Creating the Kaleidoscope: An Exploratory Study of Chief Diversity Officers' Role in Promoting and Sustaining Diversity and Inclusion in Organizations Open Access
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Given the widespread impact of globalization, diversity and inclusion in organizations have become increasingly popular. There has been an influx of programs and initiatives that are focused on managing a diverse workforce. While some of these efforts have been successful, leaders struggle to sustain progress. The real issue lies in leadership creating a culture of diversity and inclusion that is sustainable regardless of turnover, downsizing, restructuring, or market trends. In this qualitative study, the researcher explored the role of the Chief Diversity Officer in promoting and sustaining diversity and inclusion in organizations. Using semi-structured interviews, the researcher interviewed ten Chief Diversity Officers or the role equivalent from ten private sector companies. Views were captured regarding the concept, roles, functions, and practices of these officers in organizations, which have led to diversity and inclusion success and sustainability. The findings of the study suggest that there are a number of critical roles and responsibilities that are necessary to successfully promote and sustain diversity and inclusion. These roles center on the following themes: leadership commitment and accountability; research and measurement; education; changes and alignment in culture and management systems; follow-up; and continuous improvement efforts. This research is significant because it addresses an important gap in understanding how leaders shape organizational culture for diversity and inclusion success and sustainability. This study will help to further research in the areas of leadership, organizational culture and sustainable workplace diversity and inclusion. It also sheds light on the evolving and critical role of Chief Diversity Officers.