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As part of our Rotman Short Talks series, hear from Professor Sonia Kang about how diversity statements can have unintended consequences. Based on her research on whitening resumés, she shows that minorities tend to disguise their minority status when applying for jobs, understanding rightly that firms tend to select people at a lower rate when their ethnic background is more visible. Yet, when firms make statements about their desire for diverse candidates, applicants are less likely to “whiten” their resumés. Unfortunately, even these firms that make diversity statements tend to hire racialized minorities at lower rates, thus leading diversity statements to have the opposite of the intended effect.  See our research brief about the study here.

Sonia Kang is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management in the Department of Management at the University of Toronto Mississauga, and holds a cross-appointment to the Organizational Behaviour and HR Management area at Rotman. Her research explores the challenges and opportunities of diversity, including strategies for mitigating the far-reaching effects of stigma and harnessing the power of diversity for society and organizations alike. Sonia’s research has been published in journals including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, Administrative Science Quarterly, and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and has been featured in media outlets such as The Globe and Mail and The Atlantic.