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Abstract

Which activities raise organizational awareness for intercultural diversity? This was the main question of the German project Economy by Diversity. The first aim of this article is to answer this question. Examples and empirical findings of the project work will help illustrate the approach chosen by the project team to bring cultural diversity in small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).

The article also discusses the usefulness of the often-criticized access–legitimacy paradigm based on the evaluation results. The project concentrates on a counseling procedure to transfer the topic of diversity into SMEs. It was evaluated using observation records and interviews with the executive board and employees. Early findings indicate that the organizational executives expect financial benefits from their concern with diversity. It is important for them to discover opportunities to link their concrete work to a topic such as diversity.

Another focus of the article is that primary access to an organization to work with the topic of diversity succeeds by concentrating on one certain diversity dimension. By including external perspectives concerning organization and market, the enterprise could be pushed to reflect its primary organizational focus. In addition, there is an organizational need for exchange and networking with individuals who have an immigrant history.