Examining strategic diversity communication on social media using supervised machine learning: Development, validation and future research directions

Joep Hofhuis, João Gonçalves, Pytrik Schafraad, Biyao Wu

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Abstract

In this paper, we present a digital tool named Diversity Perspectives in Social Media (DivPSM) which conducts automated content analysis of strategic diversity communication in organizational social media posts, using supervised machine-learning. DivPSM is trained to identify whether a post makes mention of diversity or a diversity-related issue, and to subsequently code for the presence of three diversity dimensions (cultural/ethnic/racial, gender, and LHGBTQ+ diversity) and three diversity perspectives (the moral, market, and innovation perspectives). In Study 1, we describe the training and validation of the instrument, and examine how it performs compared to human coders. Our findings confirm that DivPSM is sufficiently reliable for use in future research. In study 2, we illustrate the type of data that DivPSM generates, by analyzing the prevalence of strategic diversity communication in social media posts (n = 84,561) of large organizations in the Netherlands. Our results show that in this context gender diversity is most prevalent, followed by LHGBTQ+ and cultural/ethnic/racial diversity. Furthermore, gender diversity is often associated with the innovation perspective, whereas LHGBTQ+ diversity is more often associated with the moral perspective. Cultural/ethnic/racial diversity does not show strong associations with any of the perspectives. Theoretical implications and directions for future research are discussed at the end of the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102431
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalPublic Relations Review
Volume50
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Feb 2024

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