Effectiveness of harassment training unproven

The most common prophylactic training law departments undertake is probably sexual harassment training. Enthusiasm for this might wilt, though, if managers learn that “no systematic body of research has assessed the impact of training on long-term attitudes or behavioral change, or on the frequency of harassment.” Deborah L. Rhode, Nat. L.J., Vol. 28, Jan. 16, 2006 at 27.

Worse, “what limited evidence is available suggests grounds for concern.” She then cites several studies that found little effect from harassment training. What about other forms of training, such as antitrust compliance or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?

I believe law departments should defend their client-training programs a priori (See my post of Nov. 24, 2005 on key initiatives for which you can’t calculate an ROI.), but law departments forced to abandon low-value added activities ought at least to know about such disheartening research.

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