Why Diversity Program Fail

July-August 2016   |   Frank Dobbins and Alexandra Kalev


Strategies for controlling bias—which drive most diversity efforts—have failed spectacularly since they were introduced to promote equal opportunity. Black men have barely gained ground in corporate management since 1985. White women haven’t progressed since 2000. It isn’t that there aren’t enough educated women and minorities out there—both groups have made huge educational gains over the past two generations. The problem is that we can’t motivate people by forcing them to get with the program and punishing them if they don’t.

The numbers sum it up. Your organization will become less diverse, not more, if you require managers to go to diversity training, try to regulate their hiring and promotion decisions, and put in a legalistic grievance system.

The very good news is that we know what does work—we just need to do more of it.


[Summary of some of the programs that get results:

  • Voluntary Training
  • Self-Managed Teams
  • Cross-Training
  • College Recruitments
  • Mentoring
  • Diversity Task Force
  • Diversity Managers]


>>>For more, read here.