This explorative study has analyzed the development of diversity communication, based on three diversity perspectives (moral, market, and innovation), in 687 annual reports of 30 organizations from eight working sectors in the Netherlands from 2010 till 2020 through automated content analysis. The purpose of this study was to better understand the trends in diversity communication over time and between different types of organizations, which has not been researched before. Therefore, this study can be considered highly relevant due to the rising importance of diversity in the workforce and the need from the business field, such as communication professionals, to learn more about this development, but also because of the demand from the academic field to fill the research gap regarding large-scale studies on diversity perspectives. Accordingly, the following two research questions were formulated: 1. How has the prevalence of the three diversity perspectives in annual reports developed over time? 2. Are there differences in prevalence or development of the perspectives between sectors? The research questions were answered through a quantitative content analysis of diversity perspectives via the validated automatic coding tool DivPAR, complemented by regression analyses, ANOVA, and one-sample t-tests in SPSS. In conclusion, this study found significant and positive effects for the development over time for all three diversity perspectives which means that all perspectives were mentioned to a greater extent over time in the annual reports. More precisely, the moral perspective was overall the most popular perspective in diversity communication among all sectors and found the strongest positive effect over time. Besides that, this study was the first to find out that there are significant differences in diversity communication between organizations from distinct working sectors, based on a manually created industry classification for the Dutch economy. In particular, the services and consultancy sector communicated mostly on diversity for all three motivations while the sectors of agriculture and food processing, and retail communicated the least about diversity. Despite that, this study found no significant differences regarding the development of diversity communication over time between the sectors which means that all three diversity perspectives were communicated more over time in all sectors. Everything considered, the findings of this study reveal insights in organizational diversity communication over time and between sectors, which is, in the first place, useful for society and academics, to get a better understanding of how organizations deal with diversity communication, and, in the second place, for communication professionals, to optimize communications and improve organizational reputation management.

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Dr. Joep Hofhuis
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Loes Lammers. (2022, June 27). Development of Organizational Diversity Communication Over Time and Between Working Sectors Automated Content Analysis of Cultural Diversity Perspectives in Annual Reports (DivPAR). Media & Business. Retrieved from