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“The Effects of DEI Initiatives within Organizations: How Can We Improve Them?”

Author: Nicholas T. Hart

Department: UIC Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement

Advisors: Dr. Matthew Wilson, UIC Great Cities Institute (GCI)
Dr. Joseph K. Hoereth, UIC Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement
Ryan Fulgham, UIC Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement

Abstract: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives, or DEI Initiatives, have attempted to bring population diversity into organizations since the 1960s. However, despite DEI initiatives being around since the 1960s, organizations have yet to progress toward increasing diversity and inclusive practices. On March 6, 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed “Executive Order No. 10925”, more commonly known as Affirmative Action, to ensure that applicants are treated equally regardless of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Three years later, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed to prohibit employment discrimination by large employers. Throughout this time, numerous former Presidents, from Lyndon B. Johnson to George H.W. Bush, have made amendments to help expand the opportunities for people of color to advance. This project presents a meta-analysis of research that assesses the effectiveness of DEI initiatives, more specifically focused on race and ethnicity, by systematically synthesizing different academic papers and articles to merge into a single finding. To help create the most, It finds that with increased initiatives, organizations have seen increased customer satisfaction, better market position, successful decision-making, enhanced ability to reach strategic goals, and a much more robust bottom line. However, to truly create a seismic change, organizations need to prioritize affinity groups within organizations, organizations need to be more intentional with recruitment and outreach, and build a management team that reflects the broad racial diversity.

Keywords: Diversity, inclusion, DEI initiatives, recruitment and outreach, affinity groups, racial diversity