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Innovation and Diversity : Integrating new perspectives into research associations

  • The link between diversity and innovation is broadly discussed in the context of research and innovation processes. Many institutions and enterprises, specifically in commerce, have already tried to establish sustainable diversity management concepts, in order to increase the diversity of their workforce in addition to establishing a corporate culture of openness. Alongside the creation of a working place where different experiences and skills are valued equally, the entrepreneurial intention is to transfer diversity into economically relevant advantages. Taking into account the potential of diversity in research and innovation processes, the project “Diversity- and Innovation Management” was incorporated within a large interdisciplinary research Cluster. The project’s purpose was to study the context between diversity and innovation in research associations and to later develop a customised management concept into an interdisciplinary research Cluster on integrative production technology with full integration. The challenge of such research associations lays in an organisational structure which is often described as being decentralised. Researchers coming from different academic disciplines, while having diverse habits, conduct research on large scientific issues and challenges. In addition, these researchers are socialised in different institutions and university chairs. Theses differences in leadership styles, business cultures and organisational strategies, follow into their research team work. Taking a closer look into the management of human resources suggests that decentral organised recruitment processes, as well as allocation of human resources, lead to a lacking overview in regard to missing competencies, perspectives and backgrounds in research networks. These circumstances are comparable to big corporate groups. While developing a management concept for research associations, these characteristics must be considered. To ensure this, the project follows a human-centred approach, which considers top-down, as well as bottom-up perspectives. This paper presents the applied mixed-method approach in the scientific issue described above. In the frame of the Cluster of Excellence “Integrative Production Technology for High-Wage Countries” research results based on quantitative, as well as qualitative studies, were presented as an application example. This paper provides a new perspective on the innovation and diversity context. Against the background of complex research organisations, the development approach of a management concept is particularly interesting.

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Author:Linda Steuer-DankertORCiD, Carmen Leicht-Scholten
Parent Title (English):12th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ECIE 2017) : Paris, France, 21-22 September 2017
Document Type:Conference Proceeding
Year of Completion:2017
Date of the Publication (Server):2022/09/20
Tag:Diversity; Diversity Management; Innovation; Innovation Management; Leadership
First Page:767
Last Page:776
Institutes:FH Aachen / Fachbereich Energietechnik