Do Implicit Attitudes Interfere with Diversity Efforts?

Although many companies recognize the value of a workforce that is diverse and inclusive, and may have intuitive if unexamined ideas about what kinds of variation should be counted in measuring diversity, it isn’t easy to find concise, well-explained discussions of how diversity can be promoted and maintained. In particular, many employers struggle to enhance […]

Insight into Employee Promotions and Resignations from the Analysis of Networks

Companies are naturally interested in predicting which of their employees are likely to resign, and which are candidates for advancement within the organization.   A paper recently distributed by researchers on, titled Promotion and Resignation in Employee Networks, suggests that techniques borrowed from the emerging field of network science offer clues about whether promotion or resignation […]

How Notions of Intelligence Shape Diversity

A study reported in the January 16, 2015 issue of the journal Science explores why certain industries and academic fields struggle to recruit and maintain a diverse workforce.  Although such questions are complex, it appears that disciplines that regard ability as an innate, unteachable talent tend to attract predominantly Caucasian and male candidates, while fields […]

The Effect of a Conversation on Political Views

The stereotypical corporate anti-discrimination policy prevents managers and staff from doing or saying anything that would hint at the existence of race, sex, age, religion, or any other protected categories in the workplace, and discourages discussion of such sensitive issues.  Such restrictions are never codified explicitly in the text of these policies, but many people […]

Lessons for Investigators from Studies of Judicial Decisions

I sometimes train company managers how to investigate claims of discrimination or harassment.  The most thoughtful students, especially if they’ve had some prior experience conducting investigations, eventually present this concern:  What if both sides seem to be telling the truth?  How can I know which way I should decide?  How can I make sure I […]

Implicit Bias

Implicit association, or implicit bias, is best explained through analogy. Suppose I handed you a deck of standard playing cards, and asked you to quickly sort the cards by suit, with hearts and diamonds in one pile and clubs and spades in another. Readers who easily distinguish red from black would find this easy, and […]

Assessing and Promoting Honesty in a Workforce

A study reported in the December 4, 2014 issue of the journal Nature offers an interesting framework for discussing honesty in an employment context.  Although I disagree with the researchers about their methods and inferences, I still think their study reveals something interesting about human behavior; I also agree that further investigation is needed in […]

How Research Into Moral Thinking May Affect Management Strategies

A study on people’s moral perceptions in daily life that was reported last fall in the journal Science may bring a fresh perspective to workplace ethics.  As illustrated by the study, people sometimes emphasize very different sets of moral concepts when assessing a situation, and in a way that seems to correlate with their political […]

Responsibility and Engagement as Possible Remedies for Workplace Problems

In a series of studies summarized in the July 4, 2014 issue of the journal Science, participants were subjected to electric shocks; afterwards, they agreed that they would be willing to pay money not to be shocked again.  They were then placed in isolation, awake, for 15 minutes, without cell phones, writing instruments, or other […]