The Harvard Business Review (HBR) has concluded that diversity policies are not making companies more fair and if anything, are actually increasing threats to minorities.
Despite U.S. companies spending millions of dollars on launching diversity programs and training diversity managers to ensure compliance, the report finds that it's "not really" working. In fact, these policies are having an unintended affect on black women specifically. From the report:
The most commonly used diversity programs do little to increase representation of minorities and women. A longitudinal study of over 700 U.S. companies found that implementing diversity training programs has little positive effect and may even decrease representation of black women.
Most people assume that diversity policies make companies fairer for women and minorities, though the data suggest otherwise.
Oddly enough, the report states that white men are experiencing greater threat under these policies, as well. The research group produced evidence for this after putting a group of young white men through an entry-level hiring simulation for a fictional firm. They were split into two groups and given recruitment materials from the firm to look over. Half of those materials mentioned the company's diversity ethics, while the other half didn't. All other information in the handout was identical. Afterwards, the men went through a filmed interview process in which their responses were rated and cardiovascular systems monitored. Here is the conclusion:
Compared to white men interviewing at the company that did not mention diversity, white men interviewing for the pro-diversity company expected more unfair treatment and discrimination against whites. They also performed more poorly in the job interview, as judged by independent raters. And their cardiovascular responses during the interview revealed that they were more stressed.
Thus, pro-diversity messages signaled to these white men that they might be undervalued and discriminated against. These concerns interfered with their interview performance and caused their bodies to respond as if they were under threat… This suggests just how widespread negative responses to diversity may be among white men: the responses exist even among those who endorse the tenets of diversity and inclusion.
Other experiments conducted by HBR found that even minorities aren't convinced they will be treated more fairly by a company just because it touts a diversity policy. What is sure, according to the report, is "when people feel threatened, they may resist efforts to make the workplace more inclusive."
What's worse, court cases alleging discrimination against companies are being dismissed simply because the company has a diversity policy.
"Even when there is clear evidence of discrimination at a company, the presence of a diversity policy leads people to discount claims of unfair treatment," states the report. "[T]he “diversity defense” often succeeds, making organizations less accountable for discriminatory practices."
It is interesting to note that this isn't the first time HBR reached this conclusion. Its reports from the last several years agree; diversity programs aren't working. And yet companies would rather lose money on them than face public scrutiny for not having one, even though they've proven detrimental. But that's progressive politics.