With UK just mentioning the mere possibility of leaving the EU, the world was reminded of the ever existing gap between the ‘rest of the Empire’ and the ‘most of Europe’. Diversity is just one of the many areas where fundamental cultural differences between the Anglo-Saxon world and other worlds have been existing. And although these have been apparent and acknowledged to some degrees, the different assumptions and cultural backdrops have always played out in distinct approaches that can be found on both sides of the British Channel and both side of the Atlantic as well. While we are inclined to say that this has to be so, connections, coherence and consistency internationally has become much more important as business models and organisations are going global. This globalisation and international mobility have kept suggesting that the world is becoming smaller and that the universal business culture has created consistent behavioural codes. A reality check quickly reveals a different picture. The Anglo-Saxon world has been way more successful in exporting their models (and people) ‘overseas’ (as they say) than the other way round. And the talking-listening-shares continue to be unequally distributed. 100% Anglo-Saxon teams in so-called European projects or the dominance of Anglo-Saxon CDOs in continental European multinationals are but two examples for discrepancies. More concretely, in quite a few orga
nisations a disconnect of ‘global’ D&I concepts and local realities prevails, and it creates disruption, demotivation and even can be a show-stopper. Obama’s call for a North-Atlantic single market, which is for sure a slap in Cameron’s separatist face, can be seen as a positive move for more integration of the different business worlds. Yet both sides would have to make sure that this happens on a par with each other and that mutual learning and development is fostered. This will require the Europeans to finally go beyond harmonisation to aim at real commonalities and unity, also in economic terms. And the Anglo-Saxon side would have to be prepared to do things differently. Not sure which of the two will be more difficult…We as Diversity practitioners can contribute with inclusive approaches and integrative models that are still a bit rare, even in our sphere. Let’s start by saying that we are very grateful for the Diversity concept to have been created in the US and since then developed further in many countries around the
world. Our EMEA share is provided through our research, communication and consulting projects,
and this is one of the elements supporting you.