Global-mindedness and treating others with respect have always been central values of Munich Business School. Until now, these values have primarily served to address and communicate with our target audience: our students. However, by signing the German Diversity Charter (Charta der Vielfalt) , Munich Business School has now given a clear sign of its commitment to diversity and tolerance in the world of work. The German Diversity Charter is an initiative to promote diversity in businesses and institutions, spearheaded by its patron, Chancellor Angela Merkel. By signing the charter, the private business school has affirmed its appreciation for all its employees, regardless of their sex, gender identity, nationality, ethnic background, religion or belief system, physical or cognitive abilities, social background, age, sexual orientation or identity.
Commitment to an Appreciative Work Environment Free From Prejudice
“Diversity has a very high priority at Munich Business School. On our campus, people of different nationalities, religions, genders, ages and different individual backgrounds and prerequisites study, teach, research and work together. We regard this exchange as a great asset and an important key to new experiences, perspectives and insights. By signing the Diversity Charter, we are making this visible and at the same time committing ourselves to taking the important issue of an appreciative and prejudice-free workplace seriously. For us, the signing is an incentive to grow beyond ourselves by continuing to champion the various diversity dimensions even more than before”, explain Dr. Christine Menges and Prof. Stefan Baldi, Chancellor and Dean of Munich Business School.
Christoph Schlottmann, Equal Opportunities Officer at MBS, believes that signing the charter is an important step in the right direction: “”As Equal Opportunities Officer, I was actively involved in signing the Diversity Charter. I feel valued at my workplace just the way I am, and I would like to convey this feeling to others who may already have been discriminated against because of their appearance, origin, gender identity or sexual orientation. The fact that the Diversity Charter is an instrument for making the commitment to diversity in the workplace visible and that Munich Business School is now a signatory is great and makes me proud!”
Diversity is not a new concept at the university. Take, for example, Munich Business School’s years of support for the JOBLINGE project, which helps disadvantaged young people to access the jobs market. In recent years, and following the university’s decision to sign the German Diversity Charter, such initiatives have gathered pace and gained visibility. MBS organizes charity events to mark World AIDS Day and support refugee camps, takes part in global days of action like German Diversity Day and IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Bi-, Inter- & Transphobia), and gives everyone in its university community a platform to celebrate their identity and heritage, such as by celebrating international festivals like Diwali. In addition, the university recently drew up a guide to gender-neutral and gender-inclusive language. In German, Munich Business School has adopted the gender star (Gendersternchen) as a uniform symbol of gender-inclusive language. University staff are now working to update all internal and external communication materials to reflect this. In 2021, MBS apprentices took part in the Diversity Challenge for the first time, developing a project to increase diversity in the workplace. Plans for the future include creating gender-neutral and accessible toilet facilities.
Diversity Management as a Cross-Cutting Issue
“Today, it is more important than ever that we commit to diversity and implement it in practice. [Diversity] offers significant untapped potential; after all, our society is now more diverse and varied than ever before. Unlocking this potential means committing to treat others with appreciation and respect – contrary to certain voices from the political world and in wider society,” says Stefan Kiefer, Managing Director of Charta der Vielfalt e.V. “This also applies in the working world. By signing the German Diversity Charter, organizations explicitly state that they promote diversity in the world of work and thus pave the way for innovative solutions and more productive approaches.”
Diversity management is a cross-cutting issue. The underlying idea is that an organizational culture that accepts diversity as self-evident helps all employees to realize their full potential. It also promotes the diversity of ideas and products for which the organization stands. More and more companies and institutions are coming to see the potential benefits. Around 3,800 corporations, businesses, public institutions, associations, foundations and federations have now signed the German Diversity Charter. Around 14 million employees benefit from their commitment.