The Breaking of Biases

WITI News Staff

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By Elizabeth Acebu, Program Manager, UCSB Masters in Technology Management

Despite decades of bias training and organizational change initiatives, women hold only a small percentage of high-level positions in most industries. In early March, more than 30 researchers and practitioners came together at the Univerisity of California, Santa Barbara for the semi-annual Bias Interrupters Working Group Conference to develop research studies aimed at "interrupting" biases in organizations.

Organized by the Center for Worklife Law at UC Hastings, the Bias Interrupters Working Group is a multi-year project that brings leading researchers in behavioral economics, organizational behavior, and experimental social psychology together with a select group of corporate sponsors to examine how biases play out in work organizations.

Dr. Kyle Lewis, Professor of Technology Managment at the Univerisity of California, Santa Barbara, is a member of the working group and served as the campus host for the conference. The event provides a platform for the exchange of research and ideas, allowing participants to develop innovative models and business practices for addressing workplace bias.

The conference also included two research talks, one by Dr. Louise Roth, Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Arizona on "What is performance? Social constructions in organizations." A second talk was given by Dr. Naomi Ellmers, Professor of Social Sciences at Utrecht University, on "Reluctant allies: Why minority success maintains bias and how organizations can interrupt this."

Through this group, researchers will lead pilot "Bias Interrupter" programs in the Corporate Partner organizations and use findings from pilot studies to develop strategies for addressing work-place bias. They will continute to develop model strategies for approaching biases and paradigm shift to diversity at the next conference later this year in 2016 at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, VA.

The Bias Interrupters Working Group project is led by Joan Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law and Hastings Foundation Chair at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. For more information about the Bias Interrupters Working Group, please contact Roxanna Van Norman at [email protected].

For more information about the Master of Technology Managment (MTM) program at the the Univerisity of California, Santa Barbara please contact Elizabeth Acebu at [email protected] or visit our website at
What is MTM?

The Master of Technology Management (MTM) program prepares early career engineers and scientists to be leaders in technology ventures - within both startups and established companies. The 9-month intensive program is designed to teach the frameworks, skills, and techniques you need to be a successful technology manager. No fluff, no filler.