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The only solution to ineffective DEI training is more DEI training: woke academics

'They are also commonly done once a year or reactive to something bad, which comes off as disingenuous,' Dockery said. 'Make your DEI efforts a priority … make it a part of your annual budget. It should be engrained in your work activities. These trainings need to be ongoing.'

The only solution to ineffective DEI training is more DEI training: woke academics
Georgetown University/Creative Commons
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Woke anti-discrimination training conducted every year is ineffective, and studies conducted by diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) scholars suggest that more strenuous efforts must be taken to promote the progressive ideology to be effective.

For DEI initiatives to be truly effective, a group of scholars who spoke to Forbes suggested that mandatory training be “engrained” in everyday life at the workplace.

“Traditional anti-discrimination trainings conducted on an annual basis aren’t sufficient — and studies show it,” the College Fix reported. Rather than examine why such training has been largely ineffective, the scholars insist that workers be subjected to even more mandatory training.

In other words, the solution to a lack of adoption of woke ideology is more woke ideology.

The Forbes article explains a “lack of understanding regarding issues like the bamboo ceiling, hair discrimination, tone policing, colourism, and experiences of first-generation professionals inhibits an organization’s ability to cultivate inclusive spaces.”

Speaking to the publication, Donna Dockery, a DEI consultant and adjunct professor at Hunter College, said that annual training ends up in situations where  “the people who usually need it the most and usually the ones who do not value it … do not show up,” adding that annual training sessions were not regular enough.

“They are also commonly done once a year or reactive to something bad, which comes off as disingenuous,” Dockery said. “Make your DEI efforts a priority … make it a part of your annual budget. It should be engrained in your work activities. These trainings need to be ongoing.”

Speaking to the College Fix, Dockery clarified her comments to Forbes, saying there were a general outline for what can be done to improve the adoption of DEI.

“The next steps for someone like me would be to customize the things you are asking for at an organization based on their needs,” she said. “Research shows the common once or twice a year makes little difference.”

Citing the Harvard Business Review, which published an article co-authored by UC Hastings Law School Prof. Joan Williams in 2019, the Fix noted that DEI training “rarely delivers” results for corporations that adopt the practice.

Williams, who spoke to the outlet earlier in February, said that “one conversation” about DEI is not enough, and that “bias is day by day.”

The College Fix reported:

To interrupt this, a number of steps are required – and they need to be meaningful and carried out across a longer period of time, she said.

“Just doing training alone is not enough,” Williams said.

The Fix asked Williams for the written basis of these claims, and the scholar cited research from the academic journal Anthropology Now titled “Why Doesn’t Diversity Training Work?” written by Harvard University sociology Professor Frank Dobbin and Tel Aviv University Professor Alexandra Kalev.

Dobbin and Kalev concluded that “two-thirds of human resources specialists report that diversity training does not have positive effects, and several field studies have found no effect of diversity training on women’s or minorities’ careers or on managerial diversity.”

Additionally, the widely cited study noted there “is ample evidence that training alone does not change attitudes or behavior, or not by much and not for long.”

Despite efforts to promote DEI training in corporations and other institutions, a study from Harvard University Prof. Frank Dobbin and Tel Aviv University Prof. Alexandra Kalev in Anthropology Now titled “Why Doesn’t Diversity Training Work?” suggests that the DEI sessions may be having an opposite effect on participants.

Dobbin and Kalev found that “two-thirds of human resources specialists report that diversity training does not have positive effects, and several field studies have found no effect of diversity training on women’s or minorities’ careers or on managerial diversity.”

The study also found that “ample evidence that training alone does not change attitudes or behaviour, or not by much and not for long,” and may in fact reinforce negative racial and gendered stereotypes.

The study concludes that “recent research suggests that training inspires unrealistic confidence in antidiscrimination programs, making employees complacent about their own biases.”

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