Diversity and Innovation



Linda Steuer

Research associate


+49 (0) 241-80 90464



Development of a diversity and innovation management concept for large research associations

The potential of diversity in the development of innovations has already been discussed and investigated in many ways (Østergaard et al., 2011; Hewlett et al., 2013; Hoogendoorn et al., 2013; Mc Kinsey, 2015; Díaz-García et al., 2013). Approaches like Design Thinking which presuppose the existence of diverse teams (Erbeldinger & Ramge, 2013; Bergner & Rogler, 2013), emphasize the potential of heterogeneous teams. However, the implementation of appropriate management concepts is almost exclusively addressed in the private sector. Although diversity is a prevalent concept in the German science system, and the potential of a diverse workforce has been discussed more frequently, the potential of diversity in the scientific innovation process is hardly explored. On the basis of the specific organizational structure of research associations which is characterized by different subject-specific scientific cultures, it has to be assumed that processes as well as influencing factors are fundamentally different from private enterprises.

  Puzzles Copyright: Cluster of excellence

Therefore, the aim of the doctoral thesis is to investigate factors that influence diversity and innovation approaches by means of an exemplary research network in engineering sciences. In the framework of the thesis, measures that can be applied to comparatively complex organizational systems will be derived. Based on the change management approach, a concept is developed which is intended to enable a sustainable implementation of a corresponding concept in an environment of engineering science.

The research project is carried out within the framework of the Cluster of Excellence "Integrative Production Technology for High-Wage Countries". The funding is provided through the Excellence Initiative and the German Research Foundation.


  • Østergaard, C. A.; Timmermans, B., & Kristinsson, K. (2011). Does a different view create something new? The effect of employee diversity on innovation. Research Policy 40, 500-509.
  • Hoogendoorn, S., Oosterbeek, H., & Van Praag, M. (2013). The impact of gender diversity on the performance of business teams: Evidence from a field experiment. Management Science, 59(7), 1514-1528.
  • Hewlett, S. A., Marshall, M., & Sherbin, L. (2013). How Diversity Can Drive Innovation. Harvard Business Review, December Issue.
  • Díaz-García, C., González-Moreno, A., & Sáez-Martínez, F. J. (2013). Gender diversity within R&D teams: impact on radicalness of innovation. Innovation: Management, Policy & Practice, 15(2), 149-160.
  • Mc Kinsey (2015). Why diversity matters. Online available under: http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters, retrieved 01. March 2017.