Despite significant expenditures on diversity training by organizations and increasing interest in the study of diversity training as a phenomenon by organizational scholars and practitioners, little research has been conducted regarding the lived experience of diversity training. The present study utilized hermeneutic phenomenology and case study methodologies to investigate the lived experience of participating in diversity training in a county government setting. Six county government employees who recently attended a diversity training at a large Midwestern county served as study participants. Study participants shared their insights, feelings, thoughts, emotions, and experiences regarding this unique and complex phenomenon. The analysis revealed that participating in a diversity training is a complex and emotional phenomenon. A summary of findings suggests that the diversity training experience required participants to confront strong visceral emotions. Additionally, these emotions were cultivated over time and influenced by many facets external to the course itself with the course serving as the catalyst and providing the motivation for this convergence to take place. Finally, results indicate that study participants were left with a motivation to take personal responsibility, albeit to varying degrees, for mobilizing for change. The knowledge acquired from this study may assist Human Resource Development (HRD) practitioners by providing additional, in depth insights and analysis beyond trainee reaction measures which may inform the design, delivery, and evaluation of diversity training interventions. Furthermore, the insights obtained from this study may assist HRD scholars by contributing a new line of research for HRD scholars as it concerns the study of this complex organizational phenomenon.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2018. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Kenneth Bartlett. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 188 pages.
The Lived Experience Of Participating In Diversity Training: A Phenomenological Case Study.
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