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Diversity- and Innovation Management in Complex Engineering Organizations

Linda Steuer-Dankert and Carmen Leicht-Scholten

A chapter in 7th International OFEL Conference on Governance, Management and Entrepreneurship: Embracing Diversity in Organisations. April 5th - 6th, 2019, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 2019, pp 136-157 from Governance Research and Development Centre (CIRU), Zagreb

Abstract: Diversity is increasingly being addressed as an innovation-promoting factor. For this reason, companies and institutions tackle the integration of a diversity management approach that enables a heterogenic perspective on innovation development. However, system-theoretical frameworks state that the implementation of diversity measures that are not tailored to the needs of the organization often leads to a rejection or reactivity with regard to the management approach. In this context, especially organizations, which are characterized by a specific hierarchical structure, a dominant habitus or specialist culture, must face the challenge of realizing a sustainable change of the corporate culture that sets the basis for implementing diversity management approaches. The presented research project focuses on analyzing the situation in a huge scientific collaborative project - so called Cluster of Excellence (CoE) - with the aim to implement a diversity - and innovation management strategy. Considering the influencing determinants, the CoE is characterized by its embeddedness in the scientific system, a complex organizational structure, and a high fluctuation rate. The paper presents a systemic approach of reflecting these factors in order to develop a diversity- and innovation management strategy. In this frame, the results of a quantitative survey of CoE employees and derived mindset-types are presented. The results show a need for taking different mindset-types into account, to be able to develop a tailored management strategy. The aim of the project is to give recommendations for developing a sustainable management concept that promotes both diversity and innovation by drawing on the persisting mindsets of organization members while reflecting top down as well as bottom up factors of implementation processes as well as the psychology of change. This paper addresses all who are concerned with the management of human resources in innovation processes and are striving for a cultural change within the framework of complex organizations.

Keywords: Change Management; Corporate Culture; Diversity Management; Engineering; Innovation Management (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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