Business Case for Diversity

Contract ref: VT/2007/035

In December 2007 the European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs & Equal Opportunities, launched a new one-year project to promote the Business Case for Diversity. The overall aim of the project is to place diversity management firmly on the strategic business agenda and activities of European companies of all sizes. Its main objectives are to further encourage exchange of good practices and promote the development of diversity policies and activities by businesses, employers and business schools. A compendium report that illustrates the Business Case for Diversity will be published and launched at a major European Conference on Workplace Diversity at the end of 2008.

Workplace diversity within companies is associated with policies and practices designed to recruit, retain, and develop employees from diverse social groups and backgrounds, and opening up new and emerging markets that also exploits diverse opportunities. It has a direct impact on how enterprises operate – attracting the best talents; managing human resources, market sales, business reputation and performance; generating innovation, creativity and efficiency, etc. as well as creating a better place to work, for employees to balance work/life issues. An increasing number of European companies are adopting diversity, inclusion, and equality strategies, not only for ethical and legal reasons but also for the business benefits they are expected to deliver.

EFMD is associated to the project in the part concerning diversity management in business schools, which is Task 5 of the project. The implementation of this task is led by EABIS, one of the consortium partners.

Consortium Partners

  • Focus Consultancy Ltd (leader) – specialised in social inclusion, diversity & anti-discrimination, and organisational change in Europe
  • European Academy of Business in Society (EABIS) – committed to understanding and integrating corporate responsibility into business theory and practice
  • Instituto Europa para la Gestion de la Diversidad (EIMD) – focused on diversity management and adaptation to local cultures
  • EIM Business & Policy Research – implementing studies on business and the link with policy, including SMEs

Support Partners

  • European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) – networking and research on innovation, best practice and quality in management development
  • European Business Test Panel – DG MARKT
  • CSR Europe – European business network for corporate social responsibility
  • Austrian Institute for SME Research – social and economic research on small and medium-sized enterprises
  • UEAPME – European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Project tasks

  • Task 1 Business case for diversity in SMEs
  • Task 2 European Business Test Panel survey
  • Task 3 Diversity Charters
  • Task 4 Diversity and Innovation
  • Task 5  Business Schools
  • Task 6  Final publication
  • Task 7 European Conference “Business Case for Diversity”
Task 5 – Business Schools is lead by EABIS with the support of EFMD. The objective is to reach out to the business schools, universities, business leaders, and the managers of tomorrow by promoting the integration of high-quality diversity management development and training in the curricula of business schools across Europe. This will be done through:
  • (A) State-of-the-art research among business schools in the field of diversity management curriculum development;
  • (B) Symposium for business leaders and business schools on opportunities to discuss ways of enhancing cooperation between the academic and the business world on diversity management to be held on 23 June and hosted by ESADE Business School, Madrid Campus, Spain;
  • (C) Report with recommendations on the benefit of a “diversity network of business schools and companies” and mechanisms to make it work.