Chapter 7. Changing the Culture Through Education

Why Diversity Training Doesn't Work—and How to Fix It

Diversity "training" simply does not work. It never has, and it likely never will. Organizations of all types and sizes have been attempting to change their workplace culture through inclusion and diversity training and education alone. Years and hundreds of millions of dollars later, many have observed that an employee reverts back to previous attitudes and behaviors a week or two after attending diversity awareness training—even though the training and education evaluations indicated the sessions were "successful."

The Myth about Inclusion and Diversity Training

According to the American Sociological Review, "A comprehensive review of 31 years of data from 830 mid-size to large U.S. workplaces found that the kind of diversity training and education exercises offered at most firms were followed by a 7.5 percent drop in the number of women in management. The number of Black, female managers fell by 10 percent, and the number of Black men in top positions fell by 12 percent. Similar effects were seen for Latinos and Asians."[4].

If this article describes common practices within U.S. companies, why then do organizations continue to offer diversity training and education?

There are several reasons, but first let's address the common error illustrated by the above research. Diversity training and education is often blamed for an organization's failure to meet inclusion and diversity goals. ...

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