How to research diversity in a fortune 500 company
Related to an assignment in the course Diversity in the Workplace.
Step 1: Identify your company
Review the list at: Fortune 500
Once you've decided on your company, the next step is to get its official name. Google "company name" "information" and the information will appear in a pane to the right of the search results. You'll see the official name, location of headquarters, ticker symbol, and more. (e.g., Walmart = "Walmart Stores, Inc.")
Some of our business databases have an Advanced Search feature where you can enter that; otherwise, you can just include it in quotes as a keyword.
Step 2: Clarify what you mean by "diversity" in this case
Maybe you are looking for any kinds of diversity issues at all. Or you might look specifically at:
- diversity in hiring
- diversity in employee retention and turnover
- diversity in promotion and compensation
- diversity in harassment, bullying, or unfair distribution of work
- programs and policies to increase diversity
- incidents leading to diversity law suits or penalties
You should also think about whether you want to search for all aspects of diversity, or diversity along a particular axis:
- culture, language, religion, immigrant or refugee status
- veteran status
- gender identity
- sexual orientation
- even non-protected categories like looks, weight, social class, region of origin, politics, whether or not a person has a spouse and/or children, or prior felony conviction
If you already know about a situation or issue in the company you want to research, you may start out fairly specific. If you don't, you will want to start out general. Then once you have an ide of what situations or issues are relevant, you can do more specific searches.
Whatever you are looking for at the beginning, you can expect it to evolve as you search for information and review the information that you find. This is a normal part of the research process.
Step 3: Find your company's diversity statement/policy
This will be an excellent primary source for you to use, and you can find it by Googling. Find their corporate web site--not their shopfront, but their public face that's aimed at investors and other businesses. Here's an example of how that search might go:
- I Google "walmart stores" "corporate" and find corporate.walmart.com
- Then I Google that website and "diversity" (e.g., corporate.walmart.com "diversity"). When I search this, six results down, I found a Diversity & Inclusion Report from this past year.
- That's not the policy though, so I Google corporate.walmart.com "diversity policy". They buried it a little bit, but I found on their Corporate Responsibility web site.
Sometimes it takes a little digging, but now I have two primary sources that are essential to demonstrating that I know what I'm talking about with regard to this company and diversity.
Bear in mind that this is the company talking about itself. It is going to try to make itself look good. Primary sources are not always strictly true and unbiased in what they say, but they are first-hand, straight from the source, and that is where their value lies.
Step 4: Search for some news articles
Fortune 500 companies make the news all the time, because their activities impact the national and world economy in everything from stock prices to job markets, and they affect governments as well. If they make a diversity move that they think will make investors, consumers, or the government look favorably on them, they will issue a press release. If they get in trouble for diversity issues, it will be reported on whether they like it or not.
The SUNY Empire Online Library has many newspaper databases, which you can access individually by clicking Newspapers on the library home page. Or, you can search them all simultaneously:
- Go to the library website at http://www.esc.edu/library
- Go to the OneSearch search bar
- Enter your search terms. If you do not have good luck the first time, check out this advice on how to construct an effective database search: Boolean Operators
- Once you've entered your search terms and clicked the Search button, you should have your results list. Go to the left side of the page where it says Source Types, and put a check in the box for News.
Step 4: Find Scholarly Articles
Here is a list of business databases from our Business, Management & Economics subject guide.
Here is some advice on searching the databases:
Remember to choose the checkbox for "Scholarly" or "Peer Reviewed" when you see it in your search results list. That will eliminate most everything else.
And if at any point you can't get something to work or you can't make sense of something, just Ask A Librarian. We are here to help!