Nordic Centre of Excellence:
Reassessing the Nordic
Bjørn Hvinden +4722541217
Viggo Nordvik +4722541269
Mi Ah Schøyen +4722541286
Seminars with Frank Dobbin
Frank Dobbin, professor of sociology at Harvard University, will give two lectures at NOVA on equal opportunity policies and diversity management, May 19th and May 20th 2011.
Dobbin is the author of Inventing Equal Opportunity, Princeton University Press, 2009. The book gives a historic presentation of what has been meant by ”discrimination”, ”equal opportunities” and ”diversity” in the workplace in the United States. Policies to promote equal opportunities in the workplace are often thought to be the legacy of the American Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Movement and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Dobbin shows, however, that employers in practice have had more influence on the contents of such policies than Congress or the courts. The book was the winner of the Max Weber Award for best work in organizational sociology. Dobbin has later studied the effectiveness of affirmative action programs to promote diversity in the workplace (diversity management) in the United States.
Policies to prevent discrimination and promote equal opportunities in the workplace have developed differently and had a different design in the United States compared to Norway. But since the end of the 1990s, the EU and other European countries, including Norway, have to a larger extent looked to the United States for inspiration on these types of policies. Social science researchers have gradually turned their attention to the significance of corporate culture for the results of equal opportunity and diversity programs in the workplace. The seminars offer a chance to discuss what Norway can learn from the American experience.
Thursday May 19th, 12-14: “Does Diversity Management Increase Corporate Diversity?”
In this seminar Dobbin examines the effects of U.S. diversity management innovations on actual workforce diversity. Using federal data over a period of 30 years, he and his coauthors have found that the most popular diversity management innovations, designed to prevent managerial bias, have failed: diversity training, diversity performance evaluations, and bureaucratic hiring and promotion procedures. Yet diversity management innovations designed to involve managers in solving the problem of workforce integration have been quite successful at promoting racial, ethnic, and gender diversity. These include mentoring programs, action-oriented diversity taskforces, and full-time diversity staffers. The findings have implications for public policy, integration, and management theory.
Friday May 20th, 12-14: “You Can’t Always Get What You Need: Why U.S. Firms Adopt Diversity Programs”
Organizational sociologists have long argued that firms subject to regulatory scrutiny, and those that have the most segregated workforces, will be first to embrace diversity programs. In this study, Dobbin and colleagues show that it isn’t firms that most need diversity programs that adopt them, but firms that have strong cultures of responding to new social norms. Firms in progressive industries, firms with a history of progressive programs, and firms that have already hired a lot of women managers are the first to adopt diversity programs.
The seminars will be held in English, but questions can also be asked in Norwegian.
Address: Munthesgate 29
For more information on Frank Dobbin: http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/soc/faculty/dobbin/
For more information on the seminars, contact Rune Halvorsen (22541351, firstname.lastname@example.org)