UCL School of Management

Research seminar

Research Seminar: Professor Corinne Bendersky, UCLA Anderson School of Management


Wednesday, 8 May 2024
11:00 – 12:30
Research Group
Organisations and Innovation

UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome,Professor Corinne Bendersky, UCLA Anderson School of Management,to host a research seminar discussing “Spotlighting Threat: Unpacking public scrutiny, intergroup dynamics, and reactance to organizational diversity initiatives in a public sector workforce”


We study negative reactions to organizational diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) efforts that are motivated by intense media scrutiny of organizations’ intergroup hierarchies in the wake of national social justice movements (e.g., #MeToo and BLM). In a multi-method field study of a city’s public-sector workforce, we discovered that the DEIB efforts of the police and fire departments, which were subject to intense media scrutiny about racial and gender inequities, were perceived as much more threatening than they were in the other 42 departments (e.g., the library, airport, and zoo) whose intergroup hierarchies were not under as strong an external spotlight. Our data indicate that dominant group members (men and White Americans) and some marginalized group members (women and People of Color) in the heavily-scrutinized departments interpreted DEIB efforts as threats to the stability of the departmental intergroup hierarchies. This made members of dominant groups’ privileged positions feel insecure and generated more negative downstream workplace climate experiences (psychological safety, procedural fairness, and social exclusion) for both members of both dominant and marginalized groups than for their peers in the less-scrutinized departments. Our findings help us understand how societal-level phenomena and organization-level characteristics jointly shape employees’ perceptions of DEIB efforts, and how those perceptions impact generalized workplace climate outcomes in ways that can help practitioners manage DEIB threats.

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Last updated Thursday, 2 May 2024