Size and shape of the Business Case for Diversity

Diversity & Inclusion evidently promotes performance, productivity, customer satisfaction, brand image, and competitive edge – we say. The International Business Case Report (2014) now underscores the accuracy of this statement with unprecedented empirical evidence. The 3rd edition of the unique (global) research report summarises 195 studies which illustrate the benefits and value-added from Diversity & Inclusion management in a robust, reliable and valid way. Furthermore, it reflects Diversity in its composition and structure.

60 new studies were added to the previous version (IBCR 2012-XL, 135 studies) following a rigorous selection process. This growth represents a new milestone in the history of the Business Case for Diversity.The 2014 research initially found 158 studies on the effect of Diversity & Inclusion in scientific and other literature databases. All studies were checked for significance of results, robustness, validity, reliability, and (if applicable) against biases such as reverse causality, endogeneity bias etc. As a result, 51 studies were excluded, 47 were included as references in our “Further Reading” section as they did not meet the full set of criteria but still appear to be of interest, and 55 studies and 5 literature reviews were actually added to the core content of IBCR 3.0. The quality of these studies is illustrated by the fact that over 90% of them was conducted in an academic context and/or published in renowned journals.

The new body of research consistently confirms findings of previous studies and even adds in-depth insight: Many studies go beyond simple causalities and also show mediating or moderating factors. Hence, the International Business Case Report 3.0 provides new information about the conditions under which Diversity will reveal its full potential and thus delivers concrete practical relevance.

Cross-sectional research represents the largest category among the various Diversity dimensions, accounting for 32% of all studies and hence underlines one central idea of D&I: to connect different topics on a consistent platform (rather than seeing them as competing silohs). IBCR 3.0 covers 6 out of 7 Diversity dimensions, namely the core dimensions Gender, Ethnicity/Culture, Age, Sexual Orientation and Disability, as well as Work/Life-Balance. Religion still has not been covered by academic business case research. However, in the light of current and recent incidents, nobody could argue that the issue wasn’t relevant.

The new report covers all the areas, in which value can be added through D&I, namely (internally) the organisational, interpersonal and individual levels and (externally) clients & markets, shareholders and labour markets. The largest increase in robust research is noted in the financial performance area, were eight new studies were added to the previous four.

The studies included in IBCR 3.0 come originate from no less than 28 different countries or regions, and 41% of the newly added studies have examined the business case for D&I in a European country, 30% in the U.S. and another 9% have a truly global or pan-national scope.

The latest International Business Case Report also covers an impressive time-span of 28 years of evidence: 23% of the studies was published between 2012 and 2014, and almost 50% is from the past 5 years. On the other hand, IBCR contains six studies from the D&I founding decade, 1986 to 1996.

All in all, the International Business Case Report 3.0 (2014) is a unique collection of 195 selected high-quality scientific studies from various countries and regions, covering most Diversity dimensions and benefit areas, each summarised on a single page, for you to have a full reference of evidence on the Business Case for Diversity.

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