Unconscious Bias Interventions for Business: An Initial Test of WAGES-Business (Workshop Activity for Gender Equity Simulation) and Google's “re:Work” Trainings

Kaitlin McCormick-Huhn, Lizbeth M. Kim, Stephanie A. Shields

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Training employees about unconscious bias is gaining importance for employers, yet most trainings have not been evaluated and, to our knowledge, no theory-grounded interventions for business exist. We developed such an intervention for business, WAGES-Business. In Studies 1 and 2a, undergraduates (N = 216; N = 246) were randomly assigned to WAGES-Business, Google's “re:Work” training, or a control. Study 2a participants, contacted 7–14 days later for Study 2b (N = 126), responded to bias relevant and irrelevant vignettes. Across studies, participants in Google's training and WAGES-Business demonstrated greater acknowledgment and concern about unconscious bias relative to a control. Participants in WAGES-Business reported greater concern than participants in Google's training. WAGES-Business participants also had relatively greater knowledge of workplace gender equity issues postintervention, and demonstrated selectively greater recognition of bias and willingness to confront bias, relative to control, after 7–14 days. Both interventions yielded greater willingness to discuss and confront bias relative to control when interventions involved actively practicing these behaviors. Results suggest the importance of active practice and concern about bias, but not bias acknowledgment, for confronting intentions. Overall, findings underscore the need for intervention evaluation, suggest a distinction between bias acknowledgment and concern, and suggest WAGES-Business may be more promising for intervention than Google's training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnalyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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