Case Study Report FH Joanneum
Institute of International Management (IIB)

Development of case study


In this case study the results of a desk-research and interviews are presented. In the desk-research information about FH JOANNEUM (FHJ), the website and printed publications such as “Hands on 2022” (Strategies for action) and the Annual Report 2017/2018 served as sources. For information regarding the Institute of International Management (IIB), the institute’s website and the folder of the Department of Management were used.

For the interviews four employees of IIB were interviewed: one manager, two lecturers and one administrative staff. To consider viewpoints from different perspectives and include diversity of experiences also on different levels, it was important to involve staff from different areas and functions. The persons interviewed at IIB were selected by Sofia de Oliveira, the contact person at IIB for the DivCap project. Regarding the interview procedure, it was decided that the interviewer is no direct colleagues of the persons interviewed. Therefore, Helga Moser from the Institut of Social Work (ISA) interviewed staff at IBB. The interviews were conducted at FHJ in October 2019. For reasons of anonymity no further details regarding the interviewed persons are given here. In addition, Helga Moser consulted the Equality and Diversity Officer.

Description of the organisation


Institutional framework


The Institute of International Management (IIB) is part of FH JOANNEUM – University of Applied Sciences (FHJ). FHJ consists of 6 departments with 26 institutes. It runs 27 bachelor degree programmes, 22 master degree programmes and 9 certificate programmes. 4.500 students attend the programmes, there are 1.300 graduates per year. FHJ has 680 employees and 950 external lecturers.

Mission statement of FH JOANNEUM:

There is an official mission statement of FH JOANNEUM publicly available on the website. FHJ supports and promotes diversity and internationality as its values:

“FH JOANNEUM AS A SUSTAINABLE ORGANISATION Our university supports cultural diversity, an international outlook and an interdisciplinary approach – we believe diversity is enriching. We take responsibility for the common good and social development. We consider it our duty to use resources sustainably.”

The Institute of International Management (IIB) is part of the Department of Management. The Department consists of four institutes: International Management, Banking and Insurance Industry, Health and Tourism Management, and Industrial Management.

The IBB runs different degree programmes and courses as well as research projects. The content of the teaching and research in itself focuses on international dimensions of management, as expressed by the name of the institute. An international orientation is part of the self-image. The objective is to educate students to work in a global business environment. Therefore, openness towards diversity and international dimensions such as e.g. intercultural competences are part of the curriculum. This is also reflected in the research, which focuses on international dimensions of management. Furthermore, in the frame of a team strategy meeting with IIB staff done in June 2019, the core values of the institute were developed together. As the number one value “Respect & Diversity” was chosen, defined as “We treat our colleagues & students, supervisors and everyone else with respect. We appreciate and accept diverse backgrounds, opinions, gender, and competencies.”

IIB Mission Statement: “International – Innovation – Industries” are the three key words mentioned in the presentation of IIB on its website:

“The Institute of International Management is part of the Department of Management at FH JOANNEUM. The “Triple I” approach – International, Innovation, Industries – is vital for the success of the Department. Research-led teaching (Innovation) and the pooled expertise of four institutes are combined with a comprehensive management concept: tapping potentials in the management of organisations across all sectors (Industries).”

Research and fields of expertise are International Business Strategies and Processes, and Quality- Oriented Higher Education Development in an International Context.

Institutional in the migrant society: students


In the following the focus of the analysis is on the degree programmes. IIB also runs a Postgraduate Master’s course in European Project and Public Management and two study programmes for incoming students, the Global Business Program and the Applied Summer School “Business in Europe”.

Composition of students

The Bachelor’s degree programme in International Management (MIG) has 60 student placements available each year. The language of instruction is German and English. 90 % of the students are local student (most of them from the province of Styria). The students are prepared to work in international markets, they will get the necessary management skills and intercultural competences. Diversity amongst students is appreciated. It is considered as a means to experience diversity and prepare students for their work environment in an international context. Nevertheless, when looking at the composition of students regarding diversity dimensions such as nationality, age or disability, the student body is rather homogeneous. Regarding nationality, 90 % of the students are local students, most of them from Styria, some with a migration background (roughly 10 %, in particular from Former Yugoslavian countries). The composition by gender is balanced, in some cohorts there more female students (2/3 are female). Most of the students are between 18 and 24 years old; most of them come directly from school. In the cohort 2019, there is one male student who is 60+ and already retired. There are very few students that have a visible disability. Regarding educational background, the student body is diverse, students come from different schools (secondary academic school, college for higher vocational education).

In the interviews no specific distinction within the Austrian group of students was made by the interview partners. The relevant distinction is between local and international students. Regarding international students, a distinction is made between regular students from abroad (attending the entire BA programme) and incoming students (staying for one semester). Whether the Austrian students (meaning in most cases, having a school leaving certificate from an Austrian school) have a migration background or not, was not highlighted or specifically noticed or mentioned. From a discrimination-critical perspective, on the one hand, this might be perceived positively, because characteristics that can lead to discrimination are not observed and highlighted. On the other hand, not noticing and therefore not addressing the different needs of different groups, which may also exist within the Austrian group, might lead to disadvantages for these students.

The Master’s degree programme in Business in Emerging Markets (MEM) has 30 placements annually; the cohort 2019 has 24 students, since there were not enough applications for a full capacity utilization. The language of instruction is English. The students are prepared to work in multinational enterprises in emerging markets.

The composition of MEM students is diverse, in particular regarding nationality: one third to half of each year’s cohort are international students from European and non-European countries. In the cohort 2018, there are 15 incoming students. In 2019 there are 6-7 incoming students, some students do a double degree (from Chile, Taiwan, Russia). Half of the student body is female; most are post- Bachelor aged. Regarding their educational background, there are graduates from Austria, the international and incoming students bring experiences with different academic systems and performance requirements.

The international composition of students is related to the orientation of the degree programme, with its focus on emerging markets. One specifically targeted group are students from emerging markets. There was a lack of interested for this MA programme in the past. Therefore, the curriculum was revised and is now work-friendly. Which led to a slight increase of the student numbers. Currently (October 2019), the aim is to attract more students, since for the cohort of 2019, not all study places were taken.

An important distinction which became apparent in the interviews was the previous experience in different academic systems, which means whether the students were socialised in the Austrian (higher) education system or not. Students not having undergone the Austrian higher education system, need more support in understanding and comporting according to the system. Also different standards regarding previous knowledge and performance requirements make it difficult for in particular some international students, to successfully follow the programme.

Admission requirements and procedures

MIG: For the admission to the MIG programme, applicants need to have a qualification for university entrance or university entrance qualification exam. Applicants must be proficient in German and English as the languages of instruction (Level B2 as a minimum requirement). If applicants are not Austrian citizen, they need to meet certain requirements: proof of sufficient knowledge of German and English at Level B2, special regulations apply to documents that have not been issued in Austria, and tuition fees for third country nationals of 727 € per semester (applicants from the EU, EEA or Switzerland are not required to pay a cost contribution). The admissions procedure consists of three parts: the application, a written assessment test and personal interview.

MEM: Applicants need to have completed a Bachelor’s degree in business, economics, or other social sciences with a focus on business, or an equivalent degree from an accredited domestic or foreign post-secondary education institution. English language skills at a minimum level of B2 are required. If applicants are not Austrian citizen, they need to meet certain requirements: see MIG (except language skills: only English Level B2 is required). The admissions procedure consists of four parts: Developing methodical, subject-specific and / or interdisciplinary tasks (35 %), interview with the admissions committee (35 %), overall assessment of prior education (15%), and complete evaluation of prior practical experience (15%).

Equal opportunity strategies & barriers: In the personal admission interviews, guidelines are used at MIG and MEM. There is a list of questions that shouldn’t be asked (e.g. family planning). The 66 composition of staff is diverse, therefore also the composition of the admission commission conducting the interviews is diverse. There are no quotas to reach specific groups. Criteria for successful applicants are openness, being interested in internationality and going abroad, and in particular commitment and motivation. A bonus is, when the applicants already have gained experiences abroad (volunteering, etc.).

Currently about 300 persons apply for the 60 places per year at the Bachelor’s programme. Hence the competition is much higher in comparison to the Master’s programme, where there are unclaimed study places. The written test for MEM is a barrier for some. But when there are still places available, also students that don’t score high on the test can be admitted.

It was observed by respondents in the case study interviews, that there are no students with visible disabilities in the MIG admission interviews or further on as students in the BA programme. No data is available regarding characteristics of applicants regarding disability or migration background. But the case of one blind student, who didn’t want her disability to be explicitly referred to, draws attention to a sensitive issue: on the one hand, it is important to be careful about identifying and publicly naming characteristics that can lead to discrimination. On the other hand, it is also necessary to know about characteristics in order to take measures for support or protection against unequal treatment.

The question how the admission process is conducted with regards to disability was unclear to some members of staff. And the question was raised, why there are very few students with disabilities in the programme. In the interview the manager pointed out, that there are measures by the FHJ Equality and Diversity Body to support students with a disability in the admission process. But it is suspected that many potential applicants do not know about this support offer. This support measure is also not known to all members of staff.

The following barriers in relation to admission requirements for MEM can be identified: the tuition fee for third country applicants can be a barrier. But compared to other degree programmes, the amount is low; for example, tuition fee for the postgrade master’s course is 2.500 € per semester. Furthermore, for some international students the formal requirements regarding documents can be a challenge for admission. For the personal application interviews, applicants have to come to Graz personally, the costs for coming to Austria may deter some applicants. But it was stressed, that this policy was intentionally introduced, to see on one hand the commitment of the students. And on the other hand, a personal impression is important, getting to know the student and clarifying any misleading ideas. Non-EU students need a visa. But according to interviewees, once students are admitted, they receive the visa without a problem. The International Office assists students with bureaucracy.

As far as known, there are no complaints from non-admitted students.

Human Resource Management: staff


Composition of staff

At MIG, the staff consists of 33 permanent staff members (head, teaching, research, administration) and 50 affiliated lecturers (teaching). At MEM, the staff consists of 16 permanent staff members (head, teaching, research, administration) and 11 affiliated lecturers (teaching). The staff of IIB is diverse. For example, when it comes to nationality, staff members are e.g. from Brasilia, Macedonia or Portugal. Furthermore, there is a mix of different age groups. Regarding gender, the majority of the staff is female.

Admission for staff

For the job interviews of new international staff, special rules were applied, the presentations could be done in English. However, not everybody in the FHJ selection committee was happy about that. The 67 recognition of qualifications from abroad is not an issue, since Management is not a regulated profession.

Equal opportunity strategies and barriers for diverse staff

At FHJ level: It was stated, that FHJ as a whole is not friendly for inclusion of new international staff members, e.g. a lot of documents are only available in German (e.g. work contracts). It was pointed out, that now even in some public authorities’ forms are available in English or translations in different languages. This could be an example for FHJ as well. Furthermore, communication in English sometimes is a challenge, e.g. with facility management staff. FHJ is not interested in joining Club International (a support service for migrants/international staff; lots of companies, the University of Graz and the Technical University are members).

At institute level: At institute level language barriers are not an issue for staff who speaks German as a second (or third/fourth) language. All members of staff are able to communicate in German, but there is an awareness regarding language barriers and when a person is present that prefers to talk in English, conversations will be switched to English. Hence, team meetings are held in English as well as everyday communication.

Procedures for complaints: If complaints arise, staff has the possibility to contact the following persons or institutions: At institute level the Head of institute, at FHJ level the Equality and Diversity Office and the Worker’s Council. As far as expressed in the interviews, there are few complaints and as far as known, there is no statistical data available regarding complaints.



Currently, there is no strategy at IIB to network with migrant organisations to attract more students with a migration background. But the idea raised during the interview was received with interest by the head of the institute.

In general, regarding recruitment campaigns at FHJ management level no need is perceived to specifically promote the MIG programme, since there are lots of applications each year and only a small percentage can the accepted. Advertisement for MEM is done e.g. through partner universities, and social media.

The Educational Process


Difficulties for students – as perceived by staff

General difficulties for all students are the work load, self-organisation, and it was perceived by the interview partners, that personal problems of students are increasing (e.g. family situation, deficits in organising to write the BA paper, exam anxiety)

Challenges for international students include the following issues

General orientation about the (academic) system in Austria

  • Most of the international students are new to Austria and need more assistance in comparison to the local students. There is lots of new information for international students. They are used to a different (academic) systems and therefore need more orientation. That required more time and explanations from the side of the programme and the secretary.
  • Lack of knowledge “of how things are done in Austria”; these issues need to be address explicitly.
  • Cultural barriers play a role as well when there are difficulties. In class
  • Active class participation: Active class participation is one aspect for grading (20% of the overall 68 grade), but it was perceived by the interview partners that e.g. Asian students are not used to active participation and sometimes have lower oral English language skills. The strategy used here is to adapt requirements, e.g. not each student needs to present in front of the class; the assignment is done in mixed little teams and one person from the group presents. At IBB, studentcentered teaching approaches are used, there is an open doors policy and flat hierarchies; students can approach lecturers easily. These approaches need to be made explicit and explained to students who are not used to them.
  • Language and communication skills: for admission at MIG and MEM German and English language skills are required. But in the MA programme the experience is made that English language skills are a challenge for some of the international students. Regarding the language skills of the incoming students, partner universities have a role here regarding admission, since they choose the students they send abroad. For MEM students who only speak English, it is a barrier that some of FHJ document are only available in English. Here the secretary tries to help and even provides translations. Furthermore, non-verbal communication and misunderstanding arise because of different codes (see also different teaching methods).

Beyond FHJ

  • International students also have more specific needs not in relation to FHJ and their studies, they also enquire regarding other questions, when they e.g. have health issues. Living in a foreign country is a challenge for some students (culture challenges, and organisational issues, e.g. where to turn to for different practical issues).

Support for students through structural measures and by staff

For measures how students are supported to deal with challenges, see the chapter “What should not be changed”

Personal Impressions of interviewed people


The Institution

Positive Negative
Benefits of working in a diverse team

Diversity is a lived culture

  • Within the group and at institute meetings
  • interesting solutions
  • colleagues with different experiences bring new learning and ideas (e.g. someone who used to work in a company or in a different country before)

Benefits of working with diverse students

  • A diverse composition of the student body enables the students to learn about diversity on a day to day basis
Challenges of working in a diverse team

  • no openness to different new ideas of other colleagues

Challenges of working with diverse students

  • Age & gender: disrespectful behaviour of (male) students towards younger staff, in combination with gender
  • Language: lack of understanding (also lack of proficiency in English)
  • Culture: interesting, but also a challenge
  • No openness of students: some students are open to different backgrounds of their fellow students; but some are sceptical

Commitment with mission statement and diversity policy


All of the interviewed staff expressed a big commitment and appreciation of the diversity amongst staff and students (see also diversity as one of the values of the institute). The focus regarding diversity is on diversity steaming from students from abroad. There is no specific target group they would like to reach as students, but don’t reach. With regard to students with a migration background, they are not in the focus of attention to be attracted.

What should be changed?


Based on the analysis of the written documents and the interviews, the following aspects are important to highlight.

MANAGER – FH level

Mission statement

  • Specification of the mission statement: the mission statement is vague, too many topics are covered. Suggestions: it should be narrowed down, and be more precise.
  • Working on the actual implementation of the mission statement: It has to start from values at the FHJ, how does FHJ sees itself in the future?! The values need to be integrated in daily life. Then make it visible also in the promotion.

Mainstreaming of good practice examples

  • Peer course for students with disabilities at the Institute of Social Work. Should be spread to other institutes, so that also amongst regular students there are students with a disability.

Language diversity

  • Implementing more language diversity (documents in English, currently e.g. legal contracts are only in German), would send out signals that everybody feels part.

STUDENTS: Recruitment and admission

  • FHJ should signal that everybody is welcome to apply (migrants, people with a disability, etc.). Welcoming could be shown by e.g. promotion in the folders (currently: happy, but same looking students), on the website, and through campaigns. Recruitment campaign also for MIG to attract diverse students.

STAFF: Admission procedure

  • Flexibility regarding hiring diverse staff (e.g. job interviews in English)
  • Include representative of Equality and Diversity Office in the admission procedure.

STAFF: Further education

  • So fare at Continuing Education in University Didactics (HDW, a mandatory course for new lecturers) no module on dealing with diversity is part of the curriculum. This should be included in a new curriculum for HDW. At “Didaktik Tag” (a one-day event on didactics), this issue should be addressed as well.

MANAGER – institute level

STUDENTS: recruitment and admission

The regular local students at MIG are not very heterogeneous, diversity is represented in particular through the international students. An aim could be to attract more local students with different characteristics, e.g. with migration background, regarding age or academic background. In other 70 programmes, the composition of students is very diverse regarding nationality, students come from different countries and continents.

  • Networking with migrant organisations to recruitment of new students, to attract more students with a migration background.
  • Knowledge about support measures for applicants: The information that the Equality and Diversity Office supports students with a disability in the admission process is not commonly known. Information should go to all potential applicants and members of staff.


Suggestions for further support of staff

  • Written guidelines regarding equal opportunity and treatment (at present only implicitly conveyed as a lived culture).
  • Written guidelines for dealing with challenges, e.g. for crisis intervention. Guidelines for when there are difficult situations, how to deal with them (e.g. escalation path). This information would be useful for all international FHJ coordinators.
  • For new lecturers: written guidelines and mentoring system.
  • Further education would be helpful, e.g. a conflict management workshop including intercultural aspects. Considering the lack of time for attending trainings, suitable formats should be developed to enable attendance.
  • Information where to turn to (professional support systems) when students have psychological problems.
  • Support and ideas how to work with diverse students in the class room (e.g. when there are different levels of language skills)


  • Sufficient allocation of time resources to continue the support for students and staff.

What should not be changed?


Based on the analysis of the written documents, interviews and the focus group, the following aspects are important to highlight.

MANAGER – FH level

  • It is positive, that there is a mission statement that endorses diversity and equality.
  • There are structural measures in place that support equality, e.g. the “Working Group on Equal Treatment Issues” and the “Equality and Diversity Office”.

MANAGER – institute level

Support for STUDENTS

  • Diverse admission commission: since IIB staff is diverse, the composition of the commission conducting the interviews is diverse as well
  • Open door policy by the head of the institute · Welcome day: At the beginning of each semester, a half day event is organised by MIG and MEM to welcome students, getting to know each other and for team building, as well as to clarify expectations from both sides, the institute and students.
  • Student contract: Students need to sign it at the beginning of their studies with the degree programme. This clarifies in written contract rights and obligations.
  • Tutorials, warm up sessions: for MEM students: these sessions take place during holidays. When students have difficulties in following the courses and need extra help, additional courses to help them with the content of the course are organised. Student representative give productive feedback to the head of the programme, so he knows where specific needs are.
  • Buddy system: Austrian students support international students during the Applied Business School
  • Complaints system: If there are complaints, there are several possibilities: students can turn to the lecturer, the Head of Institute, the Head of Department, and Science Board (FH Kollegium) and the student’s representatives. There are few complaints from the side of the students, except complaints regarding grades. Recently there were incidents during the last Applied Summer School: complaints about grades, but also issues beyond FHJ, a student was harassed in a bar. Regarding the assessment of performance when it comes to grading, transparency is in place. The MIG strategy regarding occurrences of any form of discrimination will be to inform students more about support measures, e.g. the FHJ Equality and Diversity Office, and the Antidiscrimination Office Styria (the case of harassed student was reported to the Antidiscrimination Office).

STAFF: diversity as lived culture

  • Maintain – and deepen – the diversity of staff and diversity as lived culture in the institute
  • Good team spirit of working together in a diverse team, supporting each other.
  • Inclusive language use: when there is a person present that is more comfortable with English, the means of communication is English.
  • Open door policy and support by the head of the institute for members of staff.
  • Flexibility regarding FHJ regulations and personal freedom and preferences of staff (e.g. regarding core time), Management by objectives versus FHJ procedures (core time). At IIB there is a flexibility regarding working hours, personal freedom of staff is given.
  • Reflection what is going well is important. But sometimes there is a lack of time. A fixed occasion for reflection are the yearly appraisals.


Support for students by the lecturers

· Open door policy: It was stressed in the interviews that the institute has as open-door policy, that staff is widely available for personal meetings with students. If students don’t attend the courses, they are invite to talk, an interruption of studies or taking a leave is possible. · Support system: There is intensive support for students, in particular at MEM as well as at GBP and ASS, but also in the other programmes. The support comes from formally appointed persons, e.g. the international coordinators at the level of the institute. The international coordinator offers a lot of support to the students, on one hand regarding issues in relation to their studies, but on the other hand also regarding personal concerns such as health issues. Furthermore, the international students also can turn to the International Office for support. Moreover, also other committed lecturers are supporting students beyond the lectures. These provisions need resources also in the future (in particular time resources), this is essential for a good support of the students. In other institutes (e.g. Production Technology and Organization, PTO) one “captain” is responsible for support for one cohort, but not at MIG, staff has too many tasks, no additional tasks are feasible. · Adaption of the teaching to diverse students with different skills and preferences: e.g. speaking slowly for non-native speakers, working in small groups, using digital technology. When there is a lack of understanding (in English or German), one of the interviewed lecturers underlined, that she tries to explain it in an easier way and approach the students in small groups. The interviewee would like to know other strategies how to deal with this issue. Other colleagues say, it is not their 72 business if students don’t understand because lack of English skills (since appropriate language skills are an admission requirement), but for some lecturers it is important to give support nevertheless. · Using new teaching techniques: Technology such as e.g. word cloud (to query knowledge) are used and teaching is customised, to meet different needs. · Flexibility regarding assessment of performance: lectures use different methods for assessment to meet and correspond to the different needs and skills of students. Different options for assessment are chosen based on the abilities and needs of students. In a course of one of the lecturer’s interviewed, the students can choose whether they would like to do the final assessment in oral, a written exam or as a case study. Here different abilities and ways of learning are taken into account. Furthermore, considering different abilities is necessary for a fair assessment. When it comes to the assessment of performance, English native speakers are at an advantage. But some native speakers show less effort – that is taken into account as well regarding grading. So not only the performance, but also the effort shown are taken into consideration. Lecturers have to navigate between regulations and flexibility: there are FHJ rules and regulations (e.g. examination regulations), but some flexibility can be shown towards (international) students that struggle with the required academic performance and work load; e.g. longer deadlines for submission of papers are granted.

Support for staff

  • Staff can approach the head of the institute (open door policy)
  • Peer support: at faculty meetings staff can discuss and exchange when problems arise in the classroom, coaching for them. The team is diverse and has expertise regarding dealing with interculturality and diversity.
  • Written documents are helpful, e.g. work contract
  • Equality and Diversity Office is also considered as a support.


Support for students

The secretaries provide a lot of assistance and supports to students; since the need for support is higher amongst the international students.

Support for staff

  • Help from the superiors
  • Help each other in the team
  • Students feedback is helpful

Analysis, interpretations


The language regarding diversity within the organisation


Regarding diversity, the focus is on international aspects, meaning students and staff from abroad. Other dimensions of diversity are not as firmly embedded in the awareness (e.g. students with a migration background).

Significant differences in the way people are looking at and thinking about the diversity in the organisation


At IIB, at all levels of the institute, from the manager to the administrative staff endorse diversity and support it in their work environment and their scope of duty.

Arrangements and power relations


The institute is part of FH JOANNEUM, a big higher education provider. The shareholders’ agreement of FH JOANNEUM Gesellschaft mbH stipulates the following governing bodies: Scientific Managing Director, Financial Managing Director, General Assembly, and the Supervisory Board. The governing bodies also include the heads of the individual degree programmes and the University of Applied Sciences (UAS) Board. There are different departments and units with different responsibilities. For the admission process of new students, in particular the administrative side, the responsible unit is the Division of Continuing Education, Study Administration and Study Law. For the recruitment of new staff, the Division of Personnel and Legal Services is the responsible unit.

The Federal Act on Programmes of Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschul-Studiengesetz, FHStG) is the relevant law regulating the policies and principles. For accreditation of degree programmes, the “Agentur für Qualitätssicherung und Akkreditierung Austria (AQ Austria)” (Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria) is responsible. For the approval of new curricula for degree programmes and courses, the “innovation committee” (“Innovationsausschuss”, a committee composed of members of the UAS Board) is the responsible unit. Regarding quality management, FHJ is certified with different quality labels and certificates.

Regarding equality of women and men, a big commitment prevails. In the Statutes of the UAS board, measures for the Equality of Women and Men and Provisions on the Advancement of Women at FHJ are determined. In the Statues a “Working Group on Equal Treatment Issues” is stipulated. Furthermore, in the Statutes of the board on measures for the Equality of Women and Men, the “Equality and Diversity Office” is stipulated. The Office promotes diversity management in relation to different diversity categories of students, employees, and lecturers. It has initiated measures and offers support for applicants or students with disabilities. And it also endorses equal treatment when it comes to migration, religion and ethnicity.

From the description of the structures it becomes evident, that laws regulate the work environment and formal requirements prevail. A lot of different entities are involved in the running of FHJ. But there is also scope for flexibility responding to the needs of diverse students and staff, promoted by e.g. the Equality and Diversity Office.

Motives and motivations to work on diversity policy in the organisation


Diversity is part of the self-image of IIB.

Possible benefits for the learners


The further promotion of diversity at IIB and at FHJ in general, would have a more inclusive organisation as its goal. This would be beneficial for applicants from diverse backgrounds, who were at a disadvantage in the past to gain access to IIB. Furthermore, it also would improve the experience of students during the educational process, leading to a successful completion of their studies and contribute to equal opportunity.

Stage of the organisation


7. intercultural organisation
6. intercultural diversity management
5. cross-cultural HRM policy
4. inflow of migrant workers
3. intercultural service management
2. service to migrants
1. monocultural organization

Scroll over then names of the stages to get a definition of them

  1. My organisation has migrants among its clients: yes, there are students with a migration background (born/raised in Austria, but parents were born abroad) and international students from abroad. The focus is on the international students.
  2. In my organization an intercultural training has been done aimed at improving sales to migrants: intercultural competences are part of the curriculum for students. Therefore, staff has knowledge about intercultural and diversity issues.
  3. My organisation has a policy aimed at improving sales or services to migrants: at IIB international students are welcomed. There is no specific focus on students with a migration background. At MEM there is an explicit policy to attract international students. Furthermore, there are a specific study programmes (the Global Business Program (GBP) and the Applied Summer School (ASS)) to attract international students.
  4. My organisation employs (a) migrant worker(s): diverse staff when it comes to nationality.
  5. My organisation has a policy aimed at the influx of migrant workers: there is a mission statement from FHJ regarding diversity. But at FHJ level commitment can be improved, at IIB level there is a high commitment regarding diverse staff.
  6. In my organisation there has been an intercultural training on how to improve intercultural cooperation or leadership: see question 2, staff themselves are experts.
  7. My organisation has an intercultural personnel policy: see question 5.
  8. In my organisation, intercultural policy is a natural part of diversity policy: yes, see mission statement of FHJ and Equality and Diversity Officers. But during the case study, no concrete figures or implementation measures could be found. At IIB, during a team strategy meeting, a mission statement for the level of IIB was developed (“Our values”).
  9. In my organisation, intercultural policy is a natural part of general quality policy with regard to sales/service provision and personnel: see question 8.

Since all questions can be answered with yes, FHJ and IIB is an intercultural organisation at stage 7. At the level of FHJ, formally there is an advanced diversity policy and in the past different measures were undertaken. But these measures are dispersed and some of them were discontinued (e.g. the Diversity Training). Furthermore, a mainstreaming would be advisable, e.g. the introduction of a diversity module in the Continuing Education in University Didactics (HDW) or covering the topic at FHJ wide events like the “Didactics day”. Furthermore, it would be necessary to work and refine the FHJ mission statement. For this purpose, resources should be provided to discuss the mission statement and develop concrete measures for the implementation at the level of the institutes. Here IIB has already shown its own initiative, e.g. during the team strategy meeting in 2019.

Change and consequences


What is change here actually?

  • As seen in the chapter on arrangements, IBB is part of a big organisation. The implementation of measures for improvement will need to consider the structures of FHJ, formal requirements, the different entities and key players.
  • Since there is high performance pressure and lack of time in the daily work, new measures, ideas for improvement and change need to be linked with already existing routines and structures.

What does it mean for the education process and the students?

  • Increase of equality regarding the admission of diverse students to FHJ.
  • Increase of equality regarding studying in an environment that considers diverse needs of students.

What does it mean for the staff?

  • Increase of equality regarding the admission of diverse staff to FHJ
  • Being better prepared to work with diverse students
  • Finding ways to integrate the improvements in the daily routines, but also make time and space for new routines

What does it mean for the management at IIB level?

  • Clear positioning for the advantages of diversity
  • Looking for resources to support the process (human, financial, intellectual resources, time)
  • Finding ways to integrate the improvements in the daily routines, but also make time and space for new routines

What does it mean for the organisation at FHJ level?

Needed resources

  • Clear positioning for the advantages of diversity
  • Resources for the implementation of measures for improvement (time, financial resources)
    • Time for reflection and refining of the mission statement
    • Adequate allocation of resources for staff for training and discussion


  • Getting better qualified and diverse staff
  • Having more diverse students
  • Better performance in the public



Our recommendations are:

  1. Strengthening of already existing measures to promote diversity at IIB
    Making the IBB mission statement and values of working together more tangible

    • Concrete measure: Development of written guidelines regarding equal opportunity and treatment (at present only implicitly conveyed as a lived culture) and for dealing with challenges. These written guidelines would also be helpful for new staff members.
    • Concrete short term measure: workshop with staff on diversity and inclusive Institute of International Management, development of an expanded understanding of diversity (e.g. raising awareness about other dimensions of diversity beyond international students) and include it in the IBB mission statement.
  2. Further diversification of the composition of students aiming to attract and include more students with a migration background or other characteristics (e.g. age, disability) in the programmes
    Setting up networks with migrant organisations to target applicants with a migration background

    • Concrete short term measure: establish contacts with migrants organisations
    • Long term measure: maintain the network
  3. Making the admission process more inclusive
    • Concrete short term measure: workshop with staff that forms the admission commission for the personal interviews to raise awareness about diversity and in particular different dimensions of diversity (e.g. disability or age)
    • Long term measure: check of the description of the application procedures in the next programme applications for MIG and MEM (which diversity aspects are considered, are relevant dimensions included, e.g. also migration background)
  4. Supportive conditions for diverse students & staff dealing with diverse students
    • Teaching methods
    • Assessment of students
    • Concrete short term measure: exchange amongst staff in a workshop about existing and already used strategies and approaches for inclusive teaching and assessing, as well as dealing with challenges, to promote equality amongst diverse students. There already is an expertise amongst staff, sharing this expertise amongst the colleagues and further developing it, would be beneficial and would strengthen the knowledge and skills.
  5. Further diversification of the composition of staff
    • Concrete short term measure: keeping diversity and its different dimensions in mind during the next recruitment
  6. Reviving, further spreading, mainstreaming, or strengthening of already / once existing measures to promote diversity at FHJ
    • Refine the FHJ mission statement. For this purpose, resources should be provided to discuss the mission statement and develop concrete measures for the implementation at the level of the institutes.
    • Include diversity issues in the course “Continuing Education in University Didactics” (HDW)
    • Covering the topic at FHJ wide events like the “Didactics day”.
    • Strengthening of the Equality and Diversity Office.
    • Improve the language diversity also on the administrative level.
    • Further develop public relations in regard to diversity.


What is the right approach for this way of changing?


For FHJ, according to the colour model of De Caluwe & Vermaak the yellow print approach could be interesting. To bring different stakeholders together that are interested in promoting a move towards more equality and diversity at FHJ in a process of negotiating to come to viable solutions and to créate a win-win situation and to form new coalitions. This process of change is a top structuring process, which need the full support and initiating and activating attitude of the management.

Commitment with Management and Staff


Management and staff are interested in diversity issues, which is reflected in their daily practice and they are interested in further developing towards an even more diverse and inclusive institute.

DivCap website adminCase Study Report FH Joanneum – IIB (Austria)