Business Advocacy Leaders Send Letter to CEOs

By: Keli Wilson

DCI recently released a blog sharing the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) drive to get the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to recommit to their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts by January 31, 2024. Shortly after this letter was sent, 12 CEOs of various business advocacy organizations sent a letter to Fortune 500 executives meant to express support for DEI programs in the face of lawsuits and other backlash to DEI. 

In this letter, the group of CEOs referenced research from five sources including the Morning Consult for the Public Private Strategies Institute, the Corporate Diversity Index, the Harris Poll for the Black Economic Alliance Foundation, a McKinsey & Company research study, and a Gallup study to underscore the importance and benefits of DEI work.  

Potential Unintended Consequences of DEI Efforts 

Part of the backlash and challenges to DEI efforts is that there can be unintended consequences that present when an initiative is taken too far or is not scientifically based. Some examples include: 

  • Change management not effective due to lack of reliance on theories and practices based on empirical research​; 
  • Discrimination claims due to overly assertive or overly broad commitments to increase specific demographic representation in the workforce​; and 
  • Distrust of the merit-based selection processes​ used by employers due to awareness of or misunderstandings of DEI practices. 

However, these potential unintended consequences can be avoided by designing DEI initiatives that are data based and do not run afoul of equal employment opportunity or other relevant laws. 

What’s Next? 

DCI will continue to follow the current activities in the DEI realm and monitor the impact these efforts have on reaffirmations from corporate America. 

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