As Adam Vaccaro points out, diverse workplace might ultimately create better results, as some new studies suggest.
“The study, detailed by NPR, looks at the work of scientific researchers and finds that papers written by multicultural teams were cited in other research more often than those written by homogenous groups. In the world of research, citations are seen as a metric of quality.
Ethnic diversity wasn’t the only harbinger of success. The same study also found that groups with members from geographic areas-perhaps three cities in the same country-also created better papers than those with members from the same place.
“It’s a matter of looking at individual teams and making sure they’re different perspectives, different points of view, different backgrounds,” NPR’s David Greene says.
The principle isn’t an entirely new one. The idea that different perspectives result in better work has been explored from a more macro-economic perspective, as research shows that diverse cities experience more economic growth. The idea is also at play in research showing that companies with females on their boards financially outperform those that don’t (have females on their boards).”
People tend to think of diversity as simply demographic, a matter of color, gender, or age. However, groups can be disparate in many ways. Diversity is also based on informational differences, reflecting a person’s education and experience, as well as on values or goals that can influence what one perceives to be the mission of something as small as a single meeting or as large as a whole company.
Diversity among employees can create better performance when it comes to out-of-the-ordinary creative tasks such as product development or cracking new markets… The researchers found that informational diversity stirred constructive conflict, or debate, around the task at hand. That is, people deliberate about the best course of action.
Diversity is the crucial element for group creativity. Innovation teams tasked with creating new products or technologies or iterating existing ones need tension to produce breakthroughs, and tension comes from diverse points of view. This is the opposite of groupthink, the creativity-killing phenomenon of too much agreement and too similar perspectives that often paralyzes otherwise great teams.
According to McKinsey Quarterly, between 2008 and 2010, companies with more diverse top teams were also top financial performers. That’s probably no coincidence. There are many reasons companies with more diverse executive teams should outperform their peers: fielding a team of top executives with varied cultural backgrounds and life experiences can broaden a company’s strategic perspective, for example. And relentless competition for the best people should reward organizations that cast their nets beyond traditional talent pools for leadership.
Leverage Diversity for Greater Success