The New Chief Diversity Officer: Establishing a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Initiative

The New Chief Diversity Officer: Establishing a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Initiative

Brendon C. Fox
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-4023-0.ch002
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CDOs face a multitude of challenges both in academic and corporate settings. As a result, these positions have high burnout and turnover. This chapter examines the history, demography, and environmental settings of the CDO, how the field has evolved, and the status of the practice. The chapter explores and recommends success strategies for newly appointed diversity officers, those entering the field, and considerations for hiring authorities. There are distinct differences between inclusion efforts, antiracism, and how DEIB initiatives are set up in corporations and academia. This chapter attempts to identify problems in the field, examine the current status of DEIB, and offer implications for future practice.
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The Evolution of a New Field

Since Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives in higher education and the private sector are a new and burgeoning field of practice; it is essential to understand the historical contexts in which the CDO finds themselves and how they can maneuver a successful change strategy. Organizational inclusion originates from the post-World War II Army Language Program (ALP). ALP was established to help the army gain a strategic military advantage (Sokol, 1946) and subsequently adopted by other branches of the military and the Federal employment system to make federal programs more efficient. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to enforce civil rights laws against discrimination, suggesting that inclusion and diversity were foreign concepts imposed on existing workplaces and society at large. Given the recent shift toward social justice guided by changing demographics, evolving perspectives in divergent racial and gender experiences, and the realization that diversity improves organizational performance, DEIB has emerged as an essential organizational construct that originates internally rather than being policed and enforced by external entities.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cultural Competence: The ability to understand, appreciate and interact with people from cultures or belief systems different from one's own. A willingness to learn about the cultural practices and worldview of others. A positive attitude toward cultural differences and a readiness to accept and respect those differences.

Organizational Culture: The collection of values, expectations, and practices that guide and inform the actions of all team members.

Antiracism: Structured, conscious, and deliberate actions that intend to provide opportunities for all people on both an individual and systemic level. It acknowledges personal privileges, confronting acts and systems of racial discrimination, and/or works to change personal racial biases.

Managerial Emotional Intelligence: The ability of managers to be emotionally self-aware, self-regulated, achievement-oriented, have empathy, and have requisite social skills in building rapport.

Critical Race Theory: An intellectual and social movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of color.

Organizational Justice: The idea that an action or decision is morally right, which may be defined according to ethics, religion, fairness, equity, or the law. Perceptions of justice influence many key organizational outcomes, such as motivation and job satisfaction.

Organizational Citizenship Behavior: All the positive and constructive employee actions and behaviors that aren't part of their formal job description. These behaviors deal with the actions and behaviors that are not required by the organization of workers. They are not critical to the job, but benefit the team and encourage even greater organizational functioning and efficiency. This is typically categorized as a worker “going above and beyond” or “giving their all.”

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