Where did it come from? After the toughening of equal pay and race discrimination legislation in the 1970s, the drive for genuinely equal opportunities became more urgent. But cultural and attitudinal change proved elusive.
Partly as an attempt to rejuvenate the tired old 'equal opps' debate, experts hit on the term 'diversity' to convey the benefits of achieving progress in this area. Taken together with its partner 'inclusion', the 'D + I' agenda has become a business priority, whether managers believe in it or not.
Where's it going? With legislation either already in place or due (next year) to prevent discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, disability, age, religion and sexual orientation, bosses have plenty of incentive to make sure that their workforces are as diverse as possible. No more 'hideously white' organisations (as Greg Dyke labelled the BBC), no more 'institutional racism' (Sir William Macpherson's allegation against the Metropolitan Police). The diverse organisations of the future will have less room for the 'male, pale and stale' managers who have been in charge till now - though somehow you suspect they will cling on to power for a while yet.