To find leaders who were at the forefront of the diversity movement, we first identified companies with reputations for successfully leveraging diversity. We then assessed their progress at creating inclusive cultures by examining, where available, employment statistics, leadership attitudes, and thirdparty recognition. (Information pertaining to employment statistics and third-party recognition was collected using public sources.

Leadership attitudes were assessed on the basis of public sources, published interviews, and involvement in diversity initiatives.) We also took cultural differences into account.

For example, 6% of the Japanese automaker Nissan’s management is female, a ratio that sounds dismal from a U.S. citizen’s vantage point.

But the Japanese national average for female representation in management is 2%; Nissan is actually significantly ahead of the curve.

After identifying these companies, we selected CEOs to participate in interviews as part of an exploratory study. We wanted them to represent different industries and regions, as well as different stages of inclusivity. For example, some of the companies had well-established practices for leveraging diversity, while others were initially developing practices. We also asked CEOs whom among their peers they admired for creating inclusive cultures and used this information as leads to other companies and other CEOs.

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