ThoughtWorks, a mid-sized IT consulting firm that integrated strategy, design and software engineering for their clients, with over 10,000 technologists spread over 48 offices in 17 countries, started in 1993. ThoughtWorks developed a strong inclusivity culture and was anchored on three principal values: creating a sustainable for-profit organization, championing software excellence, and advocating social and economic justice for all. The organization had always embraced gender and cultural diversity and initiated multiple organizational practices to support and build inclusivity. In India, ThoughtWorks had been pioneering ‘Women in Tech’ to promote gender diversity as the most visible inclusivity agenda. After the 2018 historic judgment repealing Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the opportunity to broaden the inclusivity domain to embrace LGBTQ+ workforce emerged. The founders and senior management had also taken public stands on the discriminatory attitude toward the LGBTQ+ community. The organization had taken multiple initiatives and introduced progressive policies to demonstrate its support toward the LGBTQ+ community. However, LGBTQ+ inclusion was creating some dilemmas for the organization.
The case examines the business imperatives for LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion and ThoughtWorks’s initiatives to build a truly inclusive culture. It further challenges students to examine sustaining an inclusive culture. It raises questions on the role of corporations in society. In particular, the issue of how much and how far organizations should engage with the larger social issues beyond its boundaries is of particular significance.Read more