by Joelle Emerson
Originally published: April 28, 2017
There’s a growing skepticism about whether unconscious bias training is an effective tool to meet corporate diversity goals. Critics of such training contend that it doesn’t visibly move the needle on diversity numbers, and can even backfire. Some academic studies support this perspective: one longitudinal study found that traditional diversity trainings are the least effective efforts in increasing numbers of underrepresented minorities, while experimental research has shown that presenting evidence that people commonly rely on stereotypes — information often found in diversity trainings — isn’t helpful and can even condone the use of stereotypes. On the other hand, a meta-analysis found that diversity trainings can be effective, depending on many factors including content, length, audience, and accompanying diversity efforts.