Physical and digital space design to facilitate inclusion

Over the past year, commentators have proposed a wide range of strategies, including: Individual When Organization To become more anti-racist. These strategies are important and timely, White backlash Those directed to their implementation are at risk of further racism.Indeed, white men, who generally occupy the top position in the organizational hierarchy, are more likely to perceive. Diversity Policy and Messaging as a Threat,this is more Not less inequality within the organization. This is not a new phenomenon: A Data review From 829 companies over 30 years, diversity programs that seek to control manager behavior (eg, mandatory diversity training, complaint systems, etc.) have more consequences than reduce bias, and as a result. , The intended result.

In the face of this backlash, leaders looking to make lasting changes in their organizations need new tools.Current strategies are primarily focused on changing minds and minds, but recent research has shown. Our own — Shows that the physical and digital space of an organization plays a powerful yet often neglected role. Here we show how leaders design workplaces and processes to facilitate active contact between members of different racial groups, thereby initiating a cascade of diversity and inclusive outcomes.

The dilemma of inter-group communication

apart from Increasing racial diversity at the national level, The United States remains highly isolated in line with racism.Whites are disproportionate as the main gatekeepers of these institutions Pipeline control In the most influential position in American business and society. Even employees in the same organization Self-separate according to race..This has profound implications for who has it Access to the most elite institutions of society (Example: Ivy League colleges, leading companies, private country clubs, etc.).

One challenge is that Difficult to change racial prejudice meaningfullyPartly because it is perpetuated by the environment in which people live and work (mostly isolated).But decades of scientific research have shown that racial attitudes are a powerful method. can The change is Inter-group contact.. It is also effective for delicate and casual contact. For example, during World War II Casual group contact Local prejudice has been reduced between British African-American soldiers and white locals. In fact, modern residents of communities where more (less) African-American soldiers were stationed during World War II continue to express implicit and explicit racial prejudice. .. Second, active interactions between groups can create a virtuous cycle.

As racial diversity increases, contact between groups automatically increases, so it may seem reasonable to assume that relationships between groups improve as organizations diversify.But that’s not what we found in us Recently published study.. Specifically, as the racial diversity of communities increases, Caucasian residents are eager to gather in a more racially homogeneous living and institutional environment and build physical and psychological barriers. I showed that I was there. White America is (quietly) self-separating.. One experiment found that White Americans’ preference for building an environment in this way was partly caused by anxiety associated with their potential to interact with others other than Caucasians. ..

We have even found that evidence of these preferences is embedded primarily in the policies of white-owned institutions and organizations. Using data from all tennis and golf clubs in the United States, clubs in racially diverse and less community clubs may have more exclusive policies (eg, higher) that may further limit them. Green fee, stricter dress code, more restrictive guest policy). Opportunity for communication between groups.

Therefore, our research highlights a nasty dilemma. Intergroup encounter threshold This may be necessary for organizations (and countries) to enjoy the benefits of an increasingly diverse society. Therefore, a high level of racial diversity does not necessarily increase contact between groups. more More than (not a few) negative intergroup attitudes Threat awareness.. This view is Recent research A Catholic and Protestant group in Belfast, Ireland, found that those who had had a lot of contact between groups in the past were less likely to visit public spaces in areas controlled by members outside the group.

Change space to change attitudes between groups

A simple idea of ​​how contact between groups should manifest can further complicate matters. The two views that intergroup contact should either be obliged to appear completely randomly or should be left are important that intergroup contact can appear as a result of carefully designed space. It goes against the intermediate approach. By accepting this midpoint, organizations develop compelling and creative strategies to not only facilitate meaningful group contact, but also create spaces that make employees feel truly welcome. You can be in a better position to do.

Our ideas are made known by the work of renowned psychologist Kurt Lewin. Three-stage model of change He emphasized the importance of unfreezing the status quo, moving to a new equilibrium, and refreezing to fix changes. An important insight derived from Lewin’s model is that identifying and eliminating barriers to change is a more effective way to change people’s behavior than to increase pressure on change. It means that there are many. Our proposal is honestly in line with this view. By changing the space in two main ways, organizations can remove barriers to contact between groups that can change attitudes between groups.

Casual intergroup encounters in physical space

Organizations can create the right conditions to make casual interactions with colleagues of different races more common. for example, Classic studyStudents randomly assigned to live with roommates of different races during their first year of college are in their fourth year than students randomly assigned to live with roommates of the same race. The study found that they had a more positive intergroup attitude. This happened because students offered many opportunities for casual encounters between groups by sharing the same physical space every day. This also applies to the workplace. for example, Recent research at the Medical Research Symposium A randomized opportunity for face-to-face encounters between scientists, discovering that pairs of scientists thus met are more likely to work together.

As designed by the leaders of the organization Covid Safe WorkspaceIt is recommended that re-entry may also include redesigning the physical space for more casual group encounters.For example, the physical distance between offices Much less likely Employees interact with each other, organizations can provide instead Comprehensive meeting space Convenient, accessible and comfortable for all groups.In the context of an organization, a space that acts as an architectural funnel (for example, an office bathroom is placed to generate foot traffic through a common area. Like Steve Jobs was Pixar) Or social magnets (eg, Microsoft’s huge maker space, garage) May promote more casual encounters beyond common needs and interests. Create coordinated encounters and conversation opportunities with and through the community by rethinking public and community experiences with the help of organizations such as: Public space project When People’s supperEach can also help in this regard. In a broader sense, thinking about where people work, who they interact with, and how their interactions occur can involve behavioral scientists, engineers, and architects. I suggest that it should be the focus of work.

Casual group encounters in digital space

Spatial design extends beyond the physical environment to the digital domain, as the Covid-19 pandemic has made it particularly relevant. As a result, not all employees or organizations can implement changes to physical spaces that allow them to increase casual contact between groups. and, Working from home may be beneficial to many employees, One possible side effect is reduced contact between groups. The workplace is often one of the few places that offers employees living in isolated neighborhoods the opportunity to meet casual groups.

Technological advances may provide new ways for employees to interact across groups in digital Recent research in a large global organizationFor example, a randomized, synchronized, informal virtual meeting between a remote intern and a senior executive.Other studies are using Free lunch These are as incentives to randomly pair employees across the organization that may not otherwise interact. Bridging organizational hierarchy Especially lunch is “Social botArranged by a human actor, not.

Similarly, managers can provide Clubhouse (which can provide space for people to have casual drop-in audio conversations) and Gather (which can provide a navigable virtual environment to help colleagues feel connected). , You can find a creative way to use the app. To promote more casual encounters between groups).In fact, the digital world uses virtual reality technology Engineer’s casual inter-group contact experience For employees in an immersive and realistic social environment Used for onboarding or training.. Organizational leaders even have the opportunity to pursue these goals across organizational boundaries. For example, leaders can expose members of an organization to other cultures by arranging their own activities organized by local experts as part of team building exercises and company withdrawals.

Diversity and inclusiveness are difficult to achieve and manage. Many initiatives focus on changing minds and minds to overcome diversity and resistance to inclusion, but these initiatives are one of the most powerful and proven tools in psychology. I overlook the design of a physical and virtual interaction space. Low resistance paths may involve careful design selection.

Physical and digital space design to facilitate inclusion

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