NWO Open Competition XS Grant: ‘Colorwashing’ in Organizational Communication

Good news! This year I will be able to expand my research project on how organizations communicate about diversity, especially focusing on the prevalence of ‘colorwashing’, thanks to a NWO Open Competition XS Grant (https://www.nwo.nl/en/researchprogrammes/open-competition-ssh/granted-projects).

From Colorwashing to Diversity Champion: Using machine learning to examine the relationship between organizational diversity communication and diversity outcomes.

Colorwashing’ is the practice of communicating positive diversity related messages with the goal to increase an organization’s reputation, without a relation to actual or intended diversity activities. Colorwashing increases public scepticism towards diversity communication, and harms existing efforts to increase workplace inclusion. This project uses machine learning algorithms to generate datasets on the prevalence of diversity communication in social media posts and annual reports of multinational organizations, and compares them to actual diversity outcomes. This will provide new knowledge on the how and why of colorwashing in organizational communication, and how to reduce it in the future.

Comparing cultural diversity perspectives among public service employees in the Netherlands – New Publication

EUR Logo

Comparing cultural diversity perspectives among public service employees in the Netherlands in 2008 and 2018
Joep Hofhuis



The Netherlands’ national government (Rijksoverheid) is an example of a large public organization that strives to recruit and retain employees from different cultural groups, and aims to reap the benefits of workplace diversity. Research has shown that a major predictor of the effectiveness of diversity policy and interventions is the diversity perspective of employees, i.e. which outcomes they associate with cultural diversity in their work environment.


The present study compares public servants’ diversity perspectives in two similar independent samples, from 2008 (n = 1,617) and 2018 (n = 2,024), using the Benefits and Threats of Diversity Scale (BTDS; Hofhuis et al., 2015).


Results show that in 2018, employees of the Netherlands’ national government perceived more benefits of diversity for gaining insight about and access to different groups within society. Additionally, contributions of cultural diversity to creativity and innovation within teams are reported significantly more often in 2018 than in 2008.


The findings may be of interest to diversity scholars, since data on changes in cultural diversity perspectives across time are rare, and the paper provides a unique comparison of measurements at two time points, one decade apart, within the same organization.


Hofhuis, J. (2022). Comparing cultural diversity perspectives among public service employees in the Netherlands in 2008 and 2018. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-01-2021-0002

Diversity Perspectives in Annual Reports – New Publication

EUR Logo

Automated content analysis of cultural Diversity Perspectives in Annual Reports (DivPAR): Development, validation, and future research agenda.
Joep Hofhuis, Pytrik Schafraad, Damian Trilling, Nastasia Luca, & Bastiaan van Manen.


Objective: In this article, we present a digital tool (Diversity Perspectives in Annual Reports [DivPAR]) for automated content analysis of annual reports, designed to identify the presence of three cultural diversity perspectives-the Moral, Market, and Innovation perspectives-based on earlier work by Ely and Thomas (2001).

Method: In Study 1, we describe the development and validation of the instrument, through an iterative procedure in which manual annotation of independent subsamples (n = 24, 25) by human coders was compared to the computer coding in subsequent rounds, until sufficient agreement was reached. In Study 2, we illustrate the type of data that the script generates, by analyzing the prevalence of the three perspectives in annual reports of 55 Dutch organizations over a period of 2 decades (1999-2018; n = 937).

Results: Our findings confirm that DivPAR is sufficiently reliable for use in future research. In Study 2, we show that among Dutch organizations, the moral perspective is most prevalent, but the market and innovation perspectives are increasing in popularity.

Conclusion: DivPAR can be used to analyze the prevalence and longitudinal development of diversity perspectives in organizational communication. It enables scholars to draw comparisons across different sectors, regions, or countries, to study how diversity perspectives correlate with societal developments, and to uncover the (lack of) relationships between diversity communication and diversity outcomes. Directions for future research are discussed at the end of the article.

DivPAR is an open-source tool, it is freely available here: https://github.com/joephofhuis/DivPAR


Hofhuis, J., Schafraad, P., Trilling, D., Luca, N., & van Manen, B. (2021). Automated content analysis of cultural Diversity Perspectives in Annual Reports (DivPAR): Development, validation, and future research agenda. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000413

Multicultural personality predicts effectiveness in intercultural simulation game – New Open Access Publication

EUR Logo

Multicultural personality and effectiveness in an intercultural training simulation: The role of stress and pro‐active communication.
Joep Hofhuis, Marike F. Schilderman, & Arjan Verdooren.

Multicultural personality traits have been shown to predict intercultural outcomes in a range of settings. However, how these traits affect behaviour during intercultural interactions remains an understudied area. A study was conducted among participants in intercultural training sessions, to examine whether scores on the five dimensions of the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) could predict how they performed in the intercultural simulation game “Barnga.” Both a self‐rating and other‐rating of intercultural effectiveness were included. Furthermore, we examined whether perceived stress and pro‐active communication played a mediating role. Results of Latent Growth Curve Modelling (LGCM) show that emotional stability has a positive effect on mean scores (intercept) of both self‐rated and other‐rated outcomes, mediated through perceived stress. Social Initiative has a positive effect on the rate of improvement (slope) in other‐rated outcomes during the simulation, mediated through pro‐active communication.

Hofhuis, J., Schilderman, M.F., & Verdooren, A. (2020). Multicultural personality and effectiveness in an intercultural training simulation: The role of stress and pro‐active communication. International Journal of Psychology, 1-10. doi: 10.1002/ijop.12647

Diversity workshops at the municipality of Gouda


Article 1 (non-discrimination clause) of the constitution of the Netherlands is prominently displayed at the entrance of the city hall of Gouda, where I just completed a series of workshops with managers and employees, about diversity management and how to deal with differences in the workplace.

Government employees perceive more benefits of diversity in the workplace – New Open Access Publication

EUR Logo

Development of diversity perspectives in the Netherlands’ Public Service in the period 2008-2018
Joep Hofhuis & Anouk van Drunen.

The success of diversity management is dependent on how employees experience cultural diversity in their daily work. In 2008, Joep Hofhuis examined these diversity perspectives among employees of the Netherlands’ public service. In 2018, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK) asked him to continue this study to find out how the perspectives have changed over the past ten years.

A digital survey was distributed among government employees, asking which positive and negative outcomes of cultural diversity they experience in their workplace. A comparison was then made between answers that were given in 2008 (1617 respondents, in 7 organizations) and 2018 (2024 respondents in 14 organizations).

The results show that, in 2018, government employees experience more positive effect of cultural diversity than ten years before. Especially the added value of diversity for productivity (the business case) is recognized more. The respondents felt that diversity increased their team’s problem solving abilities, and that it helps them connect with different cultural groups in Dutch society. Additionally, compared to 2008, they also experience that diversity leads to more changes in norms and values in the workplace.

Finally, the study shows that a strong diversity climate – an organizational climate characterized by openness to diversity – may enhance positive outcomes of diversity, whereas transformational leadership – a leadership style based on inspiring and motivating employees – may reduce diversity resistance.

Please find the full report (in Dutch) here.

Hofhuis, J., & van Drunen, A. (2019). De ontwikkeling van de beeldvorming rondom culturele diversiteit bij de Rijksoverheid in de periode 2008-2018. Rotterdam: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication, and Culture (ERMeCC).

Research Fellowship Intercultural Competences in Education

EUR Logo

EUR’s Community for Learning and Innovation has awarded me a 2-year Research Fellowship, to examine the development of our students’ intercultural competences (ICC). The aims of the project are to provide a validated system for measuring the development of ICC among students in our international programs, and to to improve the programs’ ability to develop ICC through educational innovation and professional development of lecturers. I’m looking forward to working with the CLI on this project, and to share new insights on the topic with colleagues active in the field of intercultural competences.

Social Network Sites and Sojourner Acculturation – New Open Access Publication

EUR Logo

Social network sites and acculturation of international sojourners in the Netherlands: The mediating role of psychological alienation and online social support
Joep Hofhuis, Katja Hanke, & Tessa Rutten.

Acculturation of short-term international sojourners, such as expats and international students, has received considerable attention from scholars in the past decades. Acculturation is commonly defined as the interplay between cultural maintenance, the sojourner’s desire to maintain their home culture identity, and host country participation, their desire to initiate contact with members of the host society. The present paper focuses on the role that Social Network Sites (SNS) play in the acculturation process of this group. Through a survey, we examined how 126 short-term sojourners in the Netherlands use SNS to interact with relations in both home and host country, and how this affects their cultural maintenance and host country participation. Furthermore, we examined psychological alienation and online social support as possible mediators. Our results show that on the one hand SNS contact with home country relations is positively related to online social support. On the other hand, it is also related to psychological alienation, which in turn is related to cultural maintenance. This shows that sojourners who keep in touch with friends and family at home also experience more loneliness and homesickness, and place more emphasis on their own cultural heritage. Finally, we found that SNS contact with host country relations predicts host country participation. Through online activities, sojourners are able to foster social interaction and strengthen friendships with locals.

Hofhuis, J., Hanke, K., & Rutten, T. (2019). Social Networking Sites and acculturation of short-term sojourners in the Netherlands: The mediating role of psychological alienation and online social support. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 69 (120-130). doi: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2019.02.002

Board Membership at International Academy for Intercultural Research (IAIR)


Starting in July 2019, I will take position in the Board of the International Academy for Intercultural Research (IAIR). The IAIR is a global community of scholars, which promotes and encourages research, theory, and practice in the field of intercultural relations. The Academy encourages interchanges between people with an interest in intercultural research and strives to disseminate scientific information to the public.