Focusing on communication strategy to enhance diversity climates

Academic Article


  • Purpose This paper aims to discuss the importance of organisations paying closer attention to their corporate language policies as a strategy for embracing diversity in their workforce. Design/methodology/approach An exploratory study of the web sites of companies recognized for their diversity efforts is conducted to highlight their communication strategy, in particular the terminology used to refer to nonwhites. Findings This research found that the language used in corporate communications to refer to nonwhites varies even among companies that have been highly recognized for their diversity efforts. While the web sites clearly revealed the companies' commitment to diversity, the difficulty associated with this controversial issue can also be seen. An argument is made that organisations should eliminate the use of the term “minority” from their communications in an effort to enhance their diversity climate and more accurately reflect their commitment to diversity. Research limitations/implications This research relied on web site content analysis and only the sites of companies that have been highly recognized for their diversity efforts were considered. Practical implications The paper shows that as the debate about the use of the term “minorities” continues, companies that embrace diversity should pay close attention to the language used in their corporate communications to ensure that the messages and signals they send consistently mirror their beliefs and perceptions of various stakeholders. Originality/value This research may be of special interest to communication strategists and persons within the organisation that are interested in improving their corporate image and addressing the behaviours and attitudes of the organisation's stakeholders. © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cox Edmondson V; Gupte G; Oliver N; Draman RH
  • Start Page

  • 6
  • End Page

  • 20
  • Volume

  • 13
  • Issue

  • 1