The American Sociological Association published a great study* "Diversity Management in Corporate America" in 2007 that I often refer to when considering the role of mentoring in diversity management. The ASA study asked and answered the following question:
Q: "Do America’s costly diversity-management programs work?"
A: "Some do and some don’t. The best idea is to assign clear responsibility."
And this answer is not surprising if you understand what mentoring’s all about. Mentoring is establishing a personal relationship with someone who is interested in assisting you in your career. It is this personal dimension that changes people.
Therefore, as opposed to a training class on diversity where participants may be sensitized to diversity issues but never change their behavior, in mentoring, diversity is part of the discussion. Therefore, each partner learns about each other—they learn about different cultures, different ethinicities, etc. And in that bonding experience, they not only become sensitized to diversity issues, but also have the opportunity to bring about real change to the organization.
To learn more about how diversity and mentoring work together, check out our free white paper, The Well Leveraged Mentoring Program:
*American Sociological Association. "Diversity Management in Corporate America." Dobbin, Frank; Kalev, Alexandra; and Kelly, Erin. Vol 6, Number 4, pp 21-27, 2007