A Research Companion
Edited by Jawad Syed and Mustafa F. Özbilgin
Chapter 18: Ethical and Cultural Aspects of Diversity and Unicity in the Arab Middle East: Managing Diverse Knowledge in a Culturally Unicist Environment
David Weir* Cultural background to diversity management philosophies in Europe and the UK There is a common philosophical thread to most discussions of equality and diversity in Western European countries that relates also to notions of equality and legal status enshrined explicitly in both the American and French constitutions. Thus ‘equality’ under the law normally includes notions of fairness backed by legislation to ensure as far as possible systems and processes in which all citizens can participate to ensure that as individuals their rights under law are protected, and in which relevant opportunities to develop their individual capabilities are maximised. These notions of equality may be expressed either in absolute or processual terms but are in some interpretations taken almost as emblematic of the postEnlightenment ‘modern’ condition (Berlin, 1964, 1988). These notions of diversity stem from a perception that individual capabilities spring from differing cultural roots. Consequently in the corporate environment it may be seen as organisationally advantageous for institutions to encourage complexity as a system value to ensure that opportunities to learn for the organisation and its members are not diminished by the hegemony of one pattern of thought. These understandings have in the European context been supported by a political discourse that sees the member states of the European Union as implicated in specific histories and that explicitly recalls the potential for conflict that has occurred historically when one state or one belief pattern has sought to impose hegemonic cultural domination, be it under Napoleonic, Hitlerian or Stalinist...
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