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2019 International Association for Conflict Management Conference

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Can an Hour of Online Diversity Training Promote Inclusive Attitudes and Behaviors at Work?

Keywords: gender, race, diversity training

Abstract: We present results from a large (N=3,016) field experiment at a global organization testing whether a brief, science-based online diversity training can change attitudes and behaviors towards women in the workplace. Our pre-registered experiment included an active placebo control and measured participants’ attitudes and real workplace decisions up to twenty weeks post-intervention. Among groups whose average untreated attitudes were relatively less supportive of women than other groups, our diversity training successfully produced attitude change but not behavior change. On the other hand, our diversity training successfully generated some behavior change among groups whose average untreated attitudes were already strongly supportive of women prior to training. This study extends our knowledge about the pathways to attitude and behavior change in the context of bias reduction. However, the results suggest that the one-off diversity trainings that are commonplace in organizations are unlikely to be stand-alone solutions for promoting equality in the workplace.

Edward Chang, University of Pennsylvania

Katherine Milkman, University of Pennsylvania

Dena Gromet, University of Pennsylvania

Robert Rebele, University of Pennsylvania

Cade Massey, University of Pennsylvania

Angela Duckworth, University of Pennsylvania

Adam Grant, University of Pennsylvania


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