This is a fascinating piece of research conducted by Oriane Georgeac, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at Yale School of Management and Aneeta Rattan, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School.
In summary, they collected publicly available information from all Fortune 500 websites relating to how those businesses referred to the importance of diversity and then categorised into two groups. The first, were those that justified diversity on the basis of the "business case" and those that use a justification on a "fairness case". Surprisingly, the majority, nearly 80% used the business case argument to justify the importance of diversity. And yet, in another study by the authors, they were able to show that under-represented talent are a lot less interested in working for businesses who use the business case justification.
So, clearly there is a disconnect here. If businesses feel that they need to use a justification argument, then they should align to the "fairness" approach. However, in an ideal world, businesses shouldn't need to justify their commitment to diversity!
I love this quote from the article : ".....companies don’t feel the need to explain why they believe in values such as innovation, resilience, or integrity. So why treat diversity any differently?"
Great research and this has made me take a look at our own website to check how we weave diversity in to our core messaging! Let me know what your thoughts are.