Bias, Discrimination, and Equality of Opportunity

Like the whale, we humans grow barnacles as we age.  In our case, however, those barnacles are not little sea creatures, they are biases.  We start off with little bias toward others, yet, through education or experience, we pick up biases.  It’s a natural protective process.  The mental pictures we hold in our brains get tagged with pleasure, pain, or fear.  Unfortunately, some of those tags represent undesired bias, and lead to impermissible discrimination.  Slow to grow, but without constant maintenance, these barnacles are hard to remove.

We bring those barnacles into the office.  Racism.  Gender Bias.  Religious bias.  In the US, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and its subsequent legislation, proclaimed that discrimination was wrong.  Yet, organizations around the world continue to struggle to develop workplaces that are free from bias and discrimination.

Through the Just Culture model, organizations have a pathway to evaluating conduct that threatens equality of opportunity, and emboldens discrimination, whether intentional or not.  Through the five behaviors, we can provide leaders with practical tools for assessing conduct unbecoming a modern workplace.