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Fixing the Flawed Approach to Diversity

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Fixing the Flawed Approach to Diversity

Boston Consulting Group,

5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Ready to harness the benefits of a diverse company? Better make sure your diversity initiatives are effective.

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  • Analytical
  • Applicable
  • Overview


Ask any executive if she’s racist, or if he discriminates based on gender or sexual orientation, and each will probably respond with an emphatic “no!”. But research suggests that humans are wired for in-group bias. It’s not enough to wish to move through the world without prejudice. It takes education and genuine effort. Many businesses fail to implement diversity programs effectively. The Boston Consulting Group surveyed 16,500 people to see which diversity initiatives actually work. Executives who want to harness the benefits of diversity should take notice of the results.


Despite the ubiquity of workplace diversity programs, only around 25% of the 16,500 surveyed employees who inhabit diverse groups feel they have benefited. That’s a meager return on a hefty investment. The problem seems to be that leaders underestimate the barriers that diverse employees face. Employees from diverse groups fear that managers don’t have buy-in, so they are hesitant to speak up when issues arise. The good news is that younger men – those under age 45 – seem to be more aware of the issues that diverse groups face. This bodes well for...

About the Authors

Matt Krentz, Justin Dean, Jennifer Garcia-Alonso, Frances Brooks Taplett, Miki Tsusaka and Elliot Vaughn are professionals with the Boston Consulting Group.

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