April 02, 2010

Micro-Affirmations as Antidote to Workplace Inequities

In the 1970's Mary Rowe, defined micro-inequities as “apparently small events which are often ephemeral and hard-to-prove, events which are covert, often unintentional, frequently unrecognized by the perpetrator, which occur wherever people are perceived to be ‘different.’”

Rowe, the Ombuds at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says the remedy for micro-inequities is micro-affirmations, equally small and unconscious acts that occur wherever people wish to help others succeed. Robert Martínez, HR Diversity Manager at Princeton University, agrees and says that recognition of the psychological damage caused by micro-inequities is the first step toward reversing the effects. (Color Magazine.)

This is the kind of information that Ombuds may want to use for departmental training or even one-on-one coaching.


  1. Can't help but notice the 'linked' article - MoFo Partner Backs Ombuds as Remedy for Micro-Inequities. Fascinating as Mo-Fo has no Ombuds of their own. In fact of the surveyed "Ombuds Programs" in U.S. law firms (Survey currently at 63 Firms) less than 1 in 20 would be in line with IOA COEs or SOPs. The vast majority of Law Firm "Ombuds" are in fact committees staffed by Partners. Usage rates in law firm settings are trending well below 1% of population.

    We may be the answer to micro inequities, but we do not have the execution of the solution in the Law Firm environment.

  2. An excellent topic very well presented. I guess we all need a reminder of these character builders now and then.