Inclusion, diversity and social change in today's workplace

The challenge

Three women working around a table

Direct-Path Consulting LTD is a social impact consultancy which strives to create innovative routes to bring in collective change. The company is looking to implement new training and coaching services for SMEs, particularly in the area of skills development in inclusive leadership and creating social change. 

This project will provide the company with primary and secondary research on the themes of diversity, inclusion and social value for 21st century leaders and provide evidence-based recommendations for the development of new training provision. 

The solution 

The Research Team will provide the company with a full report with analysis of best practices and options available as well as bespoke recommendations. The focus will be on three key areas: Content (what kind of knowledge could be taught), Format (what are the best technologies to deliver the training), Pedagogy (what methods/approaches to learning can be used to achieve learning outcomes):

  • Research on Content will include a review of relevant governmental policy documents, empirical research and case-studies;
  • Research on Format will follow a SWOT analysis to narrow down on the content delivery format most conducive to the goals of the client. The report will consider at least three viable format alternatives and consider what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats each present for the task at hand.
  • Research on Pedagogy will apply a multiple case-study methodology, tailored on the company's vision and goals.

Research team

  • Andreina Carrillo - PhD Researcher in Development Policy and Management (University of Manchester, School of Environment, Education and Development)
  • Ajinkya Deshmukh - PhD Researcher in Philosophy (University of Manchester, School of Social Sciences)
  • Erlend Hegstad - PhD Researcher in Business and Management (University of Manchester, Alliance Business School)
  • Nikolai Kazantsev - PhD Researcher in Business and Management (University of Manchester, Alliance Business School)


I want to express how much my project team outshone all my expectations. The quality of the product or final report is genuinely satisfying and will enable me to confidently go to market with a new online training module.

Ameena Ahmed / Company Owner, Direct Path Consulting Ltd.

Researchers have co-designed a robust training programme that draws on the latest research and best practice in Diversity and Inclusion Training.

Extensive research in three key areasLeadership, Pedagogy and E-Learning, spanned academic journal articles, industry best practices, business case studies, media reports and government documents, and was led by a member of the team with expertise in the area. 

Thfindings of this project will shape the design, content and marketing of Direct Path’s workplace training course. Furthermore, the recommendations in this report will provide a strong basis for a stand-alone training programme of much value to SMEs. 


This project was completed in 2019-20 as part of the Collaboration Labs programme, a PhD research consultancy programme created by REALab, with funding from the ESRC, the NWCDTP and the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University of Manchester.