Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Conflict Resolution

First Advisor

Eben Weitzman

Second Advisor

Pacey C. Foster

Third Advisor

Georgianna Meléndez


Diversity and Inclusion training is often used in organizations to engage with the increasing demographic diversity in the United States. However, many organizations continue to base their trainings and initiatives on a paradigm which was primarily motivated to prevent litigation, rather than to ensure economic opportunity for all. Over time, such Diversity efforts failed in many documented instances to ensure such opportunities and in fact, created a host of unwanted side-effects, such as employee turnover, job dissatisfaction, and misconceptions regarding the soundness of Diversity and Inclusion efforts.

However, a number of organizations have undertaken Diversity and Inclusion efforts in earnest. It is in one of these organizations that this paper examines two sites to answer the following: how do members of organizations which state commitment to diversity and inclusion handle conflict after having received diversity and inclusion training?

This paper traces the development of Diversity and Inclusion through its earliest antecedents to the present day in order to understand one organization's answers to that question. This paper further argues that antecedents to contemporary Diversity and Inclusion models were based on faulty assumptions, bad faith, and did not receive the necessary institutional support--particularly from leadership--necessary to succeed. Not only do Diversity and Inclusion practices work to minimize prejudice, minimize destructive conflict/create opportunities for productive conflict, it works to break free of the zero-sum thinking of the Black/White Binary Paradigm of race (and other dominant discourses), and supports the Business Case for Diversity. This study has found that for the participants interviewed, when Diversity and Inclusion efforts are successful, conflict is handled productively, and often is not recognized as conflict at all.