Date of Conferral







Keri Heitner


Researchers showed that mandatory diversity training programs in large U.S. corporations adversely increase unconscious gender bias of promotion selection. The problem is that workplace diversity experts disagree about a consistent set of strategies to implement voluntary diversity training programs, adversely affecting the efficiency and productivity in training related to alleviating unconscious gender bias in selecting women to management. The purpose of this qualitative classical Delphi study was to determine how a panel of eight workplace diversity experts viewed the desirability and feasibility of forward-looking strategies for implementing voluntary diversity training programs to alleviate unconscious gender bias in selecting women to management. Employees’ intention to participate in non-mandatory trainings, content and method of diversity training, and unconscious associations of gender to leadership roles formed the conceptual framework. Panelists completed three rounds of online surveys. Narrative responses were analyzed for strategic content in Round 1 and informed items rated for desirability and feasibility in Rounds 2 and 3. Items meeting criteria for consensus comprised the resulting 16 strategies in eight categories: goal orientation, cognitive interest, job involvement, career insight, career identity, benefits, corporate stance, and secondary support. These strategies may inform organizational policies and practices, enabling a culture of curiosity to appreciate differences benefiting from diversity in solving corporate challenges. Women in corporate environments may experience increases in selection to leadership roles, reducing systematic sexism and unconscious leadership gender bias, leading to positive social change.