A global perspective on diversity, equity, and inclusion
Deirdre Meursing and Tamara van Steeden from the Nehem DEI Team (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) attended the AOM Annual Meeting in Boston (USA), from 4 to 8 August. The Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management is the world’s largest gathering of management and organization scholars. Besides attending several DEI sessions, they also presented their work during a symposium called ‘Overcoming Gender Bias in Higher Education Institutions: The Importance of Gender Equality Plans’.
50 years of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Nehem DEI Team’s main findings
The AOM DEI Division celebrated this year its 50th anniversary. The division embraces diverse perspectives in organizational research and education, enables equitable treatment and equal outcomes, and supports social justice through the inclusion of marginalized voices in members’ research, teaching, and practice. Although a lot of progress has been achieved during these 50 years, there is also still a long way ahead regarding DEI research. Some of Nehem DEI Team’s main findings from the AOM Annual Meeting 2023:
- There are major differences in priorities between the different continents when it comes to the understanding of diversity in the workplace.
For example, diversity scholars in the North American region focus mainly on ethnicity, whereas in Central and Eastern Europe it is understood as just gender diversity. There are many historical and contextual factors that determine these different perspectives on the concept of diversity in the workplace. For the past years, the European Union has actively prioritized gender equality as a stepping stone towards enabling diversity in general. However, this focus first on gender equality means that in Europe scholars are only starting to make the shift towards broader DEI.
- Not all parts of the world are well represented in DEI research. Regions such as Central and Eastern Europe and the Global South are greatly affected by inequalities, but the number of publications with or by authors from these regions is only very limited so far.
During the sessions, several scholars indicated that the low publication rate of research concerning these (non-Western) regions lies in great part with the journals and publishers. When submitting their research for publication in a high-end journal, they often receive feedback indicating that their research is not relevant enough. This exclusion means that DEI research is mainly but narrowly focused on certain types of ethnic, cultural, and regional backgrounds, creating a silo-effect of knowledge creation. The DEI research field as a whole would benefit of broadening this scope and acknowledging the relevance and importance of marginalized perspectives.
- The work to advance DEI in the workplace increasingly faces active backlash as well as fatigue among employees. A movement against DEI efforts is growing worldwide.
Many people feel aggrieved, insisting that they are losing opportunities because they don’t fall into certain groups that they feel are favoured over others. DEI research tries to understand the obstacles to creating an inclusive working climate, as well as the causes and possible solutions. The backlash and fatigue hinder the efforts in the field of DEI resulting in denial that the problems exist. Moreover, the validity of the DEI research is threatened by positioning perceived inequalities as individual problems. Many DEI researchers feel that their research is not recognized as important. In fact, they believe that the validity of their research field is at stake.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: how to move forward?
The AOM conference has greatly inspired the Nehem DEI Team to continue its work to further DEI in the workplace, whether it concerns Higher Education Institutions, NGOs, or industry organisations. If your organisation is interested in understanding and assessing DEI and wants to know how to move forward, please contact our DEI experts Deirdre Meursing and Tamara van Steeden.
What can Nehem do for you?
Contacting one of the Nehem experts is easy: call 088-8381381 or send us a message using the form below: