What role can CEOs play in driving change on diversity? Winning hearts and minds – How CEOs talk about gender parity is one of the first studies on this topic, and gives fresh insights into the specific contribution that can be made by business leaders to achieve lasting change on diversity and inclusion in their organisations.
“In the report we argue that the ability to talk about the business case for diversity isn’t sufficient for CEOs to drive the kinds of behavioural change needed to increase the number of women at senior levels” – says Dr Elisabeth Kelan, Department of Management, King’s College London, author of the research.
The report looks at six critical leadership behaviours that CEOs and other senior leaders can employ to support gender parity : accountability, developing ownership, communicating, leading by example, initiating and culture change. “Our interest was in exploring how, if at all, CEOs brought these critical leadership behaviours to life in their own organisations.”
According to Simon Collins, UK Chairman of KPMG, who presented the report at the World Economic Forum in Davos, CEOs may tend to over-rely on the evidence of the business case. He summarizes his personal take-away from Dr. Kelan’s research in these terms: “The CEOs in this report reveal what we already know – that our most successful efforts to mobilise our people to take action happen when we speak from the heart, about our personal motivation for change, underpinned by sound commercial sense”.