Sunday, January 20, 2008
Diversity training and similar initiatives have positive effects when:
¿ Training is voluntary.
¿ The focus is on structural change, such as increased mentoring and rotations that give people a shot at high-profile assignments.
¿ The motivation is to advance business goals and to open up new markets.
¿ Companies set targets and hold executives responsible for meeting those targets.
Diversity training and other initiatives have negative effects when:
¿ Training is mandatory and emphasizes the risk of discrimination lawsuits and threats; for example, downloading government regulations to educate managers on how not to discriminate.
¿ Programs involve a few brief training workshops or online sessions that often focus on "sensitivity training" and interpersonal attitude change.
¿ The training emphasizes social justice goals and the need to redress historical wrongs.
Source: "Best Practices or Best Guesses? Assessing the Efficacy of Corporate Affirmative Action and Diversity Policies" by Alexandra Kalev, the University of California at Berkeley; Frank Dobbin, Harvard University; and Erin Kelly, the University of Minnesota.