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Haas hires scholar Merrick Osborne to study advancement of DEI in business

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JANUARY 23, 2023

Merrick Osborne began a fellowship on Dec. 1 as a postdoctoral scholar in a new program at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business focused on racial equity in business.

Professor and Associate Dean at Haas Jennifer Chatman said Osborne was selected from a pool of excellent candidates, given the high quality of his research and the focus of his research program. Osborne received his Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his doctoral degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business in 2022.

“This position will develop world-class researchers who push our understanding of DEI at work,” Osborne said in an email. “While in this position, I want to forge new connections that will help future postdocs access even more resources that advance their research.”

To accomplish this goal, Osborne said he will engage with students to learn about their experiences at work and how he can support them. He also wants to forge strong relationships with local businesses and determine their strategies in addressing DEI.

Students have asked for more initiatives related to diversity, equity and inclusion since the start of his career at Haas, according to Assistant Professor at Haas Drew Jacoby-Senghor. He noted that, in response to student requests, Bank of America Dean and Professor at Haas Ann Harrison prioritized DEI, and Chief DEI Officer Élida Bautista developed Osborne’s fellowship “as one facet of realizing that DEI vision.”

“In my view, if progress on this front continues and the most ambitious Haas goals are realized, the results will be a major reason why Haas will be seen as a place where research insights breed era-defining organizational innovation,” Jacoby-Senghor said in an email.

According to Chatman, Haas is “laser focused” on promoting equity among social groups and that its DEI focus touches on a variety of divisions, such as research and hiring.

Chatman said Haas is the first “top business school” to implement a required core MBA course related to managing in a diverse world.

“Our goal is to equip all Haas students with the skills, tools, and experiences that will enable them to lead the way in designing and managing equitable workplaces,” Chatman said in an email.

Osborne’s role will mainly focus on research, Chatman said. She noted Osborne has worked to show in his research how organizations can risk “overloading underrepresented groups” in attempting to rectify past inequities, which burdens them with the role of changemakers.

Chatman added that Osborne’s research highlights the need for alternative modems of change that distribute the efforts across more members and leverage allies.

“As Black and Brown people – and Black women, in particular – continue to face unfair marginalization in manners both explicit and discreet, I am excited to learn about the other tools that Haas has acquired to engage with those issues,” Osborne said in the email. “I am also looking forward to developing a few tools of my own.”

Contact Victor Corona at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter at @victorcoronas.

JANUARY 23, 2023