Gender Diversity in Business Teams as a Marketing and Image Concept?

Statements like “during the past 30 years the use of teams has become a mainstay for the organization of work” (Hamilton, Nickerson & Owan 2003: 465) and “the organization of work in teams has become widespread” (Ivanova-Stenzel & Kübler 2011: 797) reflect the relevance of business teams in the places where everyday business happens, as well as their organization in respect of work. Not only team work is therefore part of the daily business, but also the collective making of decisions and the acting as a group instead of an individual.

At the same time, there is a clear trend towards “diversity”, which is shown by the establishment of administrative departement for diversity management as well as by the increasing diversity literature in the economic and social sciences. On the other hand, diversity is also seen as a important factor for growth and success in a global economy- and knowledge-oriented society (Meuser 2013: 167), or as Lederle points out in her book on the “Ökonomisierung des Anderen”, “(wird) der Differenz das Bedrohliche, als das sie nicht selten wahrgenommen wird”, “(durch) die Bedeutung einer wertschätzenden Vielfalt, die den Fremden zu einem nützlichen Anderen macht (entnommen)” (Meuser 2013: 167, Lederle 2008: 264).

But what is the original goal of diversity management?

According to Lederle (2008: 14), it`s about the conscious institutional change of an organization, because the concept is based on requirements which will change the formal and divided rules, processes, norms and symbolic systems in favor of everyone.
In this context, especially gender diversity is a concept which is representative for the 21st century, at least in Europe. Gender diversity is on everyone’s lips and as a business objective, above all in international, innovative and modern organizations, widespread. The topic is also frequently discussed in social networks as well as in seminars of gender studies at various universities. The debate on the introduction of women’s quotas, especially in leadership positions, reflects the importance of gender diversity in science as well as in the labor market.

Therefore it seems to me, that it is a good thing to take gender diversity at least in the corporate mission as the study by Funder et al. (2006) shows us. Funder et al. (2006) appear with the topic of “Geschlechteregalität – mehr Schein als Sein” and, on the basis of the investigation of modern information and telecommunications industries, that the establishment of gender diversity in corporate models alone does not signify structural change.

For this reason, the following question is to be clarified by means of small examples:
In what way is “gender diversity” used as a marketing and image concept rather than as a solution for structural change?


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