One of the most remarkable aspects of global economic integration is the rapidly growing interaction among people and communities around the world. In some ways, this interconnectedness has brought us closer together and diminished our differences. But it has also heightened awareness of our differences, and in some cases created opportunities for political conflict in which cultural differences are used to divide and polarize populations. As a key player in global economic integration, business has an important stake in facilitating cooperative relations among peoples. Growing tensions and polarization along cultural, religious and ethnic lines undermine stable, sustainable business environments, and can be targeted directly at companies. At the same time, successfully managing diversity – among employees, customers and other stakeholders – is increasingly recognized as an imperative for business success.
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