In a restricted sense Diversity Management is often understood as a form of personnel management; after all, it involves the management of human capital. Diversity Management sees every employee (including every manager) as a creative resource for the organization and it assumes that diversity creates the optimal tension for synergy.
Cultural and personal differences could at first be understood as purely “private” (like religious beliefs and hobbies of the employees). On closer look, however, these are relevant for organizations and their maintenance; the socalled “private” cannot be separated from the person in reified fashion as if it has nothing to do with work, motivation and group creativity.
Diversity Management is the discipline for the networking organizations of the future. It goes without saying that under such unpredictable, volatile, complex, current and future economic and political conditions and processes, organizations must maintain optimum resilience and readiness to act. Rigid, centralized, highly integrated structures will not be very useful for organizations. In contrast, networks are fluid and flexible, better in a position to be reorganized. But networking also needs a stable core, that is, the people and their networking culture.
One essential purpose of Diversity Management consists in highlighting, forming, maintaining and sometimes consciously changing the identity of the members and their organization. People who endure and thrive on the openness of networking and respond adequately to the conflict in organizations need a solid personal identity. Because of this Diversity Management has to move beyond the functional positions of managers and staff and consider seriously the social roles people play in the organization and its environment.
Diversity, however, should not be understood as some multi-culti grocery store. Rather, it should be obvious by now that diversity can easily lead to serious conflicts and communicative and operational tensions, which take their high toll on an organization’s bottom line.
Consequently, as a crucial part of Diversity Management we find it necessary to practice again and again constructing a common "third culture" (an invented culture by the parties involved which recognizes the differences between them but nevertheless has a common basis). Business organizations, in particular, we feel must be more than a place to make money and reach material goals. They must be places where the personal needs of managers and staff are respected and at least to some extent satisfied.
In a nutshell, Diversity Management tries to transcend the dimension of human resources and take seriously an organization's place in society and the world.