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Perspectives on Discrimination


by Stephany Schings Below

SIOP Theme Track Explores the Past, Present, and Future of Workplace Discrimination
Although workplace discrimination may not look the same as it did decades ago, the topic continues to be an important one to both the science and practice of I-O psychology.
Science and Practice Perspectives on Contemporary Workplace Discrimination,” this year’s 2012 SIOP Annual Conference Thursday Theme Track, will explore important topics in the field of workplace discrimination, including the current scholarship and future needs in the field of science and practice. Participants will leave the day’s events with an understanding of strategies for reducing discrimination as well as best practices.

“During this theme track, we will be discussing not only the past, present, and future of research and practice regarding discrimination at work but also strategies for making positive changes,” explained Eden King, chair of the Thursday Theme Track Committee.

This in-depth, all-day event will take place Thursday, April 26. There is no additional cost to attend the theme track beyond the cost of basic conference registration, so make sure you add this engaging day of events to your personal schedule today!

SIOP’s theme tracks are designed to be like a conference within a conference, delving deep into a cutting-edge topic or trend and designed to appeal to practitioners and academics at all levels. They include multiple integrated sessions (e.g., invited speakers, panels, debates) scheduled back-to-back throughout the day in the same room.

Attendees may stay all day to take advantage of the comprehensive programming and obtain continuing education credits or choose to attend just the sessions of the most interest to them.
Participants who attend all sessions of the theme track are also eligible for 5.5 CE credits for psychology purposes.*

Learning Objectives for the Thursday Theme Track:

As a result of attending this session participants will be able to:
1. Explain the benefits and drawbacks of three major organizational strategies for reducing discrimination
2. Discuss important topics in previous and current scholarship on workplace discrimination
3. Forecast future needs in the science and practice of workplace discrimination
4. Describe the best practices for settlement agreements in discrimination cases
5. Create partnerships involving both scientists and practitioners to address workplace discrimination

The SIOP Thursday Theme Track Committee worked hard to bring this theme track together. In addition to King, the committee includes: Derek Avery, Bob Dipboye, Eric Dunleavy,
Mikki Hebl, Lisa Nishii, Lisa Leslie, Jim Outtz, and Kizzy Parks

SIOP President Adrienne Collela presented the vision for this year’s theme track, King explained.

“In its broadest sense, discrimination is a central theme in both the research and practice of I-O psychology,” she said. “Moreover, this is an area where I-O psychologists have had meaningful impact, which is a central theme of Adrienne's term as president.”

King explained that the term “contemporary” in the theme track title intentionally portrays the differences between discrimination of today and discrimination of the past.

“One of the conclusions from research is that discrimination is generally more subtle now than it has been in previous decades,” she said.”

One theme track will explore how to reduce this contemporary discrimination through three major organizational strategies: legalistic, training, and business-case approaches.

“We are proud that each of the sessions in the theme track has genuine implications for both scientists and practitioners,” King added.

The highlight of the theme track will be the keynote on “SIOP and EEOC: Finding Common Ground” presented by keynote speaker Jacqueline A. Berrien, head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the lead agency in the federal government’s effort to eradicate and remedy discrimination in employment through law enforcement, education, and outreach.

Chair Berrien’s remarks will address the common challenges and opportunities shared by SIOP and EEOC as we enter the second decade of the 21st century and will call for a renewed dialogue and partnership to better serve American employers and employees.

“We are truly thrilled that the chair of the EEOC, Jacqueline Berrien, will be giving the keynote address,” King said.

Other sessions included in the Thursday Theme Track include:

  • Reducing Workplace Discrimination: Legalistic, Training, and Business-Case Perspectives. Using a Devil’s Advocacy format, speakers will present arguments in favor of and against legalistic, training, and business-case approaches to reducing discrimination. This problem solving session will attempt to determine what I-O psychologists and corporate leaders can do to maximize the effectiveness of dominant approaches to reducing discrimination.
  • Settling Workplace Discrimination Cases: The Dos, Don'ts, Costs, and Benefits. Because discrimination litigation is time consuming and costly, the end goal may be settlement. This panel brings together a group of experts from diverse disciplines to demonstrate a mock settlement negotiation, discuss recent trends, review settlement strategies, and inform on how I-O psychologists play important roles in this process.
  • Narrowing the Science-Practice Gap for Workplace Discrimination. This interactive panel session and town hall discussion will promote dialogue between scholars and practitioners about the needs and desires of each side for knowledge generation about discrimination. Notable scholars and practitioners will describe successful partnerships and strategies for practical scholarship and evidenced-based practice.
  • Scholarly Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of Discrimination. Leading scholars will discuss advances in understanding of workplace discrimination, how emergent trends are shaping discourse surrounding workplace discrimination, and key steps for research. This session, which includes audience participation, will generate a research agenda that improves understanding of workplace discrimination and tools for its eradication.

Remember to add these sessions to your conference schedule by using our online Searchable Conference Program and Personal Scheduler. Search for sessions and save them to your account so you can access them at the conference!

*SIOP is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. SIOP maintains responsibility for this program and its content.