Diversity Management, What Works, and What Doesn’t

Effective, transformational leaders must understand organizational diversity, and know which diversity improvement strategies work. Harvard Professor Frank Dobbin, and fellow researchers, surveyed 829 firms, with over 31 years of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) data, to determine the efficacy of various diversity enhancement strategies.  Survey criterion was simply the change in percentage of women and minorities in management following implementation of the respective diversity program.  Interestingly, the most popular strategies, such as basic diversity training 101, had minimal and sometimes even negative results.  Two methods that consistently improved diversity were the appointment of diversity managers who were held accountable for results, and mentoring programs that teamed up minorities with more senior managers.  Business mistakes regarding diversity can be very costly.  Texaco and Coca-Cola learned this lesson the hard way with fines totaling $176 million and $192.5 million respectively.  Diversity Management in Corporate America provides the information leaders need in order to determine which method will best meet their organization’s needs (Dobbin, Kalev, & Kelly, 2007).


Dobbin, F., Kalev, A., & Kelly, B. (2007). Diversity management in corporate America. Retrieved from Harvard University Department of Sociology, Publications website: http://scholar.harvard.edu/dobbin/publications/diversity-management-corporate-america

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  1. peppermint patty says:

    As Dobbin, et al., says, “The good news is that companies that give diversity councils, or diversity managers, responsibility for getting more women and minorities into good jobs typically see significant increases in the diversity of managers. So do companies that create formal mentoring programs.”

    Diversity can be accomplished and has to some extent been accomplished in today’s corporate America. One thing to keep in mind, though, seldom is the question asked, “What is the driving force behind diversity?” In the cases of Coca-Cola and Texaco, it was clearly government regulation and civil lawsuits that drove the diversity transformation in those companies. However, we should ask, “What should the motivation be for promoting diversity in a company?” Should it not be fairness, justice, and freedom?

    As it says in Proverbs, women can clearly be an equal partner in the workforce. “She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard” Proverbs 31:16 (NKJV). Also, racism, in general, is unjust according to biblical standards. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:28 (NKJV).

    When diversity does not come from the heart, it is very difficult to make a lasting change that is true and just and accomplishes what is beneficial for all. For example, now that we have managers who are diverse, we now have management that practices reverse discrimination. The government does not have regulations that protect white males in the workforce.

    Do we need new government regulations, or do we need people to have a new heart?

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