approaches is time-consuming, and sometimes perfect data cannot find easily. Researchers need to have in-depth insights to do the research properly.
Thematic analysis is flexible, which makes the analysis of the papers inconsistent. It makes the researcher more nervous because the entire analysis is based on the grounded theories of ethnicity. New researchers can feel uneasy while researching thematic analysis (Terry et al., 2017). Thematic analysis is interpreting the data in a summative way, not in a critical way. It engages the learning environment of qualitative research. The main criteria of thematic analysis are it makes the research process inconsistent. However, while doing the research properly, thematic analysis and qualitative methods have elevated the research strategy more effectively and efficiently.
3.5. Ethical Considerations
Ethical consideration is the major element of every research study that allows the researcher to understand the importance of consents, need of ethical relation within the chosen samples and others. For the particular research study, secondary research had been employed in developing findings regarding the stated research problems. The collected secondary data shall be evaluated of how ethically those had been assessed from the sources of data such articles and journals. This means the assessment of sources without any aspects of data theft or use of the same without the consent of owner of the research study published in the form of article or journals. Therefore, only those articles, journals and websites shall be used as sources of secondary information under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), 2018 that are available as free copies within various databases such as Google Scholar and others. GDPR regulates the actions that are undertaken in assessing the information that are available in secondary sources of data by protecting the use of personal data that are non-anonymous by nature (Onderzoektips.ugent.be, 2021). Credits in the form of reference shall be given in order to value the efforts and consider an ethical approach using the information taken from a study that was conducted by a researcher or author. This way the use of personal data that are subjected to regulation underpinned by GDPR shall not been found to be violated within the particular study.
- The research has maintained the broad areas of research methods. It has maintained ethnicity, confidentiality, and anonymity of the research methods.
- While conducting the research, the researcher has maintained the other research papers' anonymity (Arifin, 2018). The confidentiality of the papers has been preserved carefully and manages data analysis appropriately. The personal information of authors cannot disclose. Otherwise, it becomes an illegal aspect of the research.
- The process of obtaining the consent of the authors of the research papers has been done adequately. All the information that has been taken for the research is not misleading.
- The consent of the authors should take. Otherwise, the author can sue the file regarding it (Nusbaum et al., 2017). The credit should give to the author correctly. The researcher should maintain the obscene advertisement of papers.
- Before taking any research papers, the researcher should ask about the voluntary participation of the author. All the information regarding the research should not be misleading. Otherwise, it will affect the process of research. Researchers should not harm the author either financially or psychologically.
- The research method that has been applied to the current research is secondary qualitative thematic analysis. Here all of the information has been taken from the pre-existing research papers. That is why; the researcher should maintain the plagiarism means should not misinterpret someone else’s works in the research. The researcher should give proper credits to the author of the paper.
- The researcher should not commit academic fraud and should put limitation sections to identify more area problems. Misrepresenting the result can become an illegal offense for the research papers. Before conducting the research, the consent forms should sign before participation.
- Moreover, all of the criteria should consider before starting the research; otherwise, it will become an illegal aspect of the research approach. The researcher should maintain ethnicity, confidentiality, and other aspects of consideration to support the research methods.
4. Findings and Data Analysis
From the above discussion, the challenges and issues in the Virgin Atlantic have been identified. Women are facing many problems in the UK business. Only 17% of the women in the UK are working in the IT workforce. Virgin Atlantic has also been facing issues like underrepresentation and the gender wages gap in their workplace. Apart from that, some other issues like dressing code are also severe in the organization. Several policies have been implemented regarding the wearing of makeup at airlines and female employees' dress code. Women are earning 30% less than male employees. All these are critical issues in an organization like Virgin Atlantic.
The current research gives an overview of issues in the UK business. The research has been done through thematic analysis. It helps to identify the critical issues in the Virgin Atlantic, like gender inequality and discrimination. Discrimination in the workplace enhances the conflicts among the employees. It is found from the research description that the rate of gender inequality is high in the business of the UK. The airline company Virgin Atlantic discriminates between the male and female employees by giving 30% less wage to the females. The pay gap among the employees creates a negative impact on the organization's employment rates and hourly wage rates (Costa Dias, Joyce and Parodi, 2020). Sex discrimination is a challenging issue in the Virgin Atlantic. Gender discrimination has been started with dress codes and comes to an end with the salaries gap. Reports said that Virgin Atlantic's management said the women employees to wear more makeup, but then they are paying less than the male employees.
The issues of gender inequality and discrimination can be mitigated by implementing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Virgin Atlantic has already implemented an inclusive workforce in their organization. They provide necessary training to all the employees to increase workplace diversity in the organization. Through this, the issues can be mitigated in Virgin Atlantic.
4.2. Data Collection Method
The Data Collection method is fundamental while conducting research. It helps to identify the required data in the research. The current research has been done through thematic analysis. Some of the literature and scholarly papers have been taken to identify gender inequality and discrimination, pay role gap between the employees in the Virgin Atlantic. Apart from that, a qualitative data collection method has been implemented to conduct the research.
In this current research, thematic analysis helps the researchers flexibly interpret the data and approach massive data sets easily by identifying them into broad themes. Thematic analysis is described as a six-step process method (Scharp and Sanders, 2019). It becomes familiar with the information, generates the coding categories and themes. Then the themes are reviewed and defined as per the names of the themes. Finally, the themes are described with suitable examples.
In this current research, the data is collected through the qualitative and thematic analysis process. The current research has identified the critical issues in the organization, like gender discrimination and inequality. The gender inequality is evident in the Virgin Atlantic as the female employees are getting 30% fewer wages than the male employees. It creates an example of gender discrimination in the workplace. As per 2018-19, female employees' waging hourly gap is 58.8% lower than the male employees. Not only that, but the women employees have also faced a bonus pay gap in Virgin Atlantic. Their bonus pay is 73.6% lower than the male employees (Gov.UK, 2021). The female employees earned 56p for each £1 compared to the median bonus pay. The above-mentioned findings enumerates that female employees within the Virgin Atlantic might be associated with higher extent of dissatisfaction towards their assigned job roles and responsibilities. From the negative experiences, there are major chances that rate of female employees might be found to be resigning from their respective posts in the company. Therefore, the use of same aspects and existence of such employee treatment within the workplace shall lead to extreme biasness towards the male employee due to which talents from the other genders cannot find the aspects of being recognised for their respective productivity levels.
Additionally, Virgin Atlantic did not allow the women cabin crew not to wear any makeup. However, later, they had announced that they are relaxing some of the strict guidelines on the dressing code and makeup of the women. The women employees feel discrimination and inequalities in the workplace because of the organization's dressing and makeup guidelines. However, the management of Virgin Atlantic has also relaxed the female cabin crew employees' skirts policy. The female employees are now allowed to wear trousers and forgo makeup. Thus, these positive aspects seemed to have developed the relation and mindset of female employees, where they had been given the opportunity to freely wearing apparels that would be convenient in terms of comfort while carrying out different job roles within the workplace. This depicts that the management of the company is aware regarding the fact of what dress code could be appropriate for female workers and that extent of recognition might motivate them to continue working within the company and contributing explicitly towards their assigned job roles and responsibilities.
Furthermore, Virgin Atlantic has eliminated some of its employees in the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, female employees have also faced some challenges regarding their job in the organization. In this current research, inequality and discrimination have been proven with the help of literature papers. It shows that gender discrimination is a serious issue in most organizations. Women are experiencing a significant wage gap in the workplace. Eliminating employees and conducting job cutting procedures with the purpose of reducing operational costs when the outcome of the business is not as enough compared to the situations prior pandemic sessions might be appropriate for the company to sustain its business however, negative in case of the employee that are losing their jobs during the crisis. These incidents faced by the female employees might be more compared to that of male employees thus, depicting biasness and act of prejudice towards the males within the workplace. This might increase level of dissatisfaction among the female workers that are still working within the company in lower numbers and are always under the pressure of being terminated from the company, which is lesser for that of male workers.
The inequalities and discrimination in the workplace of Virgin Atlantic should be removed immediately. The organization believes in an inclusive workplace. Virgin employees should treat each other with equal respect and honesty. Here, diverse work culture is implemented to drive the organization towards its goal. However, Virgin Atlantic has started some diversity initiatives like WiAA, Springboard, and Family Friendly Policy to manage diversity and inclusion in the workplace. So, it can be said that Virgin Atlantic has reduced some of its inequality issues by increasing diversity in their organization. In the competitive market, issues like inequality and discrimination are serious issues and can diminish the organization's productivity and performance.
5. Conclusion and Recommendation
5.1. Evaluation of Research Questions
In the current research, the focus has been given to the ongoing issues in Virgin Atlantic. Research design has been developed in a way that reveals the factors of developing inequality in UK business. The presence of this inequality affects the sustainability of business growth.
Research Question 1:
The presence of gender inequality within the workplace develops the chances of conflicts and dissatisfaction. The primary source of developing this discrimination and inequality is the management system within the organization. Research data reveals that the rate of gender inequality is high in UK business. Due to this, work and responsibility distribution will improper in the organization. From this improper distribution, the pay scale will also be inappropriate. If the organization supports maintaining diversity culture, it can quickly mitigate the issues associated with inequality and discrimination (Scarborough, Lambouths III, and Holbrook, 2019).
Research question 2: Inequality in the UK business has been developed due to various reasons like income equality and gender discrimination. In some organizations, inequality has been developed due to inappropriate responsibility distribution, power distribution. In the current research, the focus has been given on findings on the primary reason for developing inequality within a business. If the managing team does not give focus on employee satisfaction, it will enhance the dissatisfaction rate.
Research question 3:
The main identified issues and challenges that the Virgin Atlantic organization has faced are inequality and discrimination. The source of raising these issues within an organization may be different, like management issues, stereotype mentality of the managing team, and the absence of diverse culture within the workplace. Analysis has been done to evaluate these issues in the organization to monitor their impact on future growth.
Research question 4:
The main identified issues within the Virgin Atlantic organization are inequality and discrimination. Analysis has been done to provide an adaptive measure for mitigating the issues in the Virgin Atlantic organization. Developing an effective management system can mitigate issues like inequality. Applying all the elements and reviewing their impact for issue elimination will indicate the organization's ultimate progression.
5.2. Highlighting the Key Findings
It is found in the study that there is a significant presence of inequality in terms of gender in the workplace. Its presence in the organizational culture could lead to conflict and dissatisfaction among employees of a particular gender. The study also found that the primary source of discrimination and inequality in the workplace is the organizations' management. One of the study's critical findings is that gender discrimination based on gender is present even in a developed country like the United Kingdom. It is also revealed in the study that there is discrimination in the payment structure of the employees that is based on gender. The review of academic journals on gender discrimination in the workplace has revealed that it can be mitigated by creating a diversified culture.
The study finds that inequality in income level and discrepancies among the workforce based on gender create an overall inequality level in the UK. Inappropriate distribution of power and tasks' responsibility is also among the main reasons for inequality in the UK. It is found in the analysis of the data that inequality in employment increases the level of dissatisfaction among the employees. The extent of gender inequality in the UK can be recognized from the findings that male employees acquire most high-level positions in the UK. The study showed that the reason for discrimination among the employees includes management, the conventional mentality of the managers and other staff, and a lack of diversity in nature. It can be said that the presence of these issues with the workforce can impact the working of the organization in the era of high competition. The organization needs to develop an environment that increases the efficiency of the employees. The study also highlights the recommendations that strict action must be taken against the employees involved in this unethical activity. Workplace diversity and inclusion can mitigate the issues of gender inequality in the Virgin Atlantic.
5.3. Future Recommendations
After analyzing Virgin Atlantic's critical issues, the recommendation has been given to mitigating its impact on the workplace. If the organization can implement the followings elements, the rising issues can mitigate appropriately. Insufficiency of the management system and improper power distribution is the main reason for developing the issues like inequality and discrimination.
Management System Development- To mitigate the organization's issues, an effective management system is essential. A management system is the pillar of the organization that holds the employees. For developing an appropriate working environment improving diverse cultures is mandatory. The presence of diversity culture will mitigate inequality in the workplace. Otherwise, the presence of inequality will decrease the productivity of the organization. It will increase conflicts in the workplace. An effective managing team can easily detect the organization's rising issues and remove them for future growth. The identified issues of UK organizations are inequality and discrimination that indicated the fault of the management system. If they change their focus towards their employee, it can bring the solution for the identified issues.
Evaluation of the Organizational Function- If the organization develops a proper evaluation process, it will play issues detection. If the organization develops the evaluation process for monitoring employee performances, it will enhance equal power distribution. Monitoring and analysis are essential factors of evaluation that indicate the organization's functional activity's weakness and strength. If the management system team develops equal distribution practices within the organization, it will enhance its productivity. Regular monitoring of the organizational function will help the organization to mitigate its rising issues quickly. After changing the ongoing business culture reviewing the change impact is essential. Organizational productivity will depend on the engagement of the organization's employees.
Equal Power Distribution-The main identified issue in Virgin Atlantic is inequality. If the managing systems develop power distribution practices according to the employee's ability, it will develop a diverse culture. After this implementation, the employees of the organization will become more engaging. Developing this engaging atmosphere will help the organization to mitigate the issues like inequality. If the organization's managing team develops equal power distribution among gender, it will improve the workplace culture. Even the organization can apply the process of performance evaluation for each member. It will clearly show the actual picture of racism within the workplace. According to the human rights act, every individual has the freedom to take part in any type of ethical work. If any organization does not maintain this standard, it will affect the reputation of the organization.
Recently, many companies all across the globe have started using the concept of employee stock ownerships (EOPs) where the companies are found to pay the employees equally from the company’s stocks. This can be the best suited strategy for eliminating the case of unequal payments and discriminatory payments structure among different genders within the workplace that have found to increase in current pandemic situations. This type of initiative when undertaken within a company shall allow the employees under contrasting age, gender, race, and others to remain loyal with the company since this might help them in maintaining liquidity from an employee’s perspective along with the elimination of inequalities and discrimination within the workplace.
It is obvious that there are certain gender-based roles within Virgin Atlantic and the aspects cannot be denied. However, this also can trigger the fact of being treated unequally compared to that of male workers within the workplace. Therefore, the company requires in lowering such job roles and responsibilities so that aspects of discrimination are eliminated from the roots of the business. Reducing gender based roles cannot be achieved overnight however, requires proper planning and effective contribution from the end of managers and leaders by setting examples within the premise. Thus, the management of the company requires starting training and developing females for the roles, that might had been found not appropriate for the female workers at initial stage. This is because completely of the fact of increased discrimination within workplaces, females find situations to be competitive by nature and motivate them to surpass completely the level of creditability that might have been shown by a male worker for specified job role.
Lastly, skills based training that are provided to the employees of the company are required to implemented in such a way that there is least emergence of sense regarding that they are being trained under any sort of gender bias. This can be attained by providing female with the position of leading a team or rather a complete goal for stated period. Female worker shall feel valued and such opportunities can create explicit mindset among them thus, they can be found working head on with the male employees in the organisation.
The business report indicated that this inequality ratio is high in the UK business that indicated apparent organizational structure change. Adaptation of the equal power distribution practice within the organization will improve the UK organization's working culture. If the organization brings change for the gender base power distribution, it will improve employee satisfaction. Other than these, the company should not discriminate among its male and female employees. The company should increase diversification, inclusion in the workplace to establish equality among the staff. The female employees are asked to wear less makeup in the cabin crew. It also creates cause of inequality in Virgin Atlantic. However, the company should implement some policies regarding diversity and inclusion to prevent the inequality. It has relaxed some rules regarding dressing code of the female employees to support the diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
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