“Only by combining knowledge about bias, inclusive leadership and active allyship, can we begin to build inclusive work environments”
20th of January 2022
Course leader presentation: Sara Louise Muhr
Diversity, Unconscious Bias and Inclusive Leadership
29th – 31st of March 2022, Online course
Presentation of Sara Louise Muhr
Sara Louise Muhr is Professor at Copenhagen Business School. She is also Academic Director of the CBS Business in Society Platform ‘Diversity and Difference’ as well as serves on the board of directors of CBS. Her research focuses on critical perspectives on managerial identity, leadership and HRM, especially in relation to issues around coping with diversity and expectations to employees and leaders in modern, flexible ways of working.
Following this broader aim, she has worked with various empirical settings such as management consultancy, prisons, the military and police force, pole dance studios and executive networks where she has engaged with issues such as power, culture, emotional labor, gender, ethnicity, migration, and work-life balance.
Sara’s work has materialized in several published books and has appeared in journals such as Organization Studies; Human Relations; Organization; Gender, Work and Organization; Culture & Organization as well as Leadership. In June 2019 the book ”Ledelse af Køn: Hvordan Kønsstereotyper Former Kvinders og Mænds Karrierevalg. En Bog om Barrierer og Nye Strategier” was published and in 2021 ”Biasbevidst Ledelse: Sæt Diversitet i Spil og Træf Bedre Beslutninger” followed (both only in Danish).
Why do you think that Diversity, Unconscious Bias and Inclusive Leadership is an important and current issue to discuss in 2022?
Diversity has the recent years been acknowledged as a source of creativity and innovation. However, also the opposite has been debated, that is, that diversity leads to miscommunication, conflicts, and ruptures. This has made the discussion about the value of diversity more present than ever, but also ending up in a deadlock.
This course addresses this paradox and tries to get us out of the deadlock by arguing that we can never look at diversity alone. Diversity is merely the mix of people. The difficult thing is to make that mix work. And a diverse mix only works if people with diverse mindsets and experiences feel comfortable to ask the most important question: Why?
The course is therefore unique and important, as we don’t only discuss how we by blocking bias can get more diverse organizations, but also how inclusive leadership is the way to unlock the potential of diversity. Diversity management is therefore not about the diversity of your mix of people, but rather about how you, as a leader and/or colleague constantly work to create an inclusive space to make the mix work. And as we will argue: everyone can do so.
To make such a shift in perspective, this course focuses on how inclusive work environments can be attained through more awareness of bias, how to block them and more focus on what leaders, managers and colleagues can do. Thus, we shift focus away from the minority and over to the majority. Only by combining knowledge about bias, inclusive leadership and active allyship can we begin to build inclusive work environments that hold the potential of reaping the benefits of diversity.
Greetings to the participants of the course
I love teaching this course as it is much more than a course. It is a personal space of reflection. Thus, I will promise you not only knowledge and methods, but also engaged instructors, who are ready to share as much knowledge as they share personal experiences.
This course is not only a space for knowledge, personal reflection, and individualized methods, but also a space in which we discuss the difficulties of working with diversity and inclusion and the mistakes and unknowingness that inevitably follows stepping into the unknown territory of inclusive leadership.