Globalisation is probably one of the most important drivers of Diversity from a corporate (business) perspective. At the same time, it is a concept that is understood differently by different people, and provokes a variety of feelings accordingly. While managers see no alternative to reshaping organisations for global scope, critics are worried about the elimination of cultural specifics. Cowen's book deals with many aspects in between those extreme poles. He manages to acknowledge some of the criticism, but he adds a number of positive aspects from cultural, societal, and personal areas that have been all too often neglected in heated debates. The book is spot on relevant for Diversity practitioners, although not for practical purposes but as quintessential background information. Cowen describes how `cross-cultural exchange' has always changed local cultures (and economies), and that these changes usually took away something and added something else. He shows that this process often leads to more similarity on a macro level (e.g. countries becoming more alike if certain fast-food chains are available everywhere), but that the variety of choice, and often the welfare, increases locally. Several chapters provide detailed information on valuable, relevant examples of historic transformation processes in societies and cultures around the world. It is noteworthy that the author is an economist himself and that the book is a prime example for out-of-the-box thinking (or writing). Therefore, do not expect neither scientific discussions or references (although there is a couple of great sources mentioned!) nor expert tracts about culture. Cowen presents both an inside and outside perspective, (still) fresh ideas and numerous examples from around the globe that Diversity experts can't afford not to know.
(nl 17 ms)
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