Why Diversity Programs Fail by Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev …
Why Diversity Programs Fail
by Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev
Concept Map by Amanda Newton
"Businesses started caring a lot more about diversity after a series of high-profile lawsuits rocked the financial industry."
Using diversity tools that prevent lawsuits rather than actually working on diversity inclusion.
"Among all U.S, companies with 100 or more employees, the proportion of black men in management increased just slightly from 3% to 3.3%-from 1985 to 2014. White women saw bigger gains from 1985 to 2000-rising from 22% to 29% of managers - but their numbers haven't budged since then."
"In analyzing three decades' worth of data from more than 800 U.S. firms and interviewing hundreds of line managers and executives at length,
we've seen that companies get better results when they ease up on the control tactics.
"It's more effective to engage managers in solving the problem, increase their on-the-job contact with female and minority workers, and promote social accountability..."
Why wouldn't you have managers involved in the first place? They are an organization's direct contact with employees at all levels?
Paper examples: data, interviews, company examples.
Why You Can't Just Outlaw Bias
"It turns out that while people are easily taught to respond correctly to a questionnaire about bias, they soon forget the right answers. The positive effects of diversity training rarely last beyond a day or two, and a number of studies suggest that it can activate bias or stark backlash."
Many firms see adverse effects - 3/4 use negative messages in training.
Negative in, Negative out
3/4 still mandate diversity training and making it clear that "IF you can't deal with that, then we have to ask you to leave." Essentially putting a stigma on the training before it can even occur.
Volunteer training evokes the opposite response, leading to better results.
Companies too often signal that training is remedial. ...it is used to deal with 'problem groups'
Are. You. Kidding. Me???
"Some 40% of companies now try to fight bias with mandatory hiring tests assessing the skills of candidates for frontline jobs. But managers don't like being told that they can't hire whomever they please, and
our research suggests that they often use the tests selectively.
Even managers who test everyone applying for a position may ignore results...they cherry-picked results...
bottom line: ratings don't boost diversity.
"Among the nearly 90,000 discrimination complaints made the the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2015,
45% included a charge of retaliation-which suggests that the original report was met with ridicule, demotion, or worse.
I thought retaliation was illegal?
"Once people see that a grievance system isn't warding off bad behavior in their organization, they may become less likely to speak up."
"Managers who receive few complaints conclude that their firms don't have a problem."
What happens when people do complain, but nothing happens? Uber engineer example.
"Lab students show that protective measures like grievance systems
lead people to drop their guard and let bias affect their decisions, because they think company policies will guarantee fairness."
"Things don't get better when firms put in formal grievance systems; they get worse."
Tools for Getting Managers on Board
College Recruitment Programs
self-managed teams - allow people in different roles and functions to work together on projects as equals.
Rotating management trainees through departments.
diversity task forces