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Theoretical Foundations

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Diversity Management involves a rethinking of how social and organizational processes are viewed and controlled. Its theoretical foundations consist of the concrete applacation of the principles of evolution of new social forms through creative variation and selection, forms that are in constant change. In economics this view is slowly becoming mainstream.

diverse people

In anticipation of misunderstandings a few clarifications are necessary here. Evolution here is not the same as the classical social Darwinism which was a rather crude attempt at transferring the ideas of Darwin and Spencer in the 19th Century from the biological to the social and economic realms. The diversity of individuals, particular groups processes and forms of organization supply a total range of choices or selection. The criteria for the selection are not simply individual characters and biologies as in social Darwinism. The variety and selection processes are extremely complex and can be found on different levels of competence and organization.

Change and selection are closely connected with learning which is not simply related to individual characters but rather with the learning abilities and habits of groups, organizations and social, political movements. New problems require new solutions which are already embedded in the nature of a particular diversity constellation in a particular context. The solutions just have to be sought for and discovered in a creative process.

One central assumption of evolutionary economics, as described above, is the focus on ideas created by human individuals, not so much as in classical economics which viewed the individual as some sort of indivisible part which made up the whole, as economic man (and it really was man, not woman) who instinctively sought to optimize wealth. We at IDM see human beings as creative individuals who discover and invent new forms of action and and who learn or acquire the skills to manage increasingly difficult situations, in this case, involving diversity, followed by clearly positive results.

More on evolutionary economics can be found on the website: www.evolutionaryeconomics.net

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