REPORT: Shifting the Paradigm: Diversity Communication on Corporate Web sites
( Source: Public Relations Journal)
In recent years, diversity has been one of the prominent issues that companies have addressed on their Web sites. Yet, few studies have investigated public relations efforts on diversity
communication via corporate Web sites. Using S&P 500 companies as a sample, this study examined how corporate-level public relations efforts position diversity in Web communication with the public.
The results of this study suggest that diversity communication on the S&P Web sites reflected a diversity management paradigm, positioning diversity as requisite variety and competitive advantage.
Occasionally, diversity was linked to corporate social responsibility. Based on the results, this article argues that,
beyond requisite variety or moral responsibility, diversity should be conceptualized as a core company value
established through dialogue.
After recent examples of racial discrimination class action suits, like those against Texaco, which paid $176.1 million, and Coca-Cola, which paid $192.5 million, to settle racial discrimination litigation, corporate diversity issues in the United States have received close scrutiny from both public and private entities. Corporate diversity successes and failures are frequently cited in the popular press, and major news outlets release rankings based on corporate diversity performance (e.g., CNN Money’s Top 100 Most Diverse Companies to Work For, DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for
Diversity). Diversity issues have gained publicity and stakeholder attention, increasing the need for efficient diversity communication in corporate organizations. Against this background, public relations practitioners can play a key role in communicating approaches to diversity, thus advancing a genuine dialogue with primary stakeholders—employees, investors, customers, suppliers, and community residents
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