Within management and business studies, the attention for questions that pertain to the composition and qualities of the workforce has grown. Managing diversity and inclusion is a hot topic for many organisations that are confronted with a workforce that is becoming increasingly heterogeneous due to factors such as globalization, migration, emancipation, ageing and international cooperation. Coping with the differences between women, men and non-binary people, older and younger colleagues, LGBTQI colleagues, and people from different religious and cultural backgrounds and class and educational backgrounds is an issue for all employees and managers in modern organisations. To attract and retain a diverse workforce and to create an inclusive organization are key challenges facing modern (human recources) managers and leaders.
This course reflects the fact that much diversity research today is inspired by theoretical and empirical studies on gender in organisations. Diversity has become the broad term for many differences between people at work, but is mainly used for the social categories of gender, race/ethnicity, class, disability, sexual orientation, age and religion. Traditionally, studies on gender and race dealt primarily with the social production of inequality in organisations and organisations faced a moral obligation to increase justice and actively counter discrimination. At the present time, both business motives and moral justifications are important reasons for organisations to manage to diversity and inclusion. The business case for diversity emphasises the fact that organisations that properly manage diversity can have a competitive advantage, become more creative and innovative and improve their performance. In this course, we will examine the effects of diversity on the economic and social performance of modern organisations, seeing the attention for gender, diversity and inclusion as an important way for organizations to shape their social responsibility.
To pay attention to gender and diversity in organisations also means paying attention to identity, since identity is a central underlying concept in this field. How do various identity categories of people intersect and how do they impact the patterns of collaboration and communication at work? Are organisations becoming more and more fragmented because of this diversity? What are the implications for leadership? What does inclusive leadership and leadership for equality, diversity and inclusion entail?
Identity is not only a central concept when studying individuals and groups. The theme of organisational identity is also relevant in this context. Some organisations are better equipped to deal with issues of gender, diversity and inclusion than others. To be able to function effectively, organisations have to strive for a common and specific identity to have a recognisable profile, both internally and in their environment (labour market and clients). To rely on core competencies is no longer sufficient. To identify the norms and values underlying the organisation's identity becomes more and more important. What constitutes an organisational identity? Can an organisational identity be constructed, let alone managed, and if so, how does that identity relate to the diverse identities represented in the workforce?
This course aims to expand students' insights into the meaning of gender, diversity and inclusion for organisations and employees and to help them arrive at a better understanding of the effects of gender and diversity on daily work practices.