Research: When Boards Broaden Their Definition of Diversity, Women and People of Color Lose Out

Over the last several years, competing notions of “diversity” have emerged. In many corners, the traditional definition, focused on demographic diversity, has been eclipsed by a new concept centered on experiential or cognitive differences. Deloitte, a provider of advisory services to firms around the globe, including 85% of the Fortune 500, encapsulates the trend, noting, “Up to now, diversity initiatives have focused primarily on fairness for legally protected populations. But organizations now have an opportunity to harness a more powerful and nuanced kind of diversity: diversity of thought.” Similarly, Korn Ferry, a global management consulting firm, urges firms to reorient their recruiting efforts to emphasize “diverse perspectives, experiences, and contributions.”

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