Our most convincing Business Case for D&I

Everyone probably knows some studies that illustrate the value-add of D&I. Is that enough to convince your stakeholders? Do these studies cover, e.g., the dimensions of religious or functional diversity? The latest global business case inventory identified 181 new studies of which 50 fulfilled strong quality standards.

Did you know that Diversity can reduce securities frauds and help in sudden crises? Or how diversity in emotional intelligence can help sourcing teams? While basic evidence about the business case for D&I has been available for a few years, scientists have since upped their efforts to explore new perspectives and above all: They are applying more sophisticated methodologies today, compared to those utilised in the early years of empirical D&I research.

More than doing maths: statistical robustness tests of business case studies

Large-scale data can provide strong messages, including on D&I. However, doubts may remain regarding the causality or the robustness over time. Therefore, it is important (and encouraging) to know that scientists have started to broaden the scope of their D&I studies and increasingly utilise a longitudinal approach or apply more sophisticated tests to the data (and the results) they generate. In the past two years, 18 studies using a longitudinal design were added to the quality-controlled body of business case research included in the IBCR, a unique collection of robust studies about the benefits of D&I.

Strict selection leads to high quality results – and numbers continue to grow

From the beginning, the key idea of the IBCR research design was to identify existing empirical studies that prove benefits of D&I in a valid and reliable way. This criterion always meant that the majority of initially identified studies were subsequently excluded from the compendium as they did not provide the robustness required to withstand critics. For the latest update of the 2016 version of IBCR, which consisted of 205 studies, the research team found 181 studies that could potentially be included in the 2018 edition. After the quality check, however, only 50 were left.

New topics, new regional distribution, fresh insights

While in the early years, gender clearly dominated D&I research, new topics were added over time. The latest addition includes 13 gender and 13 ethnic studies, 12 inter-sectional and 12 with other topical foci. The latter include religious, functional or psychological diversities. In total IBCR now includes 24 % ethnicity, 23 % gender and 20 % other topics (age, disability or LGBT) as well as 33 % combined or inter-sectional studies.

In terms of provenance, the U.S.A. contributes the largest subgroup of studies (which had not always been the case), followed by global or international studies and studies from China. For the first time, studies from Malaysia and Columbia were included. In total, IBCR consists of 34% European, 32% US American, 11% Asia Pacific, 10% global and 13% regional or other studies.

New framing, different insights, re-confirmed key messages

The newly added body of research strengthens the business case for D&I in that it tested new theories or previously applied theories in a new way including Critical Mass Theory (e.g. regarding the non-linear positive effect of gender diversity and firm performance), Faultline Strength Theory, Information Decision Making Theory and Similar-Attraction Theory.

Most relevant for D&I practitioners is the reconfirmation of the key message, that diversity will not automatically lead to benefits. Mediating and moderating effects continue to be included in the key findings of almost every new study. Moderators include the perception of interactional justice or psychological safety. Similarly, a few studies show that some dimensions will have positive effects when combined with other diversity factors, i.e. when they act in an inter-sectional context. This was the case for religious diversity which showed a positive effect in combination with ethnic or gender diversity, while on its own it had a neutral effect.

Tactical value of robust, multi-fold evidence about value-add of D&I

In many situations along your D&I journey, people will ask you about the benefits your organisation is expecting to reap following the efforts and investments in D&I. IBCR 4 (2018) equips you with a compendium where you are likely to find the best possible answer from a total of more than 250 study results.

# Studies # Pages Year range Number of Geographies Price (EuroZone)


Price (other countries)


255 323 1986 – 2018 30+  780 EUR  970 CHF

Organisations can order their internal copy of IBCR or upgrade their copy of BCR, IBCR, IBCR 2012-XL, IBCR 3.0 (2014) or IBCR 3.1 (2016). Prices exclude VAT, if applicable. Credit card payments can be made through your PayPal account (handling fee applies).

The actual report will be available early November for delivery. Orders can be placed as of now.