Feature Stories


The Power of Diversity

In a global economy, companies that seek to grow beyond the local market need to employ a pool of talent representing diverse points of view and the knowledge to succeed. Diversity can be a competitive differentiator.

In this edition of Biz@HKUST, we look closely into the strength of diversity of four highly successful companies. These companies range in age from a quarter-century to a century old and have achieved astonishing success in their fields, not only in the countries they first started in, but in their global reach to other markets.

We talk to three members of our School Advisory Council, Mrs Betty Yuen So Siu Mei, Vice Chairman of CLP Power Hong Kong; Dr James Thompson, Chairman of Crown Worldwide Group; and Dato’ Seri Cheah Cheng Hye, Chairman of Value Partners Group. They are joined by Mr Xu Xiaoliang, Executive Director and Co-President of Fosun International. The four leaders reveal what diversity means to their businesses in sharpening their decision-making, strengthening their workforce, and driving their global presence.

Despite a strong push for equality, in many areas of society women still don’t get the same opportunities, as men. However, four of our outstanding female alumni: Mrs Christine Ip, CEO – Greater China of United Overseas Bank; Ms Sophia Leung, Asia Pacific CIO of J.P. Morgan; Ms Zhou Yunli, Managing Director of Tiantu Capital; and Ms Gesche Hass, Founder of Trailblazer Ventures, explain how this stereotyping can be challenged.

To realize the potential that a more diverse workforce can offer, the Head of Talent Solutions of Aon Hewitt, Ms Mary Yu and the Chairperson of Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission, Professor Alfred Chan Cheung Ming, explain how a diverse and inclusive workforce stands a better chance to improve productivity and performance. Hiring a mix of people with a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives does bring upside potential for an organization, but the realization of that potential is dependent on how it is managed, as pointed out by Head of our Department of Management Professor Gong Yaping.

A number of faculty from the Management Department will share about their research findings on diversity in a series of articles. Professor Melody Manchi Chao explains why working and communicating effectively with people from diverse cultural backgrounds has increasingly become an important asset; Professor Christy Zhou Koval looks at the impact of stereotyping on gender equality in a workplace; Professor David P. Daniels writes about the reaction of investors in Silicon Valley to diversity; Professor Zhu Jing studies how teams can better use the diverse expertise of their members to perform; and Professor Jaee Cho considers how people perceive ‘cultural trespassing’ and why they may judge this crossing of cultural borders as inappropriate.

We believe through these studies, coupled with the broad opinions we collect from business leaders, industry experts, academia and our alumni can help enrich our knowledge on the subject and better understand the relationship between diversity and organizational performance.