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ILR WIDE Supporting Research by 22 Scholars

Ten organizational diversity, equity and inclusion research projects at the ILR School are being supported by ILR Workplace Inclusion and Diversity Education, known as ILR WIDE, which is seeking additional grant applicants.

ILR and Cornell professors, ILR Outreach subject-area experts, graduate students and scholars from other institutions are studying topics from burnout to perceptions of diversity officers’ initiatives as the recipients of the inaugural ILR WIDE grants.

Information about fast, seed, applied research, and graduate conference grants is available here.

“Our grants are at the heart of our mission at ILR WIDE. They allow our faculty to generate timely and impactful research, which serves to assess current DEI practices and innovate new ones. And they ensure that ILR faculty will continue to be thought leaders in the DEI space.,” said JR Keller, associate director of ILR WIDE Research & Corporate Outreach.

The ILR Workplace Inclusion and Diversity Education program, seeded by a gift from Tim Wentworth ’82 and his wife, Robin Wentworth, seeks to help promote workplace inclusion and study approaches that foster a culture of inclusive leadership through empathy and dialogue-based interventions.

The program is directed by Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Lisa Nishii, an ILR professor who is one of the nation’s foremost scholars on organizational inclusion.

Current grant-supported projects and descriptions provided by the research teams include:

Applied Research

National Survey of Walmart Warehouse Workers

ILR Assistant Professor Alex Kowalski; Beth Gutelius, University of Illinois at Chicago; Sanjay Pinto, ILR Worker Institute fellow; Steven Vallas, Northeastern University.

Despite the growing importance of warehousing in the U.S. economy, evidence on the experience of frontline workers in major firms is relatively thin. The survey project aims to help fill this gap by focusing on Walmart’s 200 warehouses, which employ more than 140,000 people nationally.

It will contribute to actionable knowledge on DEI issues by generating a national picture of working conditions within Walmart’s warehousing operations. In addition, this project will address an important methodological question for the field: How can online firm-level data collection better reflect the diversity of the populations being studied?

The Impact of a Longer List Manipulation on the Gender Diversity of Candidate Referrals

ILR Assistant Professor Brian Lucas; Aneesh Rai, University of Maryland; Erika Kirgios, University of Chicago; Katy Milkman, University of Pennsylvania

The researchers are partnering with an organization whose goal is to increase the gender diversity of its recruitment pipeline and, consequently, increase the number of women hired into its workforce.

The WIDE team proposes to implement an intervention that manipulates the structure of the organization’s referral forms and will measure the effects of the intervention on the number of women referred to the organization and, ultimately, the number of women hired.

Fast Grants

Allyship Judgments of LGBTQ+ Directed Advertisements

ILR Assistant Professor James T. Carter, Michael White, Columbia University

This project explores how people evaluate LGBTQ+-targeted advertisements by organizations. Specifically, the researchers are interested in how the timing of an advertisement, such as during Pride Month, shapes the extent to which people believe the advertisement is values-based, strategy-based and, consequently, that the organization authentically cares about the welfare of LGBTQ+ people.

The study will illuminate how targets of allyship displays evaluate solidarity efforts and the factors that shape whether they are perceived as authentic or opportunistic.

An Intersectional Examination of the Effects of Positionality Statements on Leader Perceptions

Chadé Darby, ILR Ph.D. student; Aaron King, Cornell College of Human Ecology Ph.D. candidate; ILR Assistant Professor Devon Proudfoot

Leaders engaging in diversity and inclusion efforts are often encouraged to acknowledge their positionality. However, little is known about how such acknowledgments are perceived and interpreted by others and whether a leader’s specific identities may moderate the impact of identity declarations. We hope to provide practical recommendations for organizations as they consider how to implement effective organizational DEI practices.

How Does the Legal System Govern the Working Time of Home Care?

ILR Assistant Professor Yiran Zhang

The project aims to inform labor unions and other pro-worker organizations with strategies to better include marginalized workers (particularly low-income women of color and immigrant women) in their advocacy by identifying the plausible legal changes that align with marginalized workers’ causes.

The case study of working time and home care might also have broader policy implications for organizations in a post-COVID world to more equitably value and regulate home-based work and to better include home-based workers in the governance of workplaces.

Devaluation by Omission: Limited Identity Options Elicit Anger and Increase Identification

ILR Assistant Professor Sean Fath, ILR Assistant Professor Devon Proudfoot

The research agenda, including both our existing studies and our planned studies, is motivated by the notion that social identity omissions are a subtle yet prevalent form of social identity threat for members of socially marginalized groups. Social identity threats, in turn, harm the well-being of members of socially marginalized groups.

These studies are relevant to organizational DEI efforts insofar as they highlight the existence of this form of social identity threat and outline steps for organizations to reduce its prevalence.

Organizational Interventions to Alleviate Burnout and Promote Work-Family Balance and Well-Being among Veterinarians

ILR Assistant Professor Brittany Bond, S.C. Johnson School Professor Sunita Sah; ILR Assistant Professor Duanyi Yang

Can organizational interventions reduce employee burnout and promote work-family balance and well-being? We are planning to investigate these questions using a randomized field experiment in the setting of veterinarian clinics in the United States. The study will shed light on how managers can facilitate workers, especially women’s personal-life balance, which in turn will reduce their rate of burnout and promote their well-being.

Perceptions of Diversity Officer's Initiatives

Chadé Darby, ILR Ph.D. student; Assistant Professor Sean Fath; Miguel Unzueta, UCLA

Across three studies, researchers plan to investigate how people perceive diversity initiatives put in place by diversity officers of different races, as well as who people think is a prototypical diversity officer. The implications of our findings will help organizations understand how their diversity initiatives are perceived by employees and other stakeholders.

Graduate student travel grants have also been awarded to three Ph.D. students who will share their work at conferences:

– Claire Malcomb, "Pronoun Policies at Work: How to Increase Inclusivity, Rather Than Just Pronoun Sharing"

– Dongwoo Park, "The Missing Worker Voice in Job Quality: Developing a Conceptual Framework and Survey Instrument for Worker Voice"

– Xingruo Zhang, “Enhancing Diversity and Inclusion: Evaluating the Impact of Mandatory versus Voluntary Training”


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