A new study has uncovered a confusing double standard about promoting diversity in the office.
Climbing the social ladder is sometimes a daunting task on its own. That’s why women and minorities often look to help each other out when they get into a position to do so. They know the struggle, so they want to help open doors and create opportunities for people in their position.
Shockingly, even though more work places are looking to diversify, there’s new evidence to suggest that it’s only encouraged when it comes from certain managers.
A study from the University of Colorado has found that women and minorities are penalized for reaching back to help other women and minorities advance. However, white males in positions of authority are encouraged to promote them.
According to The Huffington Post, the findings for the study came from two different experiments.
In the first one, researchers looked at the performance evaluations of 362 executives that were in a leadership training program. They were appraised by their bosses and peers. It was found that women and minorities who were more sensitive to racial and gender diversity got lower ratings in their reviews than those who did not. Conversely, white men seemed to get about the same rating either way.
Next researchers had about 400 students watch actors portraying human resources workers. They found that when women and minority workers are pushed to hire more women and minority candidates–as opposed to white male applicants–it got more of a negative reaction from the students.
One of the researchers has even noticed how this phenomenon has played out at the University of Colorado. David Hekman of the university’s Leeds School of Business thinks that one way to combat this might be to swap out the idea of “diversity” for “demographic unselfishness.”
“Almost all of diversity offices are run by non-whites and women, but I think that further ghettoizes diversity itself and makes it so it’s not taken seriously,” said David. “Nobody can attack a white man for being selfish if he’s promoting diversity.”
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