Increasing Workplace Diversity: What Works & What Doesn't


Increasing Workplace Diversity: What Works & What Doesn't

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Some traditional approaches to workplace diversity have had limited (and sometimes negative) effects. But working shoulder-to-shoulder is where the magic happens.

 

 

Analyzing over 30 years of data from a sample of over 800 U.S. companies to assess the effects of corporate diversity programs on increasing workforce diversity in the managerial ranks in U.S. companies, Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev found that some of the traditional approaches to workplace diversity that require specific diversity and inclusion actions, such as required diversity awareness training, have had limited (and sometimes negative) effects on increasing managerial diversity.

However, they discovered that some of the most effective approaches focus on engaging people to voluntarily participate in programs, increasing contact among people from different backgrounds, and promoting social accountability. Dobbin and Kalev capture some of their extensive research in the July-August 2016 Harvard Business Review Article, Why Diversity Programs Fail: And What Works Better.

In particular, their findings on the benefits of increasing contact among people from diverse backgrounds is consistent with extensive research by Thomas Pettigrew and others demonstrating the power of intergroup contact to reduce implicit and explicit bias.

See related Diversity Remix Blog post:

Increase Interaction. Reduce Bias.

 

 

Reference:

Dobbin, Frank, & Alexandra Kalev, Why Diversity Programs Fail: And What Works Better, Harvard Business Review, July-Aug. 2016, pp. 52-60.

Pettigrew, Thomas F., In Pursuit of Three Theories: Authoritarianism, Relative Deprivation, and Intergroup Contact, Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 67, Jan. 2016, pp. 1-21.

Pettigrew, Thomas F., & Linda R. Tropp, A Meta-Analytic Test of Intergroup Contact Theory, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 90, No. 5, May 2006, pp. 751-783.