The Confident Proponent in 2020 Part Two: The Social Justice Case Is Forever and the Business Case Is Sailing Along
The Practical Lawyer, 66(2), 10-15, 2020
5 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2020
Date Written: April 6, 2020
The following article, published in April 2020 in The Practical Lawyer magazine, is the second in a series on the promise of diversity and inclusion (D & I) initiatives for the workplace in the new decade. It revisits two familiar cases for D & I in the workplace — the social justice and business cases — and renews them with analysis and evidence to support them.
The author suggests that the social justice case for diversity and inclusion is based on seemingly unshakable moral principles of equality and justice. And yet, the social justice case may be unconvincing to anyone who does not believe there are significant barriers to equity and justice in the workplace. The author then presents scholarly research establishing such barriers, thereby salvaging the strength of the social justice case for diversity as long as barriers to equity and justice exist.
The author defines the business case for diversity as the proposition that diversity in the workplace yields a return on investment [ROI] that makes implementing D & I initiatives worth their cost. The strength of the business case varies according to several factors: what return on investment is sought, whether the diversity initiative is well funded and well implemented, and whether the ROI is appropriately measured and disseminated to the stakeholders of the business in question. The author then presents data indicating excellent returns of various kinds on investments in well designed, well measured diversity and inclusion initiatives, thereby concluding that the more such data is collected and studied, the stronger the business case for diversity will be.
The author concludes that the proponent for D & I initiatives in 2020 can and should be confident because the social justice and business cases for D & I, resting on moral and investment premises, respectively, each have strong and growing evidence to support them.
Keywords: Diversity, Inclusion, Diversity and Inclusion, the Business Case for Diversity, the Social Justice Case for Diversity, Diversity in the Workplace, Inclusion in the Workplace
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