Public lecture audience

The value of diversity and inclusion

Diversity training does have knowledge outcomes, but does not necessarily translate into behavioural change
Quinetta Roberson addresses the audience during her public lecture at the Shaw Library.

Professor Quinetta Roberson, the Fred J. Springer Endowed Chair in Business Leadership at Villanova University, joined the Department of Management last week to deliver her public lecture entitled ‘Beyond Diversity: are inclusive organisations truly attainable?’

Jackie Coyle-Shapiro chaired the event at the Shaw Library on Tuesday 9 October 2018, opening with a fitting introduction and hosting a lively Q&A.

Quinetta spoke to a packed out audience about the benefits that a diverse mix of cultures, identities and experiences can bring to an organisation.

However, she emphasised how businesses cannot simply stop at hiring across a broad demographic spectrum. Instead, they must consider the experience and needs of thier staff once they are in their roles.

Quinetta stated that employees need to feel personally appreciated and respected, and must feel as if they can add value to the organisation. She stated that inclusion is “more about participation, more about the contribution, more about the involvement of the workforce.” She went on to explain how inclusion occurs when people are “given the opportunity to be involved meaningfully in the work the organisation does.”

And whilst Quinetta has led on extensive academic research into the meaning of inclusion within organisations, the real challenge comes in changing behaviours. Diversity training does have knowledge outcomes, but does not necessarily translate into behavioural change, she explained.

Quinetta also noted that people often join organisations that appear inclusive, but find that diversity isn’t actually valued – which causes them to leave.

The lecture also raised the notion of design thinking as a method with which to tackle inclusivity within organisations, encouraging businesses to use a more experience-based approach.

Evidently inspired by the talk, a sea of hands shot up during the Q&A session which followed the lecture. And with more questions than time, the debate moved on to Twitter using the hashtag #LSEInclusive.

This event was a public lecture organised by the Department of Management. On Monday 12 November 2018 we will be welcoming Farrah Storr, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan, to speak on how to succeed outside your comfort zone.

Listen to the event podcast.

Tuesday 9 October 2018