It’s a paradox: We talk about transformation, agility and the digitalisation of companies nowadays, which must be driven forward rapidly and sustainably. Nevertheless, the structures in companies remain unchanged and the teams remain predominantly homogeneous. Why? Because they offer many advantages: They are well established over decades, efficient, fast. Everything works well in homogeneous organisations – as long as you are part of them and no changes become necessary. But they are necessary. Now. Every industry has to deal with the effects of digitalisation, with the topic of change and transformation and act accordingly. New business models are emerging, other workplaces are disappearing, and communication (with customers, employees, etc.) is also changing drastically.
What has been recognised and tackled in other countries for years is now also coming into focus in Germany. However, there can no longer be any talk of a desire for change. It is a question of massive pressure for change, which companies are experiencing today. Homogeneous organisations are advantageous in many ways, but one thing they are certainly not: conducive to change.
Is this a new opportunity for women?
That would be too easy and too short-sighted. Because individual women, for example on supervisory boards, do not bring about the necessary changes in the entire company. Even though the majority of companies hope for exactly this influence from more women in management positions. FKi surveys show that 73 percent expect a positive effect on culture by promoting women. Women’s careers thus appear to be closely linked to corporate culture.
This is exactly what the FKi proves with its results: The companies with HQ abroad perform disproportionately well in the index. At these companies, successful women’s careers are already firmly anchored in the corporate culture. Evaluations of company results by industry also provide information on the cultural context. Companies from the New Technologies sector achieve very good results in the Index, because digitalisation, change processes and innovation play a major role there. The MINT companies are already looking for qualified, female talent and are very committed to their approach to successfully advance women’s careers. Their goal of bringing more women into leadership is part of their corporate culture and is pursued strategically and consistently by management.
So if we want to change the economy, we have to change the culture in companies. Diversity is one way to make this change successful. A demonstrably effective way – according to FKi. 2018, 100 percent of the companies surveyed by FKi confirm the statement: Women support the faster change in corporate culture caused by digitalisation. Only one year earlier, in 2017, the figure was just 50 percent. So something is happening in people’s heads and in companies.
But the desire for innovation also brings uncertainty. Homogeneous teams offer protection, and it is precisely in these uncertain times that we rely on the familiar (cloning) instead of breaking patterns: Same role models, similar management types and unchanged structures are the result. The demands for flexibility associated with change are perceived as disruptive and too complex in homogeneous organisations. Information does not want to be shared, because for too long the way of thinking ” who has the knowledge, has the power” has dominated.
On the other hand, those who focus on women, on diversity, are addressing this cultural change. Women demand this flexibility, seek meaning, want openness and acceptance. Their needs correspond to the wishes of Generation Y; these demands are therefore gender-independent (FKi 2018). This means that self-determination, work-life balance and soft skills come to the fore. Status symbols and positions are reassessed and information must be available for everyone at all times. That is transparency. In this way, innovation is made possible and flexibility becomes a management tool. In this way, companies promote creativity, flowing structures, agile working, new work and diversity and thus have the best tools for success and future change processes.
With its analyses, the FKi shows this interaction very clearly: There is a direct connection between permeability for women and successful innovation and transformation processes in companies. And it shows the measures that actually change culture and not just scratch the surface.