Date: 27 May
Moa Bursell is postdoctoral researcher in sociology. Her research concerns implicit prejudice, ethnic inclusion, exclusion and boundary making in the labor market and in welfare services.
Implicit bias reduction programs have become increasingly popular among organizations that aim to improve equality and to counteract discriminatory behaviour. However, recent evidence from the field of psychology suggest that it is very difficult to reduce implicit bias over the long-term. Critics have thus arguedt hat programs aiming to reduce implicit bias are not helpful in decreasing unequal treatment and discrimination in organizations. While most psychological accounts perceive implicit bias as an individual disposition, an alternative, sociological approach is that it primarily reflects the situations in which the individuals are located. This approach is consistent with findings of implicit bias being more stable at aggregate levels than at the individual level. Thus, it may be possible to reduce the level of implicit bias at the organizational level, while at the same time observing no significant effect at the individual level. In the present study, we have tried to reduce implicit bias over the long term with a program inspired by Patricia Devine’s (2012) habit-breaking intervention. Participants are social workers conducting the program as a part of the organizations’ diversity work. The effects of the program are studied both at the individual and at the organizational level.
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