Date of Degree
Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Training and Development
diversity training, social dominance orientation, right-wing authoritarianism, perceived utility of diveristy training, diveristy in organizations, training and development
The effectiveness of diversity training has been debated by researchers, practitioners, and policy makers. This debate illustrates the varied perceptions regarding the utility of diversity training and suggests that many trainees enter these programs with the expectation that they are not useful. Uncovering the drivers of pre-training perceptions of utility will provide a deeper understanding of employee buy-in to such initiatives. It would also allow researchers and practitioners to unpack a key element of the training context to inform the design and delivery of diversity training programs. I examined diversity training type (i.e., whether the training is awareness-based, skills-based, or combined) and individual differences related to prejudice, namely social dominance orientation (SDO) and right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), as predictors of the perceived utility of diversity training. In order to examine the perceived utility of diversity training, I developed a measure to assess this construct for the current study; pilot and main study results provided validity and reliability evidence for this measure. I tested study predictions using a between-subjects design, in which undergraduate participants were randomly assigned to learn about varying types of diversity training. Results suggest that the perceived utility of diversity training varies widely depending on these predictors. Specifically, a main effect of diversity training type emerged, such that participants who learned about a combined program (i.e., one that focused on both skills and awareness) saw diversity training as significantly more useful than those who learned about an awareness-based program or the control condition. However, only the difference in perceived utility between the combined and control conditions emerged consistently after controlling for diversity-related self-efficacy. Furthermore, SDO was found to be negatively related to the perceived utility of diversity training, such that participants higher in SDO saw diversity training as less useful – specifically, items reflecting beliefs in anti-egalitarianism appeared to drive this main effect of SDO. In contrast, the main effect of RWA on perceived utility was nonsignificant. However, the relationship between these individual differences and perceived utility varied depending on diversity training type. Specifically, for participants who were assigned to the combined condition, the relationship between SDO and perceived utility was strongly negative, such that participants higher in SDO saw diversity training as less useful than those lower in SDO. In contrast, the relationship between SDO and perceived utility was much weaker among participants in all other conditions. Once again, items reflecting beliefs in anti-egalitarianism (i.e., the SDO-E subscale) appeared to drive significant interactions between SDO and diversity training type. In contrast, the relationship between RWA and perceived utility was positive, particularly among those who learned about the skills-based training, while this relationship was much weaker among those in the combined condition. However, it should be noted that this effect was no longer significant when controlling for diversity-related self-efficacy. Furthermore, perceived utility was found to differ depending on race and gender, such that Black women saw diversity training programs as less useful than Black men, while White women saw diversity training programs as more useful than White men. This study extends the limited research on the perceived utility of diversity training and may help practitioners to increase the perceived utility of diversity training programs in their organizations.
Rainone, Nicolette A., "How Useful Do You Think This Diversity Training Is? The Impact of Training Type and Individual Differences on Pre-Training Perceived Utility of Diversity Training" (2022). CUNY Academic Works.
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