Gateways to Discussion: The Diversity & Inclusion Casebook (PDF)


By Sondra Thiederman, Ph.D.

Case Studies that Build Skills

Feeling empathy, communicating respect, resolving tension.  If only we had a way to teach these skills, our goal to create inclusive and engaged workplaces would be almost accomplished.

The 30 cases contained in this downloadable casebook are designed to do just that; to provide facilitators with a devise that encourages discussion, promotes self-exploration, and, ultimately, enhances learning.

Simply pay by credit card and receive your PDF copy by return e-mail.

What You Get

Thirty Cases: The 30 cases in this collection reflect Dr. Thiederman’s 25 years of experience in the area of workplace diversity.  Each situation depicted is either one that she has personally observed or a composite based on her extensive experience with real workplace challenges.

Facilitation Guidance: Each section begins with an explanation of the skill covered along with suggested questions to explore. At the end of each set of cases, are additional thoughts on how to debrief the discussion.

Cases Focusing on Core Diversity/Inclusion Skills: The cases are organized around the exploration of three fundamental diversity/inclusion three skills:
Skill #1: Developing Empathy
Skill #2: Demonstrating Respect
Skill #3: Reducing Diversity/Inclusion Related Tension

Activities: Included, too, are two supplemental activities designed to reinforce the learning and enable participants to apply the skills back in the workplace.

A Sample Case (“Passed Over”)

Targeted Skill: Demonstrating Respect

The Case: When Charmaine was passed over for a promotion, she went to George and accused him of homophobia. At the start of the conversation, she was very emotional, not just because of the loss of this one promotion, but also because she had recently been the victim of two layoffs. She felt vulnerable, abused, and even a little frightened.

George, he had to admit looking back, was uncomfortable with Charmaine’s emotion and, as a consequence of this discomfort, found himself fidgeting – looking at his watch, interrupting her, trying to change the subject. All he could do was pray that his phone would ring or someone come in the office just to break the atmosphere.

At one point, he was relieved when his phone did indeed ring and he was able to take a break from the emotion.  He knew he wasn’t handling it very well so tried to show some compassion by reaching across the desk, patting her hand, and saying, “Now, calm down, everything will be all right, just take a deep breath.”

Questions to Ask Your Group about this Case:
1. What examples of disrespect do you see and why are they disrespectful?
2. If you were each of these players, how would you feel?
3. Where does the responsibility lie on the part of the various parties to remedy these situations?
4. What respectful steps might each of the players take to resolve the situation?


  • The Process: Upon submission of your credit card, a PDF version of Gateways to Discussion will be sent to your e-mail within 48 hours.
  • Rights to the Case Studies: Although individual cases may be duplicated for training purposes, this document as a whole is proprietary and may not be duplicated without written permission of the author.
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