Our Insights

The opportunity cycle

What is it? and how does it prevent meritocracy in your organisation?

Here at Delta, we’ve been delighted to see the positive response to the Bank of England’s recently published Court review of ethnic diversity and inclusion. With candid analysis, clear recommendations and a strong commitment to change, the report presents a very helpful approach for improving representation and equity in the financial sector. Our Director, Dr. Doyin Atewologun, acted as one of two external advisors to the report and we are very proud of her contributions.

We have especially noted the reaction to the concept of ‘The Opportunity Cycle’, which was referenced in the Bank’s review. Coined by us in 2018 and based on our academic work and research, The Opportunity Cycle highlights the differential experiences, shadow processes and hidden experiences of majority and minority talent resulting from bias and discrimination in the workplace. A version of this concept has been represented by the Bank of England in the illustration below.


The opportunity cycle seen through the lens of race and ethnicity


The opportunity cycle comes alive when we draw on our experiences as academics, executive coaches, D&I consultants and minoritised professionals. Our qualifications, professional expertise and lived experiences add value to organisations’ understanding of diversity dynamics for practical action by:


  1. Shining a light on the hidden aspects of career progression, the shadow processes and opportunities available to majority ethnic colleagues and shadow barriers faced by minoritised individuals.


  1. Helping those in the majority to understand that they do receive invisible privileges and thus stand a greater chance at success, which might be codified as meritocratically achieved.


  1. Supporting those who have been minoritised to put a name to the invisible barriers to progression and visibility that they face, which can be codified and internalised as lack of ability.


  1. Guiding leaders and line managers to realise that although meritocracy is valued and an aspiration, it is not a practice in most organisations. A commitment to action and allyship from leaders is crucial when working to build a positive D&I legacy of change in the emerging social context of stakeholder capitalism.


As consultants at Delta with expertise in inclusive culture change, we advocate an Inclusion Ecosystem© approach to address workplace racial bias and improve equity and inclusion, for wider organisational benefit. Our evidence-informed approach considers different positions, people, and practices for sustainable change that can disrupt systemic racism in your organisation. Our impact and track record with clients is based on the philosophy that everyone has a specific role to play to make sustainable and meaningful change.

Contact us at Delta to help you and your senior leaders apply the science of psychology to get the best out of diversity in your workplace.

By Dr. Manjari Prashar, Senior Consultant Delta Alpha Psi and Dr. Doyin Atewologun, Director of Alpha Psi