Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training: What does the research tell us? – Press release February 13, 2024

February 13, 2024



CALGARY: A new research report authored by social scientist David Millard Haskell (Associate Professor Wilfrid Laurier University) and published by the Aristotle Foundation for Public Policy reviews the existing scholarship in the field of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI). It determines whether DEI instruction leads to greater harmony and less bigotry—or to the opposite.

Professor Haskell’s study reviews the literature on DEI training from the world’s top social scientific journals including the Annual Review of Psychology, Anthropology Now, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Psychological Science, and Journal of Personality and Social Psychology among others. Authors of the reviewed literature are researchers associated with various post-secondary institutions including Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, University of Michigan, Syracuse University, Aberdeen University, and others.

On the main “takeaway” from his report, Prof. Haskell said, Proponents of DEI instruction make the bold claim that ‘it works.’ That is, they claim that it’s effective in changing behaviour toward the positive. That claim is not supported by the empirical evidence. Haskell added, However, there’s clear empirical evidence that certain aspects of DEI instruction lead to greater prejudice and even harm.”

Select findings from Prof. Haskell’s Reality Check are as follows:

  • Past research claiming the DEI instruction is effective at producing lasting, positive behavioral change suffers from serious weaknesses in its “internal and external validity” and “troubling indications of publication bias.” These methodological inadequacies do not allow one to determine whether, when, and why such interventions reduce prejudice in the world.
  • Recent meta-analyses of the extant DEI literature have identified a troubling trend: DEI instruction has grown exponentially while proof that it does anything positive has not materialized. Specifically, “Implementation of DT [Diversity Training] has clearly outpaced the available evidence that such programs are effective in achieving their goals.”
  • Various studies have shown that DEI instruction, generally, can activate bigotry rather than suppress it. More specifically, certain core concepts promoted during DEI training (e.g., “white privilege”) have been directly linked to increased hostility toward the majority population.
  • Core concepts promoted as “facts” during DEI instructions have been found to lack empirical support (e.g., claims of systemic racism).

“’Organic’ diversity—where individuals of all colours, creed and ancestry are free to flourish within a Canadian mosaic that values everyone equally—is a good thing,” notes Prof. Haskell. “What my review of the literature shows is that DEI instruction does not promote that kind of society. Under the influence of DEI, the world can become a more divisive, hostile place.”

Link to the study: What DEI research concludes about diversity training: It is divisive, counter-productive, and unnecessary.

To arrange for an author interview, note the contact below.



Joanne Birce, Administrative Coordinator

Aristotle Foundation for Public Policy

Email: info@aristotlefoundation.org

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