BOX 4-7Making Diversity Work

FOCUS ON RESEARCH

“If you think managing diversity is a program, you don’t get it.”a

Considerable research has shown the barriers limiting the appointment, retention, and advancement of women faculty. The question is how to move beyond these barriers and make diversity work. An evaluation of a wide-ranging campus diversity initiative in the University of California system provides specific lessons for academe. Programs that were effective had three key components: the campus had a framework for monitoring progress, a commitment to analyze and use data for organizational change, and a commitment to take corrective action.b

These results mirror what is found in other organizations that have implemented successful diversity management programs. Several researchers have examined program efficacy using a variety of techniques, including tracking of workforce composition and employment practices,c and case studies in industryd and federal agencies.e While there are some important differences, there are some common factors that successful programs—those shown to improve workforce diversity—exhibit. These benchmarks of success are:

  1. Management involvement (CEO, President)—resource commitments, internal communication of goals, alignment of strategic goals and organizational mission.
  2. Close tailoring of diversity initiative to organizational needs, starting with performance of an organizational survey to identify demographics, issues, and needs.
  3. Program not specific to a demographic group.f
  4. Changes individual behavior.
  5. Changes personnel systems and existing organizational procedures and practices.
  6. Involves organizational development—participation of top managers, sequencing of educational programs so that managers back up training of nonsupervisory staff, long-term effort to reach a large proportion of employees, and considerations of the length and depth of programs.
  7. Incorporates measurables and accountability—regular monitoring of patterns of job segregation, pay, and career advancement by gender and race/ethnicity; and explict evaluation of managers and supervisors in contributing to initiative goals.

Industries that have large research and development (R&D) components may be most likely to hold lessons for academia. In this context, several actions are correlated with increased workforce diversity:g

  • Mentoring programs have been highly effective in moving white and African American women and African American men into management.
  • Culture audits and surveys of workers have resulted in increases in white and African American women in management, whereas they show mixed effects in non-R&D industries.
  • Targeted recruitment is particularly effective in R&D industries.

Overall, these findings support the creation of systems of authority and accountability (diversity committees, affirmative action plans) (Box 6-2), the use of targeted searches and incentives (Box 3-6), the use of surveys to assess university culture (Box 6-7), and the implementation of mentoring programs (Box 6-3). While diversity training is helpful in R&D intensive industries, it is important to note that corporate diversity training is very different from the sort of diversity initiatives found in the ADVANCE programs (Box 5-5), in which academic scientists rather than hired consultants lead training and create ongoing feedback and learning systems (Boxes 4-3, 4-4, and 4-6). Such training systems are akin to diversity committees, which are quite effective in both R&D industries and elsewhere. To derive maximal benefits from diversity, members of academic communities must show respect for each other’s cultural and stylistic preferences and awareness of unconscious assumptions and behaviors that may influence interactions. Only when differences are openly discussed and learned from do the positive effects of diversity accrue; open discussion makes it possible for the groups to create psychological safety.h The goal is to create a climate in which everyone feels personally safe, listened to, valued, and treated fairly and with respect.

a

F Miller (1992). Discussant commentary. Leadership Diversity Conference: Beyond Awareness into Action. Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, NC.

b

DG Smith, S Parker, AR Clayton-Pedersen, JF Moreno, and DH Teraguchi (2006). Building Capacity: The Study of Impact of The James Irvine Foundation Campus Diversity Initiative. Irvine, CA: The James Irvine Foundation.

c

A Kalev, F Dobbin, and E Kelly (2006). Best Practices or Best Guesses? Diversity Management and the Remediation of Inequality (Working Paper). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~dobbin/cv/working_papers/eeopractice1.pdf .

d

M Bendick, ML Egan, and SM Lofhjelm (1998). The Documentation and Evaluation of Anti-Discrimination Training in the United States. Geneva: International Labor Organization; JA Gilbert, BA Stead, and JM Ivancevich (1999). Diversity management: A new organizational paradigm. Journal of Business Ethics 21:61-76; R Ely (2004). A field study of group diversity, participation in diversity education programs and performance. Journal of Organizational Behavior 25(6):755-780.

e

KC Naff and JE Kellough (2003). Ensuring employment equity: Are federal diversity programs making a difference? International Journal of Public Administration 26(12):1307-1336.

f

Some research indicates that broad diversity initiatives may not help, and in some cases may hinder, the promotion of minorities; reviewed in Naff and Kellough (2003). Other research indicates that reducing the saliency of group identity helps to reduce backlash by majority groups; reviewed in Gilbert et al. (1999), ibid; Bendick et al. (1998), ibid. It should be noted in this context that those programs shown to be effective at increasing the retention of women faculty are almost immediately broadened to include all faculty (Box 6-3).

g

F Dobbin and A Kalev (2006). Diversity management and managerial diversity: Addendum to “Best Practices or Best Guesses.” Special Report to the National Academies Committee on Women in Academic Science and Engineering.

h

RJ Ely and DA Thomas (2001). Cultural diversity at work: The effects of diversity perspectives on work group processes and outcomes. Administrative Science Quarterly 46:202-228.

F Miller (1992). Discussant commentary. Leadership Diversity Conference: Beyond Awareness into Action. Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, NC.

DG Smith, S Parker, AR Clayton-Pedersen, JF Moreno, and DH Teraguchi (2006). Building Capacity: The Study of Impact of The James Irvine Foundation Campus Diversity Initiative. Irvine, CA: The James Irvine Foundation.

A Kalev, F Dobbin, and E Kelly (2006). Best Practices or Best Guesses? Diversity Management and the Remediation of Inequality (Working Paper). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~dobbin/cv/working_papers/eeopractice1.pdf .

M Bendick, ML Egan, and SM Lofhjelm (1998). The Documentation and Evaluation of Anti-Discrimination Training in the United States. Geneva: International Labor Organization; JA Gilbert, BA Stead, and JM Ivancevich (1999). Diversity management: A new organizational paradigm. Journal of Business Ethics 21:61-76; R Ely (2004). A field study of group diversity, participation in diversity education programs and performance. Journal of Organizational Behavior 25(6):755-780.

KC Naff and JE Kellough (2003). Ensuring employment equity: Are federal diversity programs making a difference? International Journal of Public Administration 26(12):1307-1336.

Some research indicates that broad diversity initiatives may not help, and in some cases may hinder, the promotion of minorities; reviewed in Naff and Kellough (2003). Other research indicates that reducing the saliency of group identity helps to reduce backlash by majority groups; reviewed in Gilbert et al. (1999), ibid; Bendick et al. (1998), ibid. It should be noted in this context that those programs shown to be effective at increasing the retention of women faculty are almost immediately broadened to include all faculty (Box 6-3).

F Dobbin and A Kalev (2006). Diversity management and managerial diversity: Addendum to “Best Practices or Best Guesses.” Special Report to the National Academies Committee on Women in Academic Science and Engineering.

RJ Ely and DA Thomas (2001). Cultural diversity at work: The effects of diversity perspectives on work group processes and outcomes. Administrative Science Quarterly 46:202-228.

From: 4, Success and Its Evaluation in Science and Engineering

Cover of Beyond Bias and Barriers
Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering.
National Academy of Sciences (US), National Academy of Engineering (US), and Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2007.
Copyright © 2007, National Academy of Sciences.

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