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Getting to Diversity

What Works and What Doesn’t

Frank Dobbin, Alexandra Kalev

ISBN 9780674276611

Publication date: 09/13/2022

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“Too many companies don’t know how to walk the walk of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Getting to Diversity shows them how.”
—Lori George Billingsley, former Global Chief DEI Officer, Coca-Cola Company

In an authoritative, data-driven account, two of the world’s leading management experts challenge dominant approaches to increasing workplace diversity and provide a comprehensive account of what really works.

Every year America becomes more diverse, but change in the makeup of the management ranks has stalled. The problem has become an urgent matter of national debate. How do we fix it? Bestselling books preach moral reformation. Employers, however well intentioned, follow guesswork and whatever their peers happen to be doing. Arguing that it’s time to focus on changing systems rather than individuals, two of the world’s leading experts on workplace diversity show us a better way in the first comprehensive, data-driven analysis of what succeeds and what fails. The surprising results will change how America works.

Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev draw on more than thirty years of data from eight hundred companies as well as in-depth interviews with managers. The research shows just how little companies gain from standard practice: sending managers to diversity training to reveal their biases, then following up with hiring and promotion rules, and sanctions, to shape their behavior. Almost nothing changes. It’s time, Dobbin and Kalev argue, to focus on changing the management systems that make it hard for women and people of color to succeed. They show us how the best firms are pioneering new recruitment, mentoring, and skill training systems, and implementing strategies for mixing segregated work groups to increase diversity. They explain what a difference ambitious work–life programs make. And they argue that as firms adopt new systems, the key to making them work is to make them accessible to all—not just the favored few.

Powerful, authoritative, and driven by a commitment to change, Getting to Diversity is the book we need now to address constructively one of the most fraught challenges in American life.

Praise

  • Too many companies don’t know how to walk the walk of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Getting to Diversity shows them how. It relies on hard data and real-life examples about what works and what doesn’t, laying out a case for making real change in a thorough, well-written, no-fluff account. Figures showing effects of diversity programs are absolutely riveting. Bravo.

    —Lori George Billingsley, former Global Chief DEI Officer, Coca-Cola Company

Authors

  • Frank Dobbin is Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences and Chair of the Department of Sociology at Harvard University. His books include Inventing Equal Opportunity and The Global Diffusion of Markets and Democracy (with Beth Simmons and Geoffrey Garrett).
  • Alexandra Kalev is Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University. Her award-winning paper “Cracking the Glass Cages?” shows how reducing segregation helps women and people of color to display their talents and move into management.

Book Details

  • 272 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press

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