A collection of articles on diversity, inclusion, and workforce and talent strategy brought to you by Exponential Talent LLC.
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July 28, 2015

To advance our knowledge of diversity, inclusion, and workforce and talent strategy, we gather and share relevant articles on a regular basis. For this edition, we have identified the following articles of interest. 

Please tell us what content you most want to see In our Article of Interest Roundup. We invite you to share these articles via e-mail, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Diversity & Inclusion
Photo of two businesswomen
Stanford Graduate School of Business: Stereotyping Makes People More Likely to Act Badly

When people feel they are devalued because they belong to any particular group, according to a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, they are more likely to lie, cheat and steal - or endorse those behaviors. The paper comes out of a correlational study and experiments finding a, "... particularly disturbing effect of subtle stereotypes."
Key findings: 
  • The responsibility for criminal and deviant behavior lies both with the individual and society
  • Being viewed through the lens of a stereotype leads people to defy or undermine group norms
  • Feeling devalued can elicit deviance even among historically non-stigmatized groups
US News & World Report: 2015 STEM Index Shows Gender, Racial Gaps Widen
Compared to 2013, data from the 
U.S. News/Raytheon 2014 STEM Index shows a continued slight upward trend in STEM. However, it finds, "... remarkably little progress toward decreasing racial and gender disparities for interest and aptitude in STEM." The authors attribute that fact to the significant role of diverting students from the STEM pipeline caused by cultural issues such as early bias, discrimination and social expectations.

Key indices from the interactive report:
  • Degrees granted - Black graduates finished at the top of this index with a higher positive rate of change in master's and doctoral degrees than their white and Hispanic counterparts
  • Numbers of degrees - The only area where women kept pace with their male counterparts was total degrees earned
  • Advanced placement - Gender disparities between men and women scoring the requisite 3 or higher dropped from 12% to 5%
  • Other indices included are for: jobs, salaries, high school interest, and exam-based assessments (ACT, SAT, NAEP, and the international exams TIMSS and PISA)
Scientific AmericanHow Diversity Makes Us Smarter
Written by Katherine W. Phillips, Paul Calello Professor of Leadership and Ethics, and senior vice dean at Columbia Business School, this article reviews both correlations and causal experiments demonstrating that diversity makes us more creative, hard-working and diligent. She describes "informational diversity" as how people who are different from each other in race, gender and other dimensions bring unique information and experiences to bear on the task at hand.
Statistical and experimental highlights:
  • A study of the S&P Composite 1500 list - reflecting the overall U.S. equity market - found that having women in top management leads to an increase of $42 million in firm value
  • A study of 177 innovation-focused banks in the U.S. found that increased racial diversity clearly related to enhanced financial performance
  • In a murder mystery experiment of 3-member groups - some all white, some having one minority - the racially diverse groups significantly out-performed those with none
  • In an experiment involving groups discussing social issues, (researcher-written) dissenting arguments led to broader thinking only when a Black person presented to the all white group. The audience believed that a difference in perspective might exist and that belief made them change their thinking. 
Diversity works, the author concludes, by promoting hard work and creativity, and by encouraging the consideration of alternatives even before interaction takes place.

Focus on Gender
Photo of two businesswomen
Washington Post: Should We Name and Shame Companies That Pay Women Less?
Washington Post writer Jena McGregor quotes Exponential Talent Co-Leader Caroline Simard in the July 15 article, Should we name and shame companies that pay women less? The story is about Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announcing his intent to force every UK company with more than 250 employees  to publish the gap between what their male and female employees earn.
On the question of the United States' history of shying away from regulations that force companies to disclose pay data for men and women, Simard said, "I don’t see it happening in the U.S. anytime soon." She goes on to say, "A lot of companies, even if they don't necessarily talk about it (pay equity), have been looking at it.”
McGregor also writes about companies volunteering their pay data. “... corporations are focusing more and more on the issue. Gap made a splash last year when it publicly revealed, through an outside audit, that it paid its male and female employees equally.” Exponential Talent performed that third-party analysis.
In addition to being the Co-Leader for Exponential Talent, Simard is the Research Director of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research, based at Stanford.

TEDx DavisStWomen Talk: Hire Like a Rocket Scientist | Sally Thornton
Excellent points on hiring women for leadership teams by Sally Thornton, founder of Forshay Talent and member of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research Advisory Council.
  • Finding the right person for the job is like finding a purple unicorn - the single best person you're envisioning is a magical creature who may not be the top choice for your team and company, particularly over time
  • People who look like we do are most likely to get the job, but they won't get you the proven better financials created by gender diversity in your executive suite
  • The critical mass for women in leadership is 30% - fewer and their voices aren't heard and, therefore, your leadership team isn't hearing the voice of 85% of consumers
Washington Post: Who Really Gets Heard at Work?
A study recently published in the Journal of Applied Psychology about what affects an employee's voice being heard concluded that managers 
were more likely to recognize employees who spoke up when they were: 
  • White
  • Full- rather than part-time
  • At the company for more than a year
  • Deemed by their colleagues as helpful with advice and information
The findings again point to unconscious bias being at play. However, researchers were surprised at the effect gender had on other commonly held assumptions about women being penalized at work for being outspoken or otherwise behaving in ways contrary to gender stereotypes.

The researchers picked credit unions as their sample. Unlike most workplaces, in credit unions women make up 80 percent of the employees and more than 70 percent of the managers. Women in that environment, they found, were more rewarded for the assertive, outspoken behavior associated with performance and leadership.

Washington Post reporter Jena McGregor concludes that, since bias comes from deviation from the norm, normalizing diversity in leadership should make unconscious bias less of an issue.

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