Belonging - Definition and Explanation

Belonging – Definition and Explanation


In the realm of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), understanding and addressing Belonging is crucial. Belonging is a significant aspect of this discourse, but what exactly does it entail?


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Belonging is the emotional connection and sense of acceptance individuals experience within a group, community, or organisation. It encompasses feeling valued, respected, and understood for one’s unique identity, background, and contributions. When individuals feel a strong sense of belonging, they are more likely to engage actively, collaborate effectively, and contribute positively to their environment.

Significance of Belonging in DEI:

In DEI initiatives, belonging plays a pivotal role in creating inclusive cultures where everyone feels empowered to bring their authentic selves to work. It goes beyond demographic representation and aims to cultivate an environment where diverse perspectives are not only welcomed but celebrated. When individuals feel a sense of belonging, they are more likely to thrive professionally, leading to higher levels of engagement, productivity, and innovation.


Imagine a multinational corporation headquartered in London, striving to promote DEI within its workforce. The company implements various initiatives such as inclusive hiring practices, diversity training, and resource groups. However, it’s the small but meaningful gestures that truly foster a sense of belonging among employees. For instance, during team meetings, the CEO actively seeks input from individuals across all levels of the organisation, regardless of their background or tenure. This inclusive approach sends a powerful message that every voice is valued, contributing to a culture where employees feel a genuine sense of belonging.


In conclusion, belonging lies at the heart of effective Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts. By creating environments where individuals feel accepted, respected, and valued, organisations can unleash the full potential of their diverse workforce. Embracing belonging not only fosters a positive workplace culture but also drives innovation, collaboration, and ultimately, organisational success.


Mahar, A. L., Cobigo, V., & Stuart, H. (2013). Conceptualizing belonging. Disability and rehabilitation, 35(12), 1026-1032.

Antonsich, M. (2010). Searching for belonging–an analytical framework. Geography compass, 4(6), 644-659.

Mattes, D., Kasmani, O., Acker, M., & Heyken, E. (2019). Belonging. In Affective societies (pp. 300-309). Routledge.


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