May 11, 2022
Across multiple sectors, leaders are striving to ensure that their workforces represent the communities that they serve and seeking to intentionally integrate individual differences into organizational functions and decisions. This document highlights RAND Corporation research on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) that may be applicable to Department of the Air Force (DAF) DEI efforts.
Diversity and inclusion mean different things to different people. Demographic diversity includes differences with respect to an individual's age, race/ethnicity, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, family status, disability status, and geographic origin. Organizations must comply with applicable federal laws that often focus on demographic characteristics and are designed to combat unlawful discrimination and promote equal opportunity in the workplace.
Many organizations, however, consider broader workforce differences when seeking to improve diversity. These include not only demographic characteristics but also differences with respect to skills, styles of thinking, and previous experiences. In addition, organizations have increasingly moved to both address diversity and promote inclusion. Facilitating inclusion involves creating an organizational culture of mutual respect in which all individuals feel free to contribute, with no impediments to their success.
RAND researchers have substantial experience and expertise in designing and conducting studies to support organizational diversity and inclusion initiatives. RAND staff include more than 600 doctoral-level researchers with expertise in a wide range of topics. RAND relies on state-of-the-art methods to evaluate research questions, test hypotheses, and provide organizations with actionable recommendations. RAND researchers have used various methods to conduct DEI studies, including survey design, administration, and analysis; interviews with subject-matter experts; focus groups with members of underrepresented groups; analysis of demographic differences across the federal, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and civilian labor forces; examination of job applicant data; and expert panels on defining and improving DEI efforts.