Oriane Georgeac, PhD student in Organisational Behaviour at London Business School.
As organizations increasingly provide justifications for why they value diversity, one diversity rhetoric has become particularly popular: the “business case for diversity.” The business case claims that diversity is valuable on the grounds of its performance benefits for organizations (rather than on the grounds of fairness and social justice, as the “fairness case” proposes). In this talk, Georgeac shows just how widespread the business case has become among major organizations, and investigates how the business case for diversity affects underrepresented group members seeking jobs, and why. She shows that relative to a fairness case, exposure to a business case undermines LGBTQ+ professionals’ and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) women job seekers’ anticipated sense of belonging to, and thus interest in joining, a prospective organization making this case. Together, these findings reveal that organizations’ efforts to communicate about diversity may backfire, yielding detrimental consequences for both underrepresented groups and organizations’ diversity goals.
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