In a study of American business school deans, researchers have concluded that "simple demographic measures such as [gender] and race are far less indicative of attitudes toward diversity than richer attitudinal measures such as leader awareness of racial issues for these highly educated unit managers".
One of the key findings of the study suggests the relative success of diversity initiatives in any organization requires more than heightened awareness:
"For organizational leaders that want to prod managers to adopt a proactive approach, the results of this study suggest that awareness training alone will not change the working environment or increase retention of minorities. Organizational leaders who seek to prod managers to expand diversity activities in their units need to implement structural pressures. Future research could assess the relative effect of diversity strategic priority, diversity accountability, authority to implement diversity initiatives and constituent pressure on extensiveness of diversity activities. Some of these variables may have relatively greater effect than others. Additional research could investigate whether there are other unexplored structural variables that influence the extensiveness of diversity initiatives."
"The Influence of Organizational Diversity Orientation and Leader Attitude on Diversity Activities"
E Holly Buttner, Kevin B Lowe, Lenora Billings-Harris.
Journal of Managerial Issues. Pittsburg: Fall 2006.Vol.18, Iss. 3; pg. 356, 17 pgs