Diversity training is a multimillion dollar industry. There is no doubt a place for educating employers and employees about the challenges of our increasingly diverse workplace, and to focus on skills that will help those differences to add value, rather than dissonance. Increasingly, however, the evaluative literature on diversity training is less than encouraging. This article speaks to an important aspect of the area of diversity training: www.dciconsult.com/AAstudy.pdf.
The authors of this study, from Harvard, UC Berkeley and the University of Minnesota attempted to explore the relationship of different kinds of workplace initiatives on actual improvements in workplace representation in the managerial ranks. Looking at diversity councils, designated diversity managers, affirmative action plans, diversity training, mentorship programs and other kinds of initiatives, the authors correlated these initiatives to the numbers of white and black men and women in the management ranks of 700 private sector companies. Their conclusions? The strongest relationship between actual diverse representation and management ranks came from “responsibility structures,” such as affirmative action plans or designated diversity officers. The weakest? Diversity training. In fact, diversity training was sometimes followed by a negative impact on the numbers of women and minorities in management positions. Read the rest of this entry »