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Religious discrimination in consulting  

Posts: 1
Working Student
Joined: 6 months ago

What is diversity/inclusion like in consultancies? Generally but specifically regarding religion. If you have strong religious values you try to abide by which are clearly visible (ie a beard, or set times for prayer breaks etc [Im a Muslim so I can relate]).

Are these types of traits seen as barriers?

I understand the ideal is that there should be no barriers and on paper many consultancies push the "inclusion" line, but sometimes the reality is different.

Appreciate your honest/blunt responses, and any advice to help challenge/mitigate this issue.

3 Replies
Posts: 18
Senior Consultant
Joined: 6 months ago

This is a fantastic question to bring up. I agree that while inclusion has become something of a buzz word lately, some organizations' attempts at it can feel very surface-level. When I work with organizations (and in academia), we really taut the concept of "deep-level diversity." For instance, the typical line in favor of positive diversity movements would cite lots of case examples and research that show that diversity (and inclusion) are really helpful toward team and organizational outcomes. And I can point you to tons of literature that shows this. But equally, there's a lot out there that shows the opposite -- and that cohesiveness through homogeneity provides more favorable outcomes. Well, the truth is that it really depends on (a) which outcomes - a super important piece of the equation that is too-often overlooked, and (b) the way in which the organization and its members truly embrace diverse thought and diverse approaches. This brings us to the realm of deep-level diversity - members' attitudes, values, and beliefs that go beyond the surface-level (observable, visible) traits that people put out there for us to see. I know this is going to sound perhaps a bit passe, but I really work with organizations to build up spirituality within the context of work. Spirituality can be referent to religion, but doesn't have to be - and it's good that way. It's inclusive. It can be practiced by a religious organization or not. An organization with a diverse membership or a more heterogeneous one. My own research and practice shows that this is best handled at the dyadic level through one-on one relationships, and it requires a great deal of mutuality and co-creation. Viewing others as unique individuals and approaching them differentially as a result of both their own uniqueness and the uniqueness of your dyadic (one-on-one) relationship with them will go very far. I'll point you to a couple of my publications on the topic:

Weinberg, F. J., & Locander, W. B. (2014). Advancing workplace spiritual development: A dyadic mentoring approach. The Leadership Quarterly25(2), 391-408.

Weinberg, F. J. (2019). How and when is role modeling effective? The influence of mentee professional identity on mentoring dynamics and personal learning outcomes. Group & Organization Management44(2), 425-477.

David Solomon
Posts: 3
 David Solomon
(@David Solomon)
Joined: 6 months ago

No worries as long as you're white and male 😉

Posts: 6
Junior Consultant
Joined: 7 months ago

I think when religion comes to the workplace a more interactive work-culture is necessary. Not knowing enough about other religions and why people are so convinced to live their life religiously, those are topics which have to be communicated a lot more. I mean, rationally, it is understandable if a non-religious person without any experience in this field is regarding this belief as not so important as other things. A guy working in medicine, just can not understand a craftsman's work without ever getting in touch in it.


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