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Diversity Training

March 18, 2012

Diversity Training Doesn’t Work*: Contrarian views from Peter Bregman, strategic advisor to CEOs and leadership teams. This piece, in an HBR blog dated March 12th, has already drawn 100+ comments.

  • Centers around a media company – Bedia
  • Diversity training does not extinguish prejudice; it promotes it
  • What people could and could not say seemed to hurt
  • Rather than changing attitudes of prejudice and bias, categorizing people reinforces both
  • People are not prejudiced against real people; they are prejudiced against categories
  • We need to see people as people
  • Stop training people to be more accepting of diversity; train them to do their work with a diverse set of individuals, not categories of people
  • Move beyond similarity and diversity toward individuality
  • The antidote to the ineffectiveness of diversity training is the opposite of diversity training. If you want diversity, think about an individual, another, then another
  • So how did Bedia get it right? They decided to put all managers through communication training. People learned to listen and speak with each other, no matter the difference; this is the key to creating a vibrant and inclusive environment

So is this really a case against diversity training? Or is it perhaps the next step forward?

*Original blog by Peter Bregman: http://blogs.hbr.org/bregman/2012/03/diversity-training-doesnt-work.html?awid=8988621802016686590-3271

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