Wharton Teams with Deloitte to Create Inclusive Leadership Curriculum

University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has teamed up with Deloitte to advance inclusive leadership within more organizations. As a large part of the initiative, the school will create curriculum for Wharton faculty and students to help them become leaders in the field.

Through continued research, the partnership hopes to create more effective mentorships for minorities or Persons Excluded due to Ethnicity or Race (PEER), based on findings.

Wharton’s Dean Erika James—an expert on workplace diversity and management strategy—calls the partnership an “incredible opportunity to help organizations become more inclusive.” And she added: “What better way to do that than producing insights and empowering people to put them to work. While leaders need these solutions right now, our students are hungry for the knowledge that will help them 'be the change' in the sectors they choose for their future careers. They all want a blueprint. We want to provide it."

Today in the US, among companies with 100 or more employees, Black people hold just 3% of leadership positions and 1% or less of Fortune 500 CEOs are Black, according to Deloitte.

But the numbers are shifting. Enrollment in American postsecondary institutions will climb 15% from 2014 to 2025, with larger proportional increases among minority students than white students, according to Deloitte.

Stephanie Creary, PhD, Assistant Professor of Management and Organizational Scholar at the Wharton School, has already conducted some research which suggests that leaders may provide their racial minority employees with qualitatively different types of support. The new research conducted with Deloitte will include surveys of managers from racial minority and majority groups. The idea is that research-backed tools for leaders will create success for everyone in the workplace.  

“Students are extremely passionate about working in an environment that promotes the tenets of diversity, equity and inclusion and this passion serves as a source of inspiration for my research," Creary said in a statement. "The research that this initiative will support will inform the work necessary to transform organizations to meet the changing values and expectations for work culture."

According to a recent Equity Imperative report by Deloitte, PEER is a term that has united historically oppressed people and is a key term needed to help shift behaviors and value if organizations are going to advance equity. PEER includes people who identify as Black, Latinx, and people indigenous to the United States and its territories.

“You think the issue is you need more underrepresented people, but your culture may not be designed to nurture that talent, and that’s the problem,” said Creary.

To truly be a diverse and inclusive workplace, organizations need to create an environment where all employees are supported, engaged and, ultimately, able to succeed without compromising their individualism and authenticity," said Dan Helfrich, chairman and CEO, Deloitte Consulting LLP. "Inclusive leaders set the tone for that type of workplace and through this initiative we hope to advance diversity, equity and inclusion within our own organization and the broader business community."