The purpose of this study is to provide a practical framework for business and human resources (HR) practitioners to drive diversity in their organizations in a manner that can promote better business results.
The authors’ team led personal one-on-one interviews with 31 global and regional chief executive officers (CEOs) of Asia-based businesses across a wide range of sectors. The authors distilled the qualitative content of these individual conversations into an overall framework, supported by anecdotal evidence and key lessons learned from the majority of respondents. It is also highlighted in this study where a common view could not be obtained on certain topics, though cases have been rare.
The authors found an overwhelming alignment on how CEOs think about how to promote diversity of thought in their organizations. At a high level, the authors agreed that this is a complex issue which cannot be easily measured and needs to be tackled by using a holistic approach across several dimensions. These include the need to use a context-based definition of diversity, the pitfalls of measuring diversity by using an overly narrow lens (e.g. gender or ethnic), the requirement to create a bias-free culture where diverse opinions can flourish and be listened to and the need for supporting HR systems and processes.
This study provides a comprehensive framework for companies to drive diversity of thought in their organizations. This approach goes beyond the commonly used methods of using targets and quotas to push for diversity and takes a holistic look at the issue including the roles that individual business leaders and company culture can play in the process.
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