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Why the ‘Business Case’ for Diversity Doesn’t Work: Rotman Professor Sarah Kaplan for Fast Company

Diversity is good for the workplace. The so-called “business case for diversity,” isn’t. Popular as it may be—trumpeted everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to the Financial Times—the “business case” is ultimately a failed strategy. Here to explain why is Rotman professor Sarah Kaplan in Fast Company.

Despite its popularity, the “business case” for diversity isn’t making any strides in terms of actual equality, says Sarah Kaplan, a business professor who runs the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the Rotman School. According to the 2020 Global Gender Gap report by the World Economic Forum, we’re still 50 years off of achieving gender parity in Europe, and more than double that in North America. “Corporate leaders would be better served if they stopped trying to justify diversity with profit margins and stock charts—a mentality that can ultimately hurt the very groups these policies are meant to help—and instead embrace diversity because it is the right thing to do,” Kaplan writes in her new op-ed for Fast Company.


Kaplan outlines where this business case argument originated, why it’s built on false promises, and why it has the unintended consequence of hurting those it claims to champion. “The business case language has a way of making people feel ‘othered’ and devalued,” notes Kaplan. Instead, she offers a blueprint for what leaders and organizations can do, starting with the principled action being modeled by progressive organizations.


Read the full article here.


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