“Organizations that only take a ‘cookie-cutter’ approach may be likely to find their diversity efforts are not only ineffective, but counterproductive.”

August 24, 20161 minute read

An article on Fortune.com reports on a study exploring why some diversity programs don’t work. The research was conducted by two professors, one from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the other from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

In reporting on the study, Kellogg’s Nicole Stevens and MIT’s Evan Apfelbaum suggest that “diversity means different things to different people” and that different language should be used to describe diversity goals and initiatives.

They found that when a minority group is well represented in a company (as women often are), the most effective language talks about the value of different perspectives. In the case of groups with little representation (frequently the case for African-American employees or ethnic minorities) those employees prefer to see the organization recognizing hard work and performance regardless of differences.