Today’s idea: Though diversity training has been widely embraced by corporate America, there’s little evidence so far that it works, sociologists find.
Work | In The Boston Globe, Drake Bennett reports on studies by researchers at Princeton, Yale, Columbia and elsewhere finding little empirical support for the idea that diversity training programs change attitudes or behavior. He describes one wide-ranging survey of more than 800 companies that points to what doesn’t work, and what might:
Some training programs were more effective than others: Voluntary programs were better than mandatory ones, and those that focused on the threat of bias and harassment lawsuits were worse than those that did not. But even the better programs led only to marginal changes. And those that were mandatory or discussed lawsuits — the vast majority of the programs the researchers examined — slightly reduced the number of women and minorities in management. Required training and legalistic training both make people resentful, the authors suggest, and likely to rebel against what they’ve heard.