Against the background of ECER 2018 general theme „Inclusion and Exclusion“, the sessions of EERA network 32 „Organizational Education“ will focus the relations between organization(s) and diversity. For organizations, diversity may be trouble and resource, risk and chance. Even if from an educational perspective we are primarily interested in the learning and development of organizations (of any kind) regarding diversity, we are open for submissions which focus other aspects of the relation between organization(s) and diversity. So the below specified topics „Diversity Management“, „Intercultural Opening“, and „Organizations as Agents of Inclusion and Exclusion“ may serve not as a topical limitation but as an orientation.


Given the omnipresence of organizations (lifelong from day nurseries to schools, universities, and adult education institutes; lifewide from educational organizations to companies, hospitals, agencies) in today societies, the handling of diversity has to be researched and discussed not only at the macrolevel of the society or at the microlevel of prejudices and interactions, but also at the mesolevel of organizations.

As network 32 Organizational Education focuses organizations of any kind from an educational perspective (which includes to look at organizational learning but also to look at the organization’s demands, barriers, and conducive aspects for its development and change), we are interested in inclusion and exclusion (ECER 2018 general theme) at the mesolevel of organizations.

Thereby, diversity – or better to say: the organizations‘ handling of diversity – is crucial. On one hand, diversity troubles organizations. Since (in particular bureaucratic and taylorist) organizations strive for standardization, diversity is seen as deviation from the standard and therewith as a problem. Given that, the organization’s handling of diversity may be institutional discrimination. On the other hand, diversity implies learning resources for an organization, the more so as learning as dialogic relation needs an other, i.e. it needs difference and diversity.

Interested colleagues are cordially invited to submit proposals on issues of the relation between organization(s) and diversity. The following topics may be used to orientate submissions: 

  • Diversity Management
    The concept of diversity management bases on the plea to see diversity not as a burden but as a resource of an organization. The international discourse on diversity management mostly refers to Gardenswartz and Rowe’s definition which names four levels of diversity: personality, internal (gender, ethnicity, physical ability et al), external (educational background, geographic location et al), and organizational (management status, functional level et al) dimensions. Diversity management aims to use diversity as resource. It is constructed as a governance maxim. This suggests to recognize only what is controllable within this frame which leads to a split perspective on diversity: only that other which a priori is defined as a resource may count on an open and conducive organization.

  • Intercultural Opening (developing multicultural organizations)
    The concept of diversity management is linked to the concept of intercultural opening. While diversity management may stick to organizational governance of diversity without necessarily changing the organization’s structures and procedures, the concept of intercultural opening targets a development of the organization towards its identity and practice as a diverse organization. In spite of the existence of stage models, the clearing of indicators for intercultural opening still is at its beginning. It seems as if educational and social organizations have more difficulties to open themselves towards multiculturality than companies. This might be reasoned by the fact that educational and social organizations are processing more individual-related than task-related whereby diversity gets more relevance.

  • Organizations as Agents of Inclusion and Exclusion
    Organizations may be seen as agents of the societal processes of inclusion and exclusion. As social entities they are both followers and drivers of societal inclusion/exclusion. While diversity management focuses the relation between organization and individual and while intercultural opening focuses the intraorganizational development, research on organizations as agents of inclusion/exclusion looks at the relation between organization and society.

Network 32 “Organizational Education” encourages researchers from all over the fields of educational sciences and organization sciences to submit proposals for presentations, symposia, workshops, pecha kuchas, round tables, video presentations or posters that deal with the above-mentioned topics. 

Contact person(s)

Prof. Dr. Michael Göhlich, NW 32 Link Convenor (michael.goehlich@fau.de)

Bente Elkjaer, Petr Novotny, Line Revsbaek, Andreas Schröer, Susanne Weber, Byung Jun Yi, Gunnar Augustsson, Maria Grazia Riva

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  • Educational Research on Organizations
  • Organizational Learning
  • Educational Management
  • Knowledge Management
  • Organizational Culture
  • Learning Culture