DIVERSITY TRAINING AND GENDER
Diversity training refers to a type of instruction that is meant to promote intergroup interaction. It enables professionals to work effectively with people from different backgrounds (Williams, 2015). Diversity straining also aims at reducing discrimination and prejudice at the workplace. Teams within modern organizations are made of female and male professionals from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds and nationalities. Therefore, human resource management teams implement diversity training to allow professionals to appreciate the fact that people are different in the context of their views, values and beliefs (King, Gulick and Avery, 2010). Diversity training enables professionals to collaborate with colleagues and to work effectively within diverse teams. This essay is inspired by a blog article titled “Diversity Training? Or Gender Stereotyping?” by Williams (2015). The main argument of the essay is that diversity training is useful for its role in reducing discrimination within the work environment but it may reinforce gender stereotypes and contribute to sex segregation.
The article “The Glass Escalator: Hidden Advantages for Men in the "Female" Professions” (Williams, 1992) presents an argument that men are underrepresented in professionals that are dominated by women. Librarianship, nursing, elementary school teaching and social work are examples of professionals that are underrepresented by men. According to Williams (1992), increasing consciousness on diversity training contributes to discrimination of men in promotion and hiring decisions. The changing working culture, which is characterized by appreciation for diversity, is often disadvantageous to men. The arguments author presents in the article are valid because they are based on in-depth interviews involving male and female professionals in four major cities in the United States. The interviews reveal that men face prejudice from individuals outside female-dominated professionals. Therefore, diversity training within the work environment may contribute to stereotypes that disadvantage men.
Williams (2015) reveals that diversity training often promotes female majority in the work place rather than advancing the interests of both gender identities. The author cites research findings which reveal that diversity training has not been effective in increasing the number of minority men and women in positions of management within organizations. The augments of the author reveal the need to implement effective diversity training programs that advance the interests of both male and female employees from divergent cultural backgrounds and nationalities. According to Williams (2015), diversity training within work environments enforces gender stereotypes. For instance, it teaches employees that women and men have specific personality differences which affect their approaches to work. It also enforces beliefs that the effectiveness of professionals in positions and roles within the management hierarchy are influenced by their gender. Williams (2015) also demonstrates that diversity training has been used to justify why most top managerial positions in corporations are occupied by men. Notably, diversity training reinforces the belief that women have soft skills and should act as ideal supporter of men in the work environment. The arguments of Williams (2015) are supported by other authors as illustrated in the following paragraphs.
According to King, Gulick and Avery (2010), there is a need for the integration of best practices into training programs within organizations. This argument is based on the observation that there is a notable divide between diversity education and diversity training. The authors assert that the implementation of best practices in diversity training will eliminate negative outcomes, such as enforcement of gender stereotypes within organizations. King, Gulick and Avery (2010) reveal that most organizations do not utilize recent research in the design and implementation of training programs for employees. This results in a situation where the goals of diversity training are not achieved. Divides between practice and research are specifically attributed to the differences between male and female professionals in the context of access to professional development opportunities. Researchers demonstrate that effective diversity training programs should promote positive behaviors, attitudes and organizational outcomes in relation to gender roles. Therefore, gender stereotyping that is enforced by diversity training can be overcome through the implementation of evidence-based training strategies and practices within organizations.
In their article Roberson, Kulik and Pepper (2001) demonstrate that the increasing popularity of diversity training has a significant impact on the experiences of male and female employees during the implementation of training programs. The authors employ reliable research evidence to demonstrate that diversity training affects behavioral, affective and cognitive outcomes of employees, including their perceptions on gender differences. According to Roberson, Kulik and Pepper (2001), diversity training promotes ethnic homogeneity within work teams but it may contribute to negative perceptions or stereotypes on gender roles. The authors reveal that the outcomes of diversity training are also influenced by the composition of training groups. Notably, researchers agree that the effectiveness of diversity training programs is defined by the ability of human resource managers to implement evidence-based approaches determining the composition of training groups and instructional approaches.
Ragins, Townsend and Mattis (1998) demonstrate that gender gaps in executive positions are related to gendered stereotypes and perceptions. According to the authors, diversity training is meant to eliminate barriers women face in rising to executive positions. Nonetheless, there are environmental and organizations factors that contribute to undesired diversity training outcomes. For example, the perceptions and beliefs employees develop in relation to gender roles have a significant impact on the outcomes of diversity training. Notably, men may be underrepresented in specific professional roles due to the teachings employees acquire from diversity training programs.
The reviewed articles reveal that diversity training is an effective approach of promoting cooperation, teamwork and effective relationships among members of diverse teams in workplaces. However, there notable negative aspects of diversity training that should be addressed through the integration of evidence-based practice into human resource management activities. The researchers reveal that diversity training may lead to underrepresentation of men in specific professions, such as librarianship, nursing, elementary school teaching and social work. In addition, diversity training often enforces negative gender stereotypes within the work environment.
King, E.B., Gulick, L.M. and Avery, D.R. (2010) The divide between diversity training and diversity education: Integrating best practices. Journal of Management Education 34(6), 891-906.
Ragins, B.R., Townsend, B. and Mattis, M. (1998) Gender gap in the executive suite: CEOs and female executives report on breaking the glass ceiling. The Academy of Management Executive 12(1), 28-42.
Roberson, L., Kulik, C.T. and Pepper, M.B. (2001) Designing effective diversity training: Influence of group composition and trainee experience. Journal of Organizational Behavior 22(8), 871-885.
Williams, C.L. (1992) The glass escalator: Hidden advantages for men in the “female” professions. Social problems 39(3), 253-267.
Williams, C.L. (2015) Diversity training? Or gender stereotyping? Retrieved from https://workinprogress.oowsection.org/2015/06/11/diversity-training-or-gender-stereotyping/