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Some common diversity initiatives actually decrease diversity, data show

  • Amanda Shendruk
By Amanda Shendruk

Visual journalist

Employees at about half of mid-size American companies, and nearly all Fortune 500 firms, participate in some form of mandatory diversity training. It’s a shame it doesn’t work.

In fact, mandatory diversity training, grievance procedures, and job tests—three of the most common diversity and inclusion initiatives employed by companies—produce results contrary to their stated goal.

That’s according to a series of studies by academics Alexandra Kalev and Frank Dobbin on diversity and inclusion initiatives. They analyzed the effect of such programs on manager diversity at 829 US companies over three decades. Today, it’s still the largest study of its kind.

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