Alana Peaches Aragon


This thesis examined diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies and barriers in businesses. I examined the literature on diversity management and inclusion and compared it with primary data taken through personal interviews with nine field experts. This comparison revealed that some field practice did match the literature. The literature and interviewees commonly identified D&I as crucial to the success of employees and the business. In particular, the practitioners emphasized the importance of D&I being clearly communicated as crucial and valued in the organization. However, the analysis also identified the discrepancies between the research and the real-world implementation of D&I. The majority of these discrepancies were found in the terminology used by practitioners and the barriers in the D&I field. The interviewees also pointed out that research on D&I in academia is not utilized widely in practice.  According to the field experts I interviewed, the principal drivers of D&I include: structural policies and procedures, intentional recruiting, affinity groups, D&I councils, education and training, and promotion consideration. Whereas the main barriers for D&I turn out to be attitudinal barriers including resistance, bias, the feeling of being threatened and, to some extent, the structure of the organization. Additionally, the interviewees alluded to the idea of D&I as a spectrum and emphasized the importance of continued learning, and explained the internal processes and surveys used to evaluate gaps in where their organization is failing at D&I. These findings implicate a need for the implementation and constant adjustment of D&I strategies to build inclusive organizations.