Diversity training

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Diversity training can be defined as any program designed to facilitate positive intergroup interaction, reduce prejudice and discrimination, and generally teach individuals who are different from others how to work together effectively.[1] "From the broad corporate perspective, diversity training is defined as raising personal awareness about individual differences in the workplace and how those differences inhibit or enhance the way people work together and get work done. In the narrowest sense, it is education about compliance – Affirmative Action (AA), Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), and sexual harassment."[2] Diversity training is instruction aimed at helping participants to gain cultural awareness in order to benefit the organization or company. Diversity training is the reality that is facing many human resource management teams – one of the pressing reasons is the growing ethnic and racial diversity in the workplace.[3] While major corporations believe that diversity training and active diversity hiring will assist them in remaining competitive in a global economy, other large organizations (universities and colleges) have been slow to embrace diversity training.[4]

Trainers use diversity training as a means to meet many objectives, such as attracting and retaining customers and productive workers; maintaining high employee morale; and/or fostering understanding and harmony between workers.[5] However, a systematic analysis has shown the diversity training is usually counterproductive.[6][7]

Controversial issues[edit]

Diversity training has been a controversial issue, raising questions about moral considerations and counter-productivity. Observers characterize diversity training in very different ways. Its proponents consider it morally right, because it respects diversity, recognizing the value and contributions of every human being. They also view it as economically sound, because it enables organizations to draw on multiplicities of talents and strengths.[8] According to Hans Bader, its opponents consider it an oppressive ideology and reeducation tactic that actually reduces the ability of organizations to attain their goals. It has been suggested that diversity training reinforces differences between individuals instead of fostering their commonalities, thus helping to further racialize the workplace, creating situations where people "tiptoe" around issues such as how to relate to people of different cultures as opposed to people learning to communicate with and truly understand each other.[9] Programs which established specific responsibility for diversity, such as equal opportunity staff positions or diversity task forces, have proven most effective in general. However, the results also indicate that White females benefit significantly more from diversity training. The benefits for African American females and males were appreciably lower than European American females. Networking and mentoring, which were considered bias mitigating approaches, served African American females the most. African American males were the least likely to benefit from any of the methods.[10] Sue Steiner and collaborators have advocated that controversy be used as a cooperative learning style. They argue that attempting to see both sides of a controversial issue builds empathy and allows working environments to function better.[11]

Purported benefits[edit]

An analysis of data from over 800 firms over 30 years shows that diversity training and grievance procedures backfires and leads to reductions in the diversity of the firms workforce.[6][7] Other research shows that people "were less likely to take discrimination complaints seriously against companies who had diversity programs".[12] As organizations and communities are becoming more globalized, there is a need for an expansion in relation to communication among individuals from all over the world, operating within a diverse environment.[13] Scholars believe it is beneficial for companies to train a diverse staff, as a reflection of the market in which you wish to serve.[14] According to Jalai Armache, in a heterogeneous workplace environment filled with people knowledgeable of those with different backgrounds and nationalities, there is ability to easily expand an organization. There is an ability to create inventive solutions to issues being faced in the world market.[13] According to Kim Abreu, there are five key benefits of diversity in today's workplace. One of these benefits is increased creativity, which bases from the belief that teams including workers from different experiences and backgrounds are able to produce creative solutions to problem solving. Additionally, benefits of workplace diversity also include drives in innovation.[15]

Important figures[edit]

Activists, educators, and public speakers have become a vital part of diversity training seminars. Some have become known specifically for their effective methods and their commitment in social issues.[16][not in citation given] Conferences often get owners of companies, human resources specialists, managers, and others involved with worker's rights to speak at these events because of their experience working with a diverse group of people. According to "Diversity Training University International students", the most important diversity pioneers include:[17]


Numerous types of diversity training conferences exist currently throughout the world.[18][not in citation given] They have become an essential tool that a company now seeks for their employees. While most trainings are the same, some differ based on the type of sector and work the company does. Businesses look into diversity within the workplace but also within consumers while educators use diversity training as a way to learn adequate communication among students and parents.[19] Most training is done through companies that specialize in the matter and certify those who conduct the conference.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lindsey, Alex; King, Eden; Hebl, Michelle; Levine, Noah (September 2015). "The Impact of Method, Motivation, and Empathy on Diversity Training Effectiveness". Journal of Business and Psychology. Springer. 30 (3): 605–617. doi:10.1007/s10869-014-9384-3. 
  2. ^ Wheeler, M.L. (1994). "Diversity Training". The Conference Board. Research Report 1083-94RR. 
  3. ^ Cocchiara, Faye K.; Connerley, Mary L.; Bell, Myrtle P. (November–December 2010). ""A GEM" for increasing the effectiveness of diversity training". Human Resource Management. Wiley. 49 (6): 1089–1106. doi:10.1002/hrm.20396. 
  4. ^ Utz, Richard (January 18, 2017). "The Diversity Question in Administrative-Job Interviews". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 
  5. ^ Chavez, Carolyn I.; Weisinger, Judith Y. (Summer 2008). "Beyond diversity training: a social infusion for cultural inclusion". Human Resource Management, special issue: Part One: Breaking Barriers for Purposes of Inclusiveness. Wiley. 47 (2): 331–350. doi:10.1002/hrm.20215. 
  6. ^ a b Dobbin, Frank; Kalev, Alexandra. "Why Diversity Management Backfires (And How Firms Can Make it Work)". ethics.harvard.edu. Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University. Retrieved 2016-10-15. 
  7. ^ a b McGregor, Jena (July 1, 2016). "To improve diversity, don’t make people go to diversity training. Really.". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 October 2016. 
  8. ^ "Diversity at the Top May Boost the Bottom Line". UT Dallas News. UT Dallas. 10 September 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  9. ^ Bader, Hans (26 December 2007). "Diversity training backfires". cei.org. Competitive Enterprise Institute. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  10. ^ Kalev, Alexandra; Dobbin, Frank; Kelly, Erin (August 2006). "Best practices or best guesses? Assessing the efficacy of corporate affirmative action and diversity policies". American Sociological Review. Sage. 71 (4): 589–617. doi:10.1177/000312240607100404. 
  11. ^ Steiner, Sue; Brzuzy, Stephanie; Gerdes, Karen; Hurdle, Donna (2003). "Using structured controversy to teach diversity content and cultural competence". Journal of Teaching in Social Work. Taylor and Francis. 23 (1–2): 55–71. doi:10.1300/J067v23n01_05. 
  12. ^ McElroy, Molly (3 April 2013). "Diversity programs give illusion of corporate fairness, study shows". UW Today. University of Washington. Retrieved 15 October 2016. 
  13. ^ a b Abreu, Kim. "The Myriad Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  14. ^ Armache, Jalal (March 2012). "Diversity in the workplace: benefits and challenges". Journal of International Diversity. 2012 (1): 59–75. 
  15. ^ Hewlett, Sylvia Ann; Marshall, Melinda; Sherbin, Laura (December 2013). "How Diversity Can Drive Innovation". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  16. ^ Liberman, Benjamin E. (2011). "Diversity trainer preconceptions: the effects of trainer race and gender on perceptions of diversity trainer effectiveness". Basic and Applied Social Psychology. Taylor and Francis. 33 (3): 279–293. doi:10.1080/01973533.2011.589327. 
  17. ^ Vaughn, Billy E. (August 2015). "The history of diversity training & its pioneers". Diversity Officer Magazine Newsletter. 
  18. ^ "World Experts Convene For Landmark Diversity Conference.". 
  19. ^ Lappin, G. "Diversity Training, Educational Equity, and Teacher Preparation Programs: The Promise of Multiculturalism". International Journal of the Humanities. 5 (2): 109–113. 

Further reading[edit]