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Diversity Decoupling in Top European Corporations: Myth or Fact?


  • Claudia Toma
  • Rik Janssens
  • Valérie De Cock


Today many organizations make public statements to express their engagement with diversity, while progress in this domain remains low. In this research we examined the talk-walk decoupling in the domain of diversity by analyzing how the top 50 largest European companies formally talk about diversity and what information they disclose about diversity actions and metrics. Qualitative analyses on websites and official reports showed that diversity talk is omnipresent: 98% of organizations talk about diversity, 66% have a diversity page, but only 48% included diversity in their business core and only 8% have a clear definition of diversity. Symbolic diversity actions, such as external partnerships, are more represented (98%) than key internal actions such as diversifying the staffing (66%). The analysis of diversity metrics showed that transparency about the corporate workforce diversity is low. Gender is disclosed by all companies, while race, ethnicity and sexual orientation are disclosed by 16%, 38% and 6% of them. Importantly, quantitative analyses on gender indicate that the corporate diversity talk is negatively related to the percentage of women in the workforce. The results are discussed in relation with the diversity decoupling phenomenon.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Toma & Rik Janssens & Valérie De Cock, 2023. "Diversity Decoupling in Top European Corporations: Myth or Fact?," Working Papers CEB 23-005, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/360040

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Val Singh & Sébastien Point, 2004. "Strategic Responses by European Companies to the Diversity Challenge: an Online Comparison," Post-Print hal-03795234, HAL.
    2. Brooklyn Cole & Manjula Salimath, 2013. "Diversity Identity Management: An Organizational Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 116(1), pages 151-161, August.
    3. Point, Sébastien & Singh, Val, 2003. "Defining and Dimensionalising Diversity:: Evidence from Corporate Websites across Europe," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 750-761, December.
    4. M. Ishaq Bhatti & H. Awan & Z. Razaq, 2014. "The key performance indicators (KPIs) and their impact on overall organizational performance," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(6), pages 3127-3143, November.
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