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The Greene Center Employer Challenge - Business Resources for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Home

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Overview and Definitions

Although matters related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are typically covered most extensively in the humanities, sociology, politics, and current affairs, there are a wide range of business-specific aspects that are becoming increasingly critical in the business world. This guide will lead you to our selection of the most relevant, credible and useful databases, books, journals, as well as free-on-the-Web open sources to help you do your best research in this area.

In publishing this guide, we'd like to acknowledge several other academic libraries, which have also published research guides on this topic, and which we consulted to supplement the research we did for this guide:

  • The University of Iowa
  • The University of Michigan
  • Cornell University
  • Stanford University;and
  • Boston University.

As in all things, it is best to begin with some definitions. The below definitions are derived from the American Library Association's Glossary of Terms

“Equity” is not the same as formal equality. Formal equality implies sameness. Equity, on the other hand, assumes difference and takes differences into account to ensure a fair process and, ultimately, a fair (or equitable) outcome. Equity recognizes that some groups were (and are) disadvantaged in accessing educational and employment opportunities and are, therefore, underrepresented or marginalized in many organizations and institutions. The effects of that exclusion often linger systemically within organizational policies, practices, and procedures. Equity, therefore, means increasing diversity by ameliorating conditions of disadvantaged groups.

“Diversity” can be defined as the sum of the ways that people are both alike and different. Visible diversity is generally those attributes or characteristics that are external. However, diversity goes beyond the external to internal characteristics that we choose to define as ‘invisible’ diversity. Invisible diversity includes those characteristics and attributes that are not readily seen. When we recognize, value, and embrace diversity, we are recognizing, valuing, and embracing the uniqueness of each individual. 

“Inclusion” means an environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully; are valued for their distinctive skills, experiences, and perspectives; have equal access to resources and opportunities; and can contribute fully to the organization’s success. 


As you go through this guide, please also remember that the Simon School also has collected a wide range of advice, information, and resources on diversity. You can link directly to that page, Simon Diversity Resources page, here.

Image from DJA Consulting: Next Generation Leadership:

"Woke Washing"

When thinking about matters about how businesses integrate and follow the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion within their organization, it is prudent to be aware of the dangers of "woke washing"--a term that is used to describe companies that only give lip service to the principles and values of DEI, but whose actual actions do not reflect any meaningful changes. This problem is often encountered in advertising, marketing, branding, but can also be found in other areas such as efforts in creating a diverse workforce, cultivating leadership paths and opportunities for women, people of color and other marginalized groups, and in composition of corporate boards.

A simple Google search on "woke washing" will retrieve dozens of articles that explore current issues, concerns, and cases.