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Special Issue: Racism, Equality, and Ethics

05 Jun 2020
Uprooting Racism - AOM President's Message: Voicing Our Values
AOM Insights


“Mega-threats,” such as police killings of unarmed African-American citizens, can send shockwaves through workplaces, even if employees have no direct connection to the victims.

Appointing women or racial minorities as CEOs can have the unfortunate effect of white male executives helping their colleagues less.

While white women are underrepresented in corporate leadership, women of color face an even more arduous and complex road to the top.

“Our review showed that tokens have higher levels of depression and stress. They’re more likely to experience discrimination and sexual harassment,” a researcher says.

Despite the billions of dollars U.S. companies spend on diversity programs each year, current strategies will not necessarily achieve their goals.

Researchers recommend building diversity training around tolerance, with a goal of effective dialogue through open and honest conversations.

We often neglect to acknowledge that race can be complex, with many ethnicities blending through intermarriage and immigration.

Effects linger in sub-Saharan Africa in the form of many companies tightly controlled by individuals or families, resulting from a lack of enforceable contracts, investor protections, and access to equity funding, as well as ethnic mistrust.

U.S. legislators and policymakers need to keep pace with Internet technology to prevent sharing economy businesses from circumventing landmark equal rights laws.

While the public sector has a reputation for being less discriminatory, both sectors have equally significant bias against job applicants with foreign names, researchers reveal.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Many social and economic factors have been blamed for rising inequality. But the crucial role of organizations usually gets overlooked.


"Top managers need to understand how inequality affects the performance of their firms and their business environment,” a researcher says.


“When there are cultural issues and misunderstandings, these people are highly likely to be the folks who can help everybody understand one another," a researcher says.


"People don’t think very carefully, or at all, about organizations being places that should provide socioeconomic mobility and opportunities for people who just happen to be born poorer,” a researcher notes.


Employers seem to be more sensitive to employees’ claims of mistreatment at work. But employees’ perceptions of mistreatment vary, creating challenges for managers.


"The consequences can be emotional, like anger and guilt. And they can have behavioral consequences that are detrimental to the organization," according to a researcher.


Managers can adopt internal policies to guide vague laws or offer innovative products or services to change policies.


“Very consistent evidence shows that moral leaders tend to outperform leaders who are amoral or immoral,” a researcher says.

A U.S. university has been using the questions since 2013 to improve students’ ethical reasoning and decision-making skills.

A simple tweak in how you think about ethical dilemmas might help you find solutions that keep your integrity intact.

Companies that show they care about the social impacts of their operations get sued less often.

AOM and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Resources for Academy of Management members:

The offers messages from AOM President Jacqueline Coyle-Shapiro and official updates

features AOM member research and resources on teaching and working remotely, crisis management, COVID-19 responses, business and finance, and unemployment and restructuring

offers additional updates and information via

provides FAQs and a Request for Support form




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