Working with diversity: a focus on global organizations



  • This paper provides an applied knowledge base of concepts, strategies, and methods for working with diversity in organizations, particularly those operating in a global context. It synthesizes a wide range of research and experience from different disciplines, countries, and organizational settings and is designed to challenge and stimulate new ways of thinking about diversity and its meaning for organizations. We envision working with diversity as integrating the varied knowledge, perspectives, and values that people of diverse backgrounds bring into all aspects of an organization’s work, structure, and systems. The paper aims to assist leaders, managers, staff, and change agents to craft a strategy and approach to working with diversity appropriate to their organization’s specific needs and aspirations. It summarizes strategic forces motivating organizations to work more intentionally with diversity; defines three distinct approaches to working with diversity—the social differences lens, the cultural differences lens, and the cognitive-functional lens—and reviews two major diversity change strategies—the organizational development approach and the action research and collaborative inquiry approach. Strengths and weaknesses of the various strategies and approaches are analyzed.
  • Authors

  • Merrill-Sands, Deborah
  • Merrill-Sands, Deborah
  • Holvino, Evangelina
  • Cumming, James
  • Publication Date

  • 2000
  • Keywords

  • Diversity, Gender, Women's Leadership