FOR diversity and inclusivity specialist Binna Kandola, his interest in the subject derived from his own personal experiences.
It began when the academic was sat in a pub at Christmas time with a close friend, shortly after graduating from the University of Sheffield. The pair was enjoying each other’s company, catching up and swapping stories, when his friend revealed he had faced discrimination because of his race. It was the moment which would change the course of Kandola’s life, spurring him on to study the racial bias and prejudice that exists in society.
Today, he is recognised as a prominent business psychologist, whose research on prejudice, unconscious bias, privilege and power has brought change at individual, organisational and societal levels.
Known for his consultancy firm Pearn Kandola, which offers advice to companies on issues such as race inequality, he has worked with a number of prominent clients. These include the BBC, British Airways, Lloyds Banking Group, M&S and Royal Mail.
Pearn Kandola, which he jointly founded in 1984, could arguably be referred to as a business idea ahead of its time. Although issues relating to diversity and inclusion are broached commonly in workplaces today, such topics were a rarity in boardrooms back then.
In fact, business psychology was barely recognised as a separate discipline in its own right when Pearn Kandola was first launched.
“At that time, if the work you did as a psychologist was with commercial companies, you were simply referred to as a business consultant,” Kandola, who is also a visiting professor at Leeds University Business School and Aston University Business School, explains.
“That was one of the things we wanted to change – we wanted to be recognised as a distinct profession. We never used the term consultants to describe ourselves, and there is much more