The author, Dean E. Mundy, Ph.D., examined the role diversity plays in the public relations practice and the extent to which an organization’s diversity values contribute to ethical stakeholder engagement.
Mundy used a survey method, surveying 5,000 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) members to examine specifically how public relations and communication professionals perceive the role of diversity within their organizations and within the discipline generally.
· 35% of respondents (n=81) indicated that the diversity policy was somewhat or extremely important; 35% (n=82) indicated a neutral stance; and 31% (n=72) indicated that it had little-to-no influence on their decision.
· 81% of respondents (n=212) felt that LGBT-specific policies are somewhat or extremely important
o 83% of respondents (n=217) felt that LGBT-specific programs are somewhat or extremely important
o 20% of respondents (n=52) felt that their organization does a below average or poor job in terms of initiating these policies and programs
· 74% of respondents (n=178) argued that it is either somewhat or extremely important to communicate diversity policies and programs externally
o 9% of respondents (n=22) argued that diversity-focused external communication was either somewhat or extremely unimportant, with the balance remaining neutral (n=42, 17%)
Conclusion and Implications on the Practice:
Most respondents said their organization generally does well with implementing diversity policies and programs, including those specific to the LGBT community, and they felt that their organization employee base reflects a wide range of minority groups. The survey responses were consistent, generally revealing three key findings that inform public relations practice and ethical stakeholder engagement.
Going forward, the challenge is connecting diversity more concretely to the public relations practice and theory. The findings suggest that communicating diversity and commitment to multiculturalism builds trust with stakeholders, indicates the organization’s openness to dialogue and change, and reinforces its investment in evolving local communities.
Read more of this study’s findings online, here.
Mundy, D., Ph.D. (2015). From Principle to Policy to Practice? Diversity as a Driver of Multicultural, Stakeholder Engagement in Public Relations. Public Relations Journal, 9.