Diversity and inclusion in the workplace Part III: Stereotyping

Stereotypes are everywhere. Just look at the popular delineation of members of certain age groups as “millennials” and “boomers.” On the surface, grouping people into categories based on their demographics can be helpful. An employee in their 60s who is close to retiring will have a different set of concerns and priorities than a college intern. In fact, the entire discussion of diversity in the workplace typically focuses on dealing with subgroups of people. This actually reinforces group preconceptions.

The problem occurs when people treat others based on stereotypes. A stereotype is a generalization used to distinguish a group. So, when you say, “Basketball players are tall,” you’re expressing a stereotype. You’re using a generalization to describe all members of a group. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the effect of stereotyping in the workplace, and give you tips for improving your organization’s diversity and inclusion training.

Why Stereotyping Can Be Seen as Useful

Generalizing populations can sometimes be seen as useful in an organization. For example, the DiSC model is a form of grouping or identifying people. The DiSC assessment is used to divide people into four different patterns of behavior: the direct D, the influential I, the productive S, and the conscientious C. Understanding yours and other’s communication styles can help you identify motivators and stressors unique to those groups. This can be a powerful tool used to adapt to others in order to be more effective.


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