Good for society (and for CSR)

Even as a tough business approach, D&I generates positive effects for society. Above all, because it not only recognises the value of diverse social groups but makes them a valuable resource – and an advantage for everyone.

When thinking of D&I, many get stuck with compliance and legal requirements and some think of social responsibility. Both hold associations to disadvantaged groups and this can additionally obscure the view of untapped potential. Compare for yourself the effects of different reasons or drives for D&I.

How strong the message and meaning changes with perspective

Let’s compare legal, social and business reasons for D&I.

  • If we do D&I because we are legally required to – we will do as much as we have to. Full stop.
  • If we do D&I because it’s a corporate responsibility – we will do as much as we can afford, and we will feel good.
  • If we do D&I because it drives innovation, propels market penetration and multiplies engagement – we will continue and we will not stop, for the sky is the limit.

If you now think of a combination, please also consider that one (main) message will stick – and it’s your audience who decides which one that is, not you as a strategist.

Why D&I should be separated from CSR as a business value-add

Morale, ethics and responsibility – these paradigms are great partners for D&I but they are limited AND they set an unfortunate tone about so-called subordinate groups. The reasons why some groups are disadvantaged or underprivileged have much less to do with the members of these groups than with the dominating mainstream systems. Nevertheless, D&I support programmes continue to convey messages about deficits and areas of development. Instead, D&I should focus on the potential of differences and the power of inclusion. And we should show how much of this is often wasted – and ask why companies can still afford this (waste).

Utilising economic value for social purpose

Our experience very clearly shows that D&I receives the attention it deserves when we present it as a positive paradigm only. The Propelling Performance Principle serves as an example for doing this successfully. Once a robust change agenda is set, based on a clear business case, it will be easy for your organisation to identify overlaps and design D&I-related programmes that serve a social purpose. This is when different elements connect effectively and come together strongly. ENGINEERING D&I.

Further Reading

A government that represents the Best of Society

Read about the myth of silent majorities

Which current topics D&I should tackle next


More about the societal value of D&I in Michael Stuber’s book (German language)
„Diversity & Inclusion“