Unity in Diversity in Organizations & Society

A new article co-authored with colleagues Michael Smets and AMJ coverTim Morris has been published at the Academy of Management Journal. It is entitled ‘God at Work’: Engaging central and incompatible institutional logics through elastic hybridity and examines how the first Islamic Bank in Germany maintains unity in diversity by forming what we call an elastic hybrid that remains resilient despite contradictory beliefs and values that persist over time. We show how the bank is capable of institutionally bending without organizationally breaking enabling individuals to practice more of their personal convictions at work while still experiencing a sense of shared organizational purpose.

Implications for politics

Implications for politics can be read in-between the lines: Populist advocate for homogeneity as it reduces complexity. It puts us into boxes and separates us. Populists stand for this approach. Effectively, they compartmentalize societies. In contrast, heterogeneity is much more challenging, but also more rewarding. Heterogeneity is not just blending: we do not become all the same, but we cope with this diversity – with unity in diversity. Our societies become elastic, accommodating, and enriched by plurality. I believe, this is one of the fundamental social and societal challenges of our time: do we embrace the complexity of humankind or do we attempt to reduce it?