Narratives of Diversity in the Corporate Boardroom: What Corporate Insiders Say about Why Diversity Matters
Over the last generation, the concept of diversity has become commonplace and taken-for-granted in discourses ranging from law to education to business. In higher education, for example, it is hard to imagine a faculty job search or a student admissions discussion that was not heavily laden with talk of diversity, in the sense of the representative inclusion of women and racial and ethnic minorities in a group or organization. In this paper we present the results of an interview-based study of the discourse of diversity in a particular business setting: the corporate boardroom. Our principal observation is that—thirty-one years after the Supreme Court’s Bakke decision introduced the term into public discourse--corporate insiders appear not to have arrived at a master narrative to explain the pursuit of diversity on boards of directors. Instead, their accounts stress a variety of factors and feature few concrete examples.