Diversity & inclusion communication as a provocation?


Topics related to diversity and inclusion (D&I) have received increased public attention for some time now - both positive and negative. For the public debate about D&I initiatives and within the organization, social media plays an essential role: it is easy accessible for both supporters and opponents.

D&I officers and communication experts are often challenged to claify, persuade or mediate when resistance and criticism is raised. The aim of this research project is to gain insights into how organizations deal with internal and external resistance or with critical statements about D&I measures and inclusive language (e.g. gender-sensitive language):

  1. How are negative comments (e.g. homophobic, sexist or racist statements) and the associated (dynamic) interaction of the actors involved on social media are dealt with?
  2. How can organizations successfully counter negative comments on D&I content and how can language be used optimally?



  • Interviews (60-70 min.) with 15 experts in German-speaking countries who are responsible for (internal) D&I communication in their companies.
  • Quantitative and qualitative content analysis of D&I-relevant social media postings and the subsequent threads (interactions) that contain critical comments. Study sample: D&I-relevant posts + reactions on Twitter channels of 20 companies each from the German-speaking (D&A) and the Anglophone (USA & UK) area.