Field of Science

Does diversity increase productivity?

One of the arguments for diversity-based hiring is that a more diverse workforce is more productive. Is that true?

Scott E. Page, a professor of complex systems, political science and economics and the University of Michigan argues that it does. He uses mathematical models and case studies to support the claims, which themselves are pretty straight forward.

Here's a quote from a recent interview in the New York Times:
The problems we face in the world are very complicated. Any one of us can get stuck. if we're in an organization where everyone thinks in the same way, everyone will get stuck in the same place.

But if we have people with diverse tools, they'll get stuck in different places. One person can do their best, and then someone else can come in and improve on it.
Of course, this isn't exactly a new idea. But ideas are a dime a dozen. What Page has are data.

On a related topic, Richard Hackman of Harvard University, who also studies the productivity of work teams, is now arguing that panels of experts can be less productive due to their expertise. He specifically argues that blue-ribbon commissions like the 9/11 Commission are often unproductive because, although they are filled with people with a great deal of expertise, such panels are often very inefficient at using that expertise.

No comments: