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Making Diversity Work

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Making Diversity Work

7 Steps for Defeating Bias in the Workplace

Kaplan Publishing,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

If you think you don’t have any personal biases, you’re wrong. Everyone does – but you can overcome.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


In the movie Anchorman, a parody about a television news team set in the 1970s, the main character played by Will Ferrell explains to his colleagues, “Well, I could be wrong, but I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era.” Thankfully, society has come a long way since the ’70s. The modern workplace hosts a collection of employees from different backgrounds, races, nations, religions and sexual orientations. For a company to function, all these people have to work together. Organizational leaders must minimize the tensions between individuals and groups to keep operations running smoothly. Left uncorrected, bias can ruin an organization. Sondra Thiederman, an expert on diversity issues in the workplace, has prepared a manual for managers and employees who want to recognize and correct biased behavior. This book contains personal examples and easy step-by-step individual and group exercises for reducing bias. If you want more, Thiederman offers a reader’s guide to stimulate further discussion of this sensitive issue. getAbstract finds this book practical and unexpectedly entertaining, and highly recommends it to human resources professionals and managers.


Biased Attitudes

Leaders generally agree that workplace diversity benefits business, but good feelings on every side are not an automatic achievement. Sometimes diversity needs organizational encouragement. Numerous studies report that many companies prefer doing business with firms that have proactive diversity inclusion programs. Clients have pushed some companies that once lacked diverse workforces to expand their racial and gender hiring practices under the threat of losing business. For example, Shell Oil surveyed its vendors to be sure that they “had solid inclusion programs in place.” In a very visible case, four important advertisers bolted from CBS in 2007 after radio host Don Imus insulted the members of a black women’s basketball team. Bias can also lead to costly lawsuits that repel customers and tarnish reputations.

Bias is defined as a rigid positive or negative belief about a group of people. Such prejudice is an attitude, not a behavior. Individuals can correct discriminatory thinking, even if it is persistent, when they become aware of its presence and seek to minimize its influence on their lives. Psychologist William Cunningham found that when white...

About the Author

Sondra Thiederman, Ph.D., is a leading expert on workplace diversity, cross-cultural businesses and bias reduction. She is the author of four books and a frequent public speaker.

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    S. A. 9 months ago
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    C. M. 9 years ago
    I think this is a wonderful toll for raise awareness of our bias. Be conscious of our bias is the first step to begin the change in other
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    E. V. 1 decade ago