Teaching Inclusive Practices at Business Schools

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Thursday, December 22, 2016
Lori Mackenzie, executive director of Stanford University's Clayman Institute for Gender Research, discusses approaching teaching inclusive practices at business schools.
Lori Mackenzie, executive director of Stanford University's Clayman Institute for Gender Research, discusses approaching teaching inclusive practices at business schools.



Christine Clements: [00:01] How do you think unconscious bias impacts business schools?

Lori Mackenzie: [00:06] It's a really great question. I went to business school in the 1990s. And at that time, the question we were asking is, "How does global impact how we think about business?" I think inclusive business, inclusive leadership, is really that same challenge of today.

[00:33] We have more diverse workforce, a more global workforce, so for students to understand that being an inclusive leader is an imperative to be successful in the businesses of the future, is something that business schools can really teach and help students understand as business leaders of the future.

[00:54] One of the ways, I believe, that makes this work accessible is finding how to hook inclusive leadership into a business problem that's being addressed. In Silicon Valley, where I work, innovation is one of the highest markers of success of organizations.

[01:12] Linking cognitive diversity, the diversity of ideas and approaches, to innovation, and knowing that if we block bias we're more likely to hear the great ideas in our workforce, seems to be something very attractive to the leaders. For me, how do we do it is finding the way in that's related to the business outcomes that people want to have.

Clements: [01:35] I heard you mention in an earlier presentation about how we can use design thinking as a model in creating inclusive classroom environments. Could you say more about that?

Mackenzie: [01:35] Design thinking has a lot of interesting overlap with what I would call inclusive leadership. It starts with empathy. How do you not bring your ideas to the table, but how do you include the ideas of others? It includes prototyping in which it's not hierarchical, but we all are participating in the design.

[02:08] One of the ideas, that I know some people are investigating, is can you bring those methodologies to organizational design, to solving business processes with some of the same inclusive behaviors like empathy work, or shared prototyping, that will embed inclusive behaviors into how we solve problems, as opposed to being something on this side that a diversity committee only is working on.

Clements [02:34] Do you have any thoughts about how we might attract more women to business education, and a future of business?

Mackenzie [02:42] You know, it's interesting that there seems to be a slight decline in interest in business schools from women, and maybe more diverse candidates, similar to a decline of interest in computer science from the 1980s to today. One of the changes that some computer science departments have done is to talk about the impact of computer science in shaping the future of the world.


Filmed September 2016 on site at the Annual Accreditation Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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