Frank Dobbin is an organizational and economic sociologist at Harvard University. In recent work, he has shown how the human resources profession devised corporate strategies for complying with civil rights and affirmative action law and how widely those strategies have spread. Human resources professionals have defined what it means to practice equal employment opportunity, and the courts have largely accepted their definition.
At Radcliffe, Dobbin will work on a book about the efficacy of various corporate diversity strategies, using detailed longitudinal data on the practices of more than eight hundred private sector employers and detailed data on the gender and racial composition of their workforces. Do diversity training seminars, diversity taskforces, affirmative action plans, or work-family programs actually lead to more diverse workforces? Dobbin will explore these issues through statistical analyses and in-depth interviews with managers and workers.
Dobbin holds a Guggenheim Fellowship this year, and in the past has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences and the Russell Sage Foundation. His research on diversity measures is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. His book Forging Industrial Policy: United States, Britain, and France in the Railway Age (Cambridge University Press, 1994) won the American Sociological Association’s 1996 Max Weber Award.