The UiO:Nordic seminar: Do Corporate Diversity Programs Work?

UIO:NORDIC and NORDICORE invites to a seminar with Professor Frank Dobbin on work-life equality


Welcome: Haldor Byrkjeflot, UiO:Nordic

Presentation by Professor Frank Dobbin, Department of Sociology, Harvard University

Do Corporate Diversity Programs Work?

Prepared comments:

  • The efficacy of gender quotas for corporate boards in light of top-managers support of gender equality measures by Mari Teigen, Centre Director CORE, Institute for Social Research
  • General discussion


Corporate initiatives to reduce bias in hiring and promotion, and promote workforce  gender, race, and ethnic diversity, have been studied in the field and in the lab.  Most studies examine one or two initiatives at a time.  We use data from a national sample of corporations, over thirty years, to assess the relative efficacy of different approaches.  Efforts to control managerial bias generally backfire, leading to reductions in workforce diversity.  But efforts to engage managers in solving the problem, to promote intergroup contact, and to signal employer concern with work-life integration have consistent positive effects. 


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Bio//Frank Dobbin

Frank Dobbin is professor of sociology at Harvard.  He holds a B.A. from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.  His Inventing Equal Opportunity (Princeton University Press, 2009), which won the Max Weber and Distinguished Scholarly Book Awards from the American Sociological Association, charts how corporate human resources professionals defined discrimination under the Civil Rights Act.  With Alexandra Kalev, he is developing an evidence-based approach to diversity management, studying both the effects of corporate hiring, promotion diversity, and work-life policies on actual workforce diversity, and the effects of workforce diversity on corporate performance. In related work, he is exploring how university hiring, promotion, diversity, harassment, and work-life programs can promote faculty diversity. Dobbin is director of Scandinavian Consortium for Organization research at University of Harvard and has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Safra Center for Ethics.


Published June 28, 2017 10:50 AM - Last modified Oct. 18, 2017 3:17 PM