CGO Workshop Teaches Techniques to Address Bias as "Bystanders"

In the workshop “Tools for Institutional Change,” held November 22, 2005, 100 Boston area residents, representing more than a dozen nonprofits as well as academics and consultants, came together to look at the role they can play as “bystanders” during incidents of bias in the workplace.

Bystanders can play a pivotal role in showing that the norms of valuing diversity and creating an inclusive workplace are critical. When there are deviations from these norms, bystanders can speak up, make room for silenced voices, halt a painful escalation, make a difference. The workshop provided specific examples and skills to empower bystanders to take on this challenging but important role. Shifting the focus off the “offended” and the “perpetrator” opens up space for everyone to own a role in shaping their organizations to be places where diverse contributions are valued.

A Dec. 1, 2005 article in the Bay State Banner describes the impact of this training. (Click here to read the article.) In addition, some of the suggested tools for bystanders are mentioned in a Dec. 22, 2005 article in Bay Windows. (Click here to read the article.)

The Center for Gender in Organizations (CGO) at Simmons School of Management partnered with the Diversity Initiative of Third Sector New England to convene this groundbreaking workshop. Dr. Stacy Blake-Beard, CGO Faculty Affiliate and Associate Professor at Simmons School of Management, and Dr. Maureen Scully, CGO Faculty Affiliate and Assistant Professor in Management at University of Massachusetts-Boston, facilitated the workshop. The workshop was funded by a grant from The Ford Foundation, as part of CGO’s continuing work on working across differences and diversity.


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