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Conference Proceeding

Strategizing with biases to engineer diversity: Three contrarian approaches

Academy of Management Proceedings 2018 (1)
Human resources management/organizational behavior
Biases, nudge, management
Engineering a healthy level of diversity is essential for organizational viability. But prior studies suggest that many cognitive and social processes are suboptimal, leading to self-reinforcing biases against diversity. Conventional inclusion policies that ignore these processes can be counterproductive when they go against the grain of human nature. Instead, I draw on the latest research in behavioral sciences and propose three contrarian approaches to engineer diversity through (a) arbitraging: motivating managers by presenting diversity biases as opportunities for exploiting competitors’ misevaluations of strategic factors; (b) sortition: identifying and sanitizing diversity biases through random selection; (c) nudging: reorganizing contexts to initiate other automatic processes to overcome diversity biases. Decision flowcharts are developed to specify the applicability and constraints of these contrarian approaches, and this paper offers further tools for managers to engineer diversity through strategizing with, rather than fighting against, stakeholders’ intuitions.
With permission of the Academy of Management
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