Let’s talk about Diversity

Globalization, as well as the recent advancements in the areas of human rights and politics, have created evermore diverse societies. These changes are also reflected in the labor market. Here, diversity and inclusion refer to valuing and integrating all people regardless of their ethnic or social origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, worldview or physical and mental disabilities. Politics and society increasingly expect corporations to reflect this diversity within their workforce.

However, companies also recognize the economic potential of diversity and inclusion. Diverse perspectives can lead to more creativity and innovations and thus also improve business performance. On the other hand, diversity could lead to conflicts and resistance among employees and thus have a negative impact. It is, therefore, crucial to improve acceptance and support for diversity and inclusion within the company. To do so, communications play a central role.

 

Goals

Diversity and inclusion have become more important for corporations both from a social and economic perspective. Therefore, the research project at the University of Vienna focuses on the role of communications in strengthening diversity and inclusion concepts and their acceptance and support within corporations. The research project lays the focus on internal communication (management) concerning diversity and inclusion, which is an area that has been largely neglected in previous research.

Central questions:

  1. Which goals do diversity management and communication pursue? How can results be measured?
  2.  Which aspects of diversity are addressed? (E.g. gender, age, origin, etc.)
  3. Which communication strategies are used? Which communication measures are implemented?
  4. What kind of conflicts arise? How does communication try to solve them?
  5. How do employees perceive diversity and inclusion within their organization?
  6. How can internal communication create more acceptance of and support for diversity measures?

 

Approach

To answer the research questions, a multi-stage procedure is used, which is divided into the following steps:

  1. Analysis of the scientific and industry literature on diversity management and communication
  2. Quantitative survey among employees from large companies where diversity management is in place (approximately 800 employees)
  3. Qualitative interviews with experts from large companies responsible for diversity management and diversity communication (six companies from Germany and Austria)