From Individual to Organizational Bias: A Norm-critical Proposition for Unconscious Bias Intervention in Organizations

Bontu Lucie Guschke, Jannick Friis Christensen

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It is generally accepted in organization and management studies that individuals are implicitly biased, and that biased behavior has organizational consequences for diversity, equality, and inclusion. Existing bias interventions are found not to lead to signifi cant changes in terms of eliminating individual bias, reducing discrimination, or increasing the numbers of underrepresented minorities in organizations. This article links the absence of positive change to a lack of engagement with the structural-organizational contexts, processes, and practices that reproduce bias. We identify three concrete shortcomings in the literature: that interventions are: 1) largely ignorant of broader societal power structures; 2) detached from specifi c organizational contexts; and 3) decoupled from concrete organizational action. By combining insights from unconscious bias research with norm critique and design thinking, we develop a proposition for a new intervention model that forgoes the individualization of unconscious bias and extends to a structural understanding of bias as embedded in organizational norms. The article draws on data from an action research project that included a workshop series developed and organized in three Scandinavian countries over one year. The data provide the basis for an empirically grounded conceptualization of the organizational bias intervention advanced by the authors.
TidsskriftKvinder, Køn & Forskning
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)86-105
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - 2021


  • Ubevidst bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Normkritik
  • Organisatorisk mangfoldighed
  • Aktionsforskning
  • Design thinking