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The link between diversity and organisational resilience

In this ever-changing modern business environment, organisations need to build up their capacity to cope with unexpected events. The key to effectively handling turbulence may rest on your level of organisational diversity.

Latest research reasons that diversity can lead to the development and improvement of specific capabilities that contribute to organisational resilience. That is – anticipation, or the preventative aspects of resilience; coping, or the implementation of solutions and reactions to change; and adaptation, or the development of new capabilities following unexpected events.

In addition, the Australian Government named respect as one of the key factors in improving organisational resilience. One of the most powerful ways to demonstrate respect in the workplace is inclusion – meaning background, beliefs, age or gender are not seen as a reason for exclusion.

So, how can diversity strengthen an organisation’s resilience? Here are three ways:


Diversity assists in observing, identifying and preparing for major change

Our differences, when harnessed collectively, can greatly enrich our capability to detect and prepare for changes. Having a group with diverse experiences in work and life results in an increased ability to perceive changes in the environment and to identify necessary adjustments. Further, the greater the variety of ideas explored, the better prepared an organisation will be for the consequences of change and the less likely they are to be caught off guard.


Diversity improves an organisation’s problem solving

As change and turbulence are complex these cannot usually be solved with existing approaches. Creating solutions demands broad knowledge, the interaction of different people, and creativity in coming up with a way to tackle the challenges. Again, the more diverse the ideas are, the better equipped an organisation will be at arriving at the right solution.


Diversity enriches team learning

Having diverse perspectives when reflecting upon the aftermath of change pushes organisations away from simple conclusions. It encourages deeper discussions about what actions to take and challenges any common thinking that may exist. Thus, a heterogeneous knowledge base can reduce the tendency to simply skim the surface. Rather, it promotes using logic instead of blame when analysing why things went wrong.

Source: Duchek, S., Raetze, S. & Scheuch, I. Business Research (2019).


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