Management is being challenged by increasing diversity in ever more diverse and broader environments (both internally and externally, on all sides of multiple interfaces). Diversity is considered here the motor for group creativity and innovation; however, it can also lead to separation and conflict.
This intrinsic tension is found in organizations, for example, in the relationship between corporations and their markets as well as in the political and social contexts in which they develop their strategies. The same goes for other kinds of organizations except that their goals may be different. In today's globalizing world NGOs, educa-tional institutions, public and multilateral administrations, all kinds of organizations have to be competitive and efficient, take initiative and - as has become especially obvious in the recent tidal wave tragedy in South Asia - learn to cooperate and coordinate their work with many widely diverse organizations.
As a result, in any organization, no matter what their goals, acceptance and recognition of diversity is not enough; rather, through diversity an organization has to consciously create a coherent identity for all stakeholders.
The International Society for Diversity Management (IDM) aim to make their contribution to the development of ideas, methods, research, applications and training which are relevant to diversity and its management in organizations and their interfaces to their environments. For a beginning, as a certified, publicly active association, IDM are offering curriculum de-sign, course modules, training workshops as well as sponsoring, co-sponsoring, facilitating, planning or co-planning of congresses/conferences focusing on numerous aspects of diversity and its management.
IDM recognize the basic values of the Enlightenment tradition (tolerance and individual human rights, etc.) and at the same time IDM focus on social responsibility; both are to be in balance. Ethical behavior arises out of the experience of balancing these two poles and thereby striving to transcend and understand other cultures and diverse groups, personalities and individual biographies.
Out of the interplay of this mosaic of temperaments we expect more innovation and creativity in problem solving which leads further to more innovation, creativity and synergy in leadership, planning, strategic thinking and implementation toward results. Societies and cultures in the 21st Century will only be able to meet these challenges when they tap into these diverse sources as peacefully as possible.
This injunction has special, relevant political and economic implications. Each and every difference in values and opinions could spark unhealthy, unproductive conflict. We at IDM are strongly committed to redefining diversity as a creative driving force in a balance between management theory and practice. Div-ersity easily makes people nervous and irritated. They often subconsciously or consciously avoid it and act as if it were not there. Our common task is to transform these mostly dysfunctional forms of thinking and action into creative, effective, organizational adaptation and synergy.