Along with the globalisation of business, Diversity practitioners started to take their strategies to an International level around the year 2000. As the discussion of “Global Diversity” has recently become quite calm, we should ask what has happened to the promising approach…
- First of all, the need for truly global concepts –beyond baseline policies, worldwide communication and global reporting frameworks – seems to be much lower than originally expected. Even where business units are consistently organised globally, appropriate diversity approaches may not look exactly the same – but they might, don’t they?
- Second, and equally important, the continental divides are obviously deeper and significantly stronger than estimated. And even Diversity experts find them difficult to overcome so that they can really embrace the differences elsewhere rather than, at best, simply acknowledging their existence. Do we have to become more global within ourselves, in the first place?
- Then, the question of resources presents another challenge to developing and implementing truly global programmes. As an example, imagine an experiential management development course including one week of on-site learning in South Africa bringing together participants and teachers from around the world. We did this, but could we propose such an approach today to your management?
- Finally, content has also to be put in question! While a few basic models such as our Propelling Potential Principle are globally applicable, many key concepts like ‘respect’, ‘gender’, ‘inclusion’, or ‘age’ change their nature or meaning when they travel from East to Westor from North to South. So, do we have enough global beef to the add to the worldwide bone? There are, of course, even more aspects to consider when developing Global Diversity many of which I was able to discuss in a webinar on the topic a while ago at the ISDIP. But how much more can we do about Global Diversity at this point? What are the concrete worldwide questions you are asked to tackle in your organisation? I would love to take the discussion to the next level and welcome your input.