What Does Prejudice Look Like in the Workplace?
Prejudice stems from intergroup bias and stereotypes. These stereotypes fuel actions, emotions, and thoughts that often lead to poor intergroup contact, despite the stereotype: positive, negative, or helpful. Our coworkers go through struggles every day. LGBTQ communities still battle sexism. Ethnic groups struggle with representation and equality. The CoachDiversity Institute is tackling the problem—through diversity coaching certifications.
These certifications help with prejudice reduction in the workplace and provide intervention tools during harassing situations. Additionally, certified diversity coaches can help educate your team in awareness, listening techniques, and intergroup relations. Prejudice doesn’t belong, and this article explores how to reduce discrimination within your company!
Prejudice is more than white people discriminating against black people, and additional studies like the ones from Dovidio and Gaertner prove the discrimination is more extensive. Hewstone, Guilford, and Fiske also have extensive studies. Their Common Ingroup Identity Model is still in use today.
Different Types of Stereotypes
Negative stereotypes are the ones most common. Stereotypes are an oversimplification of perceived qualities a group of people has. They are often hurtful, incite harassment, and are absolutely baseless assumptions.
However, there are positive and helpful stereotypes. Instead of disliking an ethnicity for perceived differences, positive stereotypes attempt to celebrate ethnic groups. Understanding how they’re different helps break down barriers, reduce discrimination, and build an inclusive environment for everyone.
Positive stereotypes are perceived positive qualities about a group of people. These stereotypes are often racial discriminations like “Asians are good at math” or “African Americans are good at sports.” While the perception is that these are positive qualities, the reality is that these stereotypes lead to favoritism, strengthened implicit bias, and further intergroup conflict.
Positive stereotypes include social categorizations that reinforce unrealistic qualities, and many find it impossible to live up to these expectations. These expectations can cause real mental health issues. Plus, these stereotypes actively work to undermine the true abilities of underrepresented ethnic minority groups.
Stereotypes are often viewed in a negative connotation—almost always rightfully so. However, there are some instances where stereotypes can be helpful. Experimental social psychology shows age requirements are a generalized assumption that can be helpful. For example, it would be disastrous to allow adolescents to drive. And the assumption is that by 16, most teenagers will have developed reasoning skills to allow for driving.
Even though some adolescents will have the cognitive ability to drive, it’s cheaper and often safer to avoid the situation altogether. The stereotype surrounding age powers several laws, from voting to driving to smoking. In a rapidly changing world, helpful stereotypes have the potential to save lives.
Negative stereotypes are exactly how they sound—negative representations of a specific group of people. Negative stereotypes support assumptions of poor characteristics, unfavorable qualities, or unacceptable morals.
Negative stereotypes are toxic yet persist thanks to bystander neglect, lack of real-world education, and disinterest among communities that can make a difference. CoachDiversity Institute has courses designed to provide individuals with the tools and skills to address and eliminate negative stereotypes.
Most stereotypes are harmful, but aggressive or hostile actions towards members of different groups take stereotyping to a dark place. Harmful stereotypes actively seek to undermine those with perceived negative behaviors.
Harmful stereotypes cause mental health problems, and the concern is troubling with suicide on the rise, especially in underprivileged high school communities. Working with certified diversity coaches helps counter harmful stereotypes. With CoachDiversity Institute, you can join the ranks of authoritative culture changers.
Methods to Prejudice Reduction in Your Company
Prejudice reduction in your company has many benefits, including a stronger bottom line. However, getting to that point will take dedication and hard work. Here are some proven methods you can take today to start changing your organization into an inclusive workplace powerhouse.
1. Educate Your Team.
Prejudice reduction starts with evaluations and perspective-taking questionnaires to shift the company culture. Education begins with awareness through cultural competence and cooperative learning. Establishing a basic diversity training course in your organization could also be beneficial. Regardless of the training method, prejudice reduction starts with educating your team.
If you don’t know where to start, CoachDiversity Institute has the resources to educate corporate teams through various programs. Each program gives individuals the skills needed to address implicit bias and eliminate microaggressions in the workplace. CoachDiversity Institute’s programs have International Coaching Federation (ICF) accreditation to provide authority for lasting change.
2. Listen and Validate When Others Share Their Experiences.
Social psychology finds it very natural to share, and it’s okay not to have similar experiences. But in those moments, the most value comes from listening and validating others’ experiences. Hearing stories and validating those confessions empowers understanding between cultures.
Listening is the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle that helps connect members of other groups. Powerful connections form from active listening of minority groups. When marginalized communities feel comfortable sharing their experiences, intergroup attitudes change, higher levels of inclusion happen, and more transparent communication becomes positive outcomes.
3. Encourage Bystander Interventions.
Social psychologists show time and time again that prejudice comes in many forms, such as microaggressions, derogatory jokes, and even outright harassment. Outgroup members receive harassment in private settings, but just as often, there are bystanders to witness the onslaught. Unfortunately, these events pass by without a second look, deepening the divide in workplace communities.
To tackle the problem, recategorization of intervention should take place. Everyone should utilize the 4Ds of bystander intervention. When the situation is safe to do so, follow these easy-to-remember steps to diffuse a hostile situation.
- Direct – Take a direct approach, speak up, and don’t tolerate intergroup conflict. The direct approach allows those impacted to get to a safe space.
- Distract – Distract either party from the situation at hand. Diffusing the situation with distractions buys time for more permanent action.
- Delegate – Sometimes, an extra hand is needed. Call for help when things get tough, and don’t try to tackle more significant issues on your own.
- Delay – Check back in with those impacted after time has passed. This act builds companionship and emotional support.
Setting the tone that there is no place for prejudice in the workplace gets everyone involved with positive attitudes. Being a bystander gives you the power to change the situation and call out members of one’s own group to reject negative attitudes towards members of other groups. With CoachDiversity Institute, you can take being a bystander to the next level with a certified diversity coach program.
4. Be an Ally, Advocate, and Activist.
Our coworkers are family away from home. They stand next to us for several hours daily, sharing experiences unique to the organization. Standing by our other social groups and supporting their struggles means being an ally, advocate, and activist for members of that group.
Speaking up for what’s right takes courage, but the benefits are clear. Workplaces become more inclusive, teams connect more effectively, and productivity soars. Plus, making a few extra friends along the way doesn’t hurt!
Reduce Prejudice in Your Company with Coach Diversity
Prejudice has no place in modern workplaces. Companies are becoming more diverse as global reach increases. The only way to remain competitive is to value all team members. It all starts with eliminating existing prejudices, establishing cohesive teams, and respecting individuals of all backgrounds. Gordon Allport worked tirelessly in psychological sciences and was often published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology to help break down negative behaviors.
With the help of CoachDiversity Institute’s various courses, your teams have the tools they need to eliminate this toxic aspect of workplace culture. CoachDiversity Institute has robust training programs geared to individuals looking for certification, including certified diversity coach or associate diversity coach. The tools and support gained from these programs give leaders a sage-like advantage in squashing prejudice.