Why I chose to research EDI
I chose to research EDI as it is not only a new field of research but also a literature that constantly needs updating as our legal, social and philosophical understanding and framework evolves.
My research question and the method I used to explore it
My research question was, ‘The incidence of sexual identities on expected treatment at recruitment: jobseeker sensitivity to Corporate Social Performance exhibiting LGBTQ+ Community initiatives’.
I used quantitative methods to be able to bring a data contribution to the EDI literature, as it remains qualitative-dominated in my opinion.
I recruited 161 participants via social media. There was no exclusion factor, so although the respondents were interested in the UK overall, the sample was too international to be representative of the UK population.
I analysed the data using statistical software by dividing responses by gender and self-identified sexual orientation, to be able to compare group against group.
Some of the thought-provoking findings that practitioners should be aware of
Straight respondents may also have homosexual fantasies or behaviours, or they may be very involved with the LGBTQ+ community. As such, think about whether creating a LGBTQ+ resource group would be exclusionary of these allies.
Sexuality is fluid in time and in nature, and no definition of sexual orientation is universal. Should this be an important factor in your line management, try discussing with employees on a regular conversational basis to learn what solution would work best for them, rather than offering a solution to a whole group of people who share ‘the same’ label.
My research found that non-straight respondents reacted less positively to LGBTQ+ marketing and Corporate Social Performance disclosure than straight respondents. This suggests ‘pink washing’ — e.g. using queer issues as marketing — may have the opposite effect than expected. Instead, try addressing the heart of the issue.
Finally, there was no real difference in how respondents expected to be treated depending on the amount of LGBTQ+ marketing or Corporate Social Performance displayed. It seems that any information that could help showcase a culture of inclusion and acceptance is appreciated!
Some ideas for future research based on the study I conducted
Do not assume that one definition of someone’s sexual orientation relates to a specific sexual behaviour or fantasy, for example that people who identify as ‘Straight’ don’t have any homosexual behaviours or fantasies: It’s a spectrum! In my research, about 10% of the respondents who identified as “Straight cisgender women” had more homosexual behaviours and fantasies than the average “Bisexual cisgender woman” respondent.
With that in mind, the rationale to exclude straight respondents from LGBTQ+ studies may be exclusionary in certain topics. Think about whether your exclusion criteria (for example, ‘being LGBTQ+’) would also exclude people who are not ‘out’ or whose understanding of their sexuality is different than yours.
Advice I have for others looking to study EDI
Reach out to EDI researchers about their ethical considerations and how they chose to proceed with their research. It’s probably better to have another’s perspective when trying new things and researching brand new considerations.