Mandating change: The impact of court-ordered policy changes on managerial diversity

Elizabeth Hirsh, Youngjoo Cha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Although complying with and monitoring court-mandated changes in organizations' policies following employment discrimination lawsuits can be costly to both employers and taxpayers, little is known about the impact of such mandates on increasing sex and race managerial diversity in organizations. Using data on approximately 500 high-profile employment discrimination lawsuits resolved in U.S. federal courts between 1996 and 2008, the authors estimate the impact of court-mandated policy changes on shifts in the presence of white women, black women, and black men in managerial positions. Policies designed to reduce bias expand opportunities for white women but not for other demographic groups. By contrast, opportunities in management for all groups expand when policies are designed to increase organizational accountability by establishing specific recruitment, hiring, or promotion plans and monitoring arrangements. Policies designed to increase rights' awareness are associated with declines in managerial diversity. Notably, compared with verdicts and settlements with modest penalties, those with the most costly monetary payouts do not expand managerial diversity; and in fact, they can backfire.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-72
Number of pages31
JournalIndustrial and Labor Relations Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded in part by a grant from the Center for the Study of Inequality at Cornell University and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant, 410-2011-0559. Partial support for this research also came from a Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development research infrastructure grant, R24 HD042828, to the Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology at the University of Washington.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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