Standardised Global Diversity, U. S. Diversity or Differentiated European Diversity?

Increasing political tension in many world regions – and within Europe – seems to strengthen and to bring the EU closer together. At the same time, limitations of a compliance-driven D&I approach and a widening gap between Europe and the U.S. also encourages a stronger European profile in D&I. But how much can be achieved when global standardisation calls for a one size fits all approach?

Revisiting D&I on both sides of the Atlantic

Europe, and more specifically the European Union, is undergoing a period of intense reflection and discussion – to say the least. European identity and the purpose of a political union, as cornerstones for the EU, are revisited in the light of Nationalistic or protectionist tendencies in some countries, in Europe and beyond. The U.S., which used to be a role model for the free world, is sending mixed messages and there are strong doubts whether it can be considered a leader in D&I. This question was already hidden behind the vast global initiatives emerging from the U.S., some of which implied the notion that other world regions were lagging behind. However, even US experts admit that their approach hits certain boundaries that don’t exist, e.g., in Europe. The International D&I pioneers of European Diversity Research & Consulting have been specialised – since 1997 – in the relations of as well as the collaboration and differences between EMEA and the Northern America. They have recently produced an in-depth analysis of D&I dynamics in Europe and the US (against the backdrop of legislation that was introduced in European countries over the past five years) and published a summary of selected aspects in the Global Diversity Primer, a publication of Diversity Best Practices, a business unit of US-based Working Mothers.

Baseline analysis including legal cornerstones

The essay discusses the implications of the European integration process – which is based on the idea of harmonisation rather than standardisation – and how it encourages both, a consistent EU-level framework as well as necessary localisation. Overall, the experts state that the need for tailoring is larger than the outside view (e.g. from the U.S.) suggests but also less than what local experts will often demand.

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