Overcoming Workplace Inequality: Interventions to Reduce Social-Category Biases and Increase Inclusion in the Workplace

Awarded Scholars:
Katherine Milkman, University of Pennsylvania
Adam Grant, University of Pennsylvania
Angela Duckworth, University of Pennsylvania
Cade Massey, University of Pennsylvania
Project Date:
Jul 2017
Award Amount:

Many large corporations have invested in efforts to reduce bias and promote equality in their organizations. Most of these interventions have focused on raising awareness about unconscious bias and changing attitudes, yet there is no scientific evidence that they are effective. While laboratory and field research has shown that certain interventions can increase awareness of bias in the workplace and increase a person’s belief in his or her ability to act in unbiased ways, researchers do not yet know the extent to which these efforts have changed actual behaviors in the workplace.

Katherine Milkman and colleagues will examine the extent to which a novel bias intervention leads to behavior changes that can have a meaningful impact in reducing workplace inequalities.  The psychologically informed, one-time intervention, targeted at professional-level workers, begins by establishing the norm that people have biases, and that even targets of stereotypes hold stereotypes about their own groups. Next, it provides personalized feedback about the respondent’s own biases, to motivate them to change their behavior. Finally, it provides research-backed strategies for overcoming bias and the opportunity to practice using those strategies. The researchers will study whether this practice can make new behaviors habitual.


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


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