Juan M. Madera, Jack A. Neal and Mary Dawson, all of the University of Houston, published “A Strategy for Diversity Training : Focusing on Empathy in the Workplace” in the November 2011 issue.
The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of a diversity training exercise using perspective taking to increase positive attitudes toward non-English-speaking individuals. Ninety-six participants were given a pretest (survey) followed by the training and a post-test. Participants were randomly assigned as a “manager” or an “employee.” The managers were provided with a recipe and instructions in English, and the managers’ employees provided with the recipe and instruction in an abstract, non-English language. The results of a repeated-measures ANOVA showed a significant effect of perspective-taking training on attitudes toward non-English speakers, such that attitudes were more positive post-training than pre-training. The effect of the training on the attitudes toward non-English speaking individuals was moderated by the status role (i.e., manager or employee). In addition, participants’ empathy mediated the relationship between the perspective-taking training and attitudes, such that perspective taking induced empathy, resulting in more positive attitudes.
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