The Impact of Method, Motivation, and Empathy on Diversity Training Effectiveness
- 3.1k Downloads
The purpose of this paper is to examine method, motivation, and individual difference variables as they impact the effectiveness of a diversity training program in a field setting.
We conducted a longitudinal field experiment in which participants (N = 118) were randomly assigned to participate in one of three diversity training methods (perspective taking vs. goal setting vs. stereotype discrediting). Eight months after training, dependent measures on diversity-related motivations, attitudes and behaviors were collected.
Results suggest the effectiveness of diversity training can be enhanced by increasing motivation in carefully framed and designed programs. Specifically, self-reported behaviors toward LGB individuals were positively impacted by perspective taking. Training effects were mediated by internal motivation to respond without prejudice, and the model was moderated by trainee empathy.
These findings serve to demonstrate that diversity training participants react differently to certain training methods. Additionally, this study indicates that taking the perspective of others may have a lasting positive effect on diversity-related outcomes by increasing individuals’ internal motivation to respond without prejudice. These effects may be particularly powerful for training participants who are low in dispositional empathy.
This study is among the first to examine trainee reactions to diversity training exercises focused on different targets using different training methods. Additionally, we identify an important mediator (internal motivation to respond without prejudice) and boundary condition (trainee empathy) for examining diversity training effectiveness.
KeywordsDiversity training Motivation Empathy Perspective taking Goal setting Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) populations
- Batson, C. D., Polycarpou, M. P., Harmon-Jones, E., Imhoff, H. J., Michener, E. C., Bednar, L. L., et al. (1997). Empathy and attitudes: Can feeling for a member of a stigmatized group improve feelings toward the group? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 105–118.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Dudley, M. G., & Mulvey, D. (2009). Differentiating among outgroups: Predictors of congruent and discordant prejudice. North American Journal of Psychology, 11, 143–156.Google Scholar
- Esen, E. (2005). 2005 Workplace diversity practices: Survey report. Society for human resource management.Google Scholar
- Festiner, L. (1957). A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Goffman, E. (1963). Stigma. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
- Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Hayes, A. F. (in press). An Index and Test of Linear Moderated Mediation. Multivariate Behavioral Research. Google Scholar
- Hogg, M. A., & Terry, D. J. (2000). Social identity and self-categorization processes in organizational contexts. Academy of Management Review, 25, 121–140.Google Scholar
- Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (1990). A theory of goal setting and task performance. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- McConahay, J. B. (1986). Modern racism, ambivalence, and the modern racism scale. In J. F. Dovidio & S. L. Gaertner (Eds.), Prejudice, discrimination and racism (pp. 91–126). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
- Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. In W. G. Austin & S. Worchel (Eds.), Psychology of Intergroup Relations (pp. 7–24). Chicago: Nelson-Hall.Google Scholar
- Toosie, M. (2006). A new look at long term labor force projections to 2050. Monthly Labor Review, 129, 19–39.Google Scholar