The Bias and Discrimination Reading Room

Resources to help employers and managers understand and prevent bias in the workplace.

Bernard Hodes Group
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Spotlighted Articles

  • Effective performance management systems are difficult to design. Our

    The Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit Directory, 2nd Edition is a 288-page directory that contains over 650 career-focused, national newsletters, magazines, journals, web sites, job banks and job boards targeting college-educated African American, Arab American, Asian American, Hispanic and Native American professionals. This informative resource also contains 40 pages of strategies and over 1,000 additional diversity recruitment advertising resources including listings of associations, recruitment marketing companies, and government agencies.

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    experience demonstrates that even when HR has developed a best-practice system, there is often a breakdown in implementation at line management level. The most prevalent reasons are: 1. Line managers are not held accountable and conduct inadequate evaluations, inconsistently apply the development process or just ignore it. 2. The organization values and rewards short-term, bottom-line results over good people management. The greater this emphasis, the easier it is for managers to overlook investing in people.

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  • Implicit prejudice is a real and still poorly addressed problem in the workplace and society at large. While the incidence of overt explicit prejudice and racism has plummeted in American society over the last decades, implicit prejudice, which is prejudice that is harbored subconsciously and is expressed inadvertently, is still widespread. Unconsciously arrived at attitudes towards race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability etc. have a profound impact on the conscious opinions we form and attitudes we adopt towards other individuals we encounter within our work and social lives.

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  • Recently the L.A. Times published an opinion piece "We're all racists, unconsciously" that commented on the recent lurid and bizarre racist outburst of comedian Michael Richards at the Laugh Factory. In his public apology on the "Late Night" show hosted by David Letterman he said: "I'm not a racist. That's what's so insane about this." This article discusses implicit bias using this ugly incident as an example of how unconsciously held bias can explode out and influence our behavior. It goes on to propose that implicit bias can be addressed much in the same manner as impulse disorders, by consciously over-riding the prejudiced impulse.

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Research Desk

  • Best Practices or Best Guesses? Assessing the Efficacy of Corporate Affirmative Action and Diversity Policies,” shows that diversity programs have had extremely limited success in eliminating bias. The researchers found that efforts to moderate managerial bias through diversity training and diversity evaluations are least effective at increasing the share of white women, black women, and black men in management. Efforts to attack social isolation through mentoring and networking show modest effects. Efforts to establish responsibility for diversity lead to the broadest increases in managerial diversity. they also found that organizations that establish responsibility see better effects from diversity training and evaluations, networking, and mentoring. Employers subject to federal affirmative action edicts, who typically assign responsibility for compliance to a manager, also see stronger effects from some programs. The authors say this work lays the foundation for an institutional theory of the remediation of workplace inequality.

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  • For the first time, a study indicates that dark-skinned African Americans face a distinct disadvantage when applying for jobs, even if they have resumes superior to lighter-skinned black applicants. Researchers found that a light-skinned black male can have only a bachelor’s degree and typical work experience and still be preferred over a dark-skinned black male with an MBA and past managerial positions, simply because expectations of the light-skinned black male are much higher, and he doesn’t appear as ‘menacing’ as the darker-skinned male applicant.

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