Equality, diversity and inclusion as a moralized market

Navn på bevillingshaver

Florence Villesèche


Copenhagen Business School


DKK 4,555,905




Semper Ardens: Accelerate


Business research on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion -EDI- in the workplace focuses on what happens inside public and private organization, i.e. diversity management. We thus oversee a variety of actors who engage with EDI as expert suppliers such as consulting and search firms, associations and NGOs, or even business networks. It follows that we know little about the role such actors play in influencing the EDI agenda in the workplace and the type of change being achieved, in particular with regards to the balance between the business and ethical dimensions.


This project breaks new ground by shifting our attention to the variety of actors that engage with EDI as expertise suppliers. Furthermore, this stretches our attention to the relations amongst these actors as well as to the relations between these actors and their client organisations - rather than focusing on the virtuousness of their common goals. The project also contributes to leveraging the use of network analysis in diversity research. The main objectives are to: 1. Theorize EDI as a moralized market and approach it empirically as a sociological field: 2. Study the positions and relationships of actors in the EDI field with social network analysis (SNA): 3. Conduct a qualitative investigation of the sensemaking and identity work of the experts conducting EDI work.


Sub-project 1: EDI as a moralized market: a neo- institutional perspective. Collected data will include media search, interviews with key actors (including snowball sampling), and documentation of field-defining events (social, political, legal, economical). Sub-project 2: Who works with whom, and why? A social network analysis of the EDI field in Denmark. To complement the data collected in sub-project 1 we will use network surveys to gather missing information from the key actors. Sub-project 3: Professional activists or ethical capitalists? Sensemaking and identity work of EDI experts. Data consists in EDI experts interviews, to understand how they make sense of the business-ethics continuum in their personal beliefs vs in what they 'sell' to firms.

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