Performance Emergence in Diversity Teams: the Power of Heterogeneity


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Performance emergence in diversity teams: The power of heterogeneityAs the elementary unit of many organizations and firms, teams have been regarded as a significant pattern to heighten the efficiency and performance of groups and companies. International trade and flow of talented people across boarders have generate rising diversity and heterogeneity at work (de Jong & van Houten, 2014; Lewin & Volberda, 2011).Thus, increased diversity and heterogeneity in teams have been expected to lead to significant benefits(Chatman & Flynn,2001) and there has been a heated debate over whether heterogeneity teams are more efficient. Some people believed that diversified groups can achieve less than homogeneous ones. Because of the truth that they share same world outlook as well as a common culture which originates from internal relation and unified perceptions (Earley & Mosakowski, 2000; Dwyer,2012, p.9).

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Homogeneous teams members particular to contact with each other more often and communicate in better various means. Social identity theory suggests that homogeneity improves degree of cooperativity and satisfaction while decreasing clash and conflict at the workplace (Tajfel & Turner, 1985). Since critical cultural obstacles to social intercourse do not exist in homogeneous groups, a beneficial environment leading to positive cultural associations and internal social communication is created (Blau, 1977). According to results which have been proved in available research, teams that have an excess of heterogeneity might lead to poor collaboration and result in fewer achievements in the end. Although the above points are reasonable, I cannot agree with that. In my opinion, the advantages of homogeneous teams are short-run. First of all, rapid international trade and intense global competition have led to rising diversity and heterogeneity.

As the basic unit of many organizations, teams with cultural diversity and demographic heterogeneity have become the main form. It is blind to pursuit homogeneous group whose members are of common cultural backgrounds and demographic homogeneity. Secondly, multiple information and various viewpoints are provided by heterogeneity and diversity, meanwhile greater details of task-relevant message and information are hence enhances creativity of groups. Diversity which is defined as ‘‘differences between individuals on any attribute that may lead to the perception that another person is different from self’’ (Van Knippenberg et al., 2004,p. 1008) mainly impact team efficiency including tenure as well as knowledge.The degree of team creativity is affected by activities of team members, which has been proved by a series of research on correlation analysis between organizational diversity and organization efficiency (Chae et al., 2015). It is argued by some researchers that new technologies developing, new business practices creating as well as new products exploring are all largely based on team diversity and homogeneity.

In contrast, the tough task for a lot of operators and managers is how to motivate group creativity in a homogenous team including members who share similar and common social backgrouds and educational experience (McGrath, 2001). In summary, the power of heterogeneity is that team performance are depended upon it which can generate and create creativity through interactions between diversified members (Taylor & Greve, 2006).Thirdly, social capital can be accumulated rapidly in teams with tenure-structured heterogeneity, such as cultural diversity and demographic heterogeneity. It is because of the fact that team social capital can be improved by long-term and multitudinous relationships of the organizations and the long-established information, multitudinous technologies and diverse experiences (Pelled et al., 1999). The social effect of a team composed by members whose knowledge, background, profession and technologies are diverse and heterogeneity has been proved in relative research (Tiwana & McLean , 2005). Futhermore, this advantage of social capital can be used to create and generate innovation by organizations and firms.

In other words, great development potential is contained in groups whose cognitive diversity is much high, such as multiple knowledge, various competencies, different worldviews and diversified beliefs (Kilduff et al., 2000).Last but not the least, team diversity is help to form global value and common vision. Diversity has been viewed as a principal element for integrating perspective and viewpoint, it is due to the fact that, to a large extent, it can generate the integration effect of ideas, beliefs, knowledge and culture (Shin et al., 2012). Since team diversity and heterogeneity allow members to a large amount knowlege, integrate perspectives, and combine ideas, so that they can create compositive value and common vision (Williams & O’Reilly, 1998). The most important factor of high-efficiency organization is the common vision and global goals in their teams, which has been proved in some studies(Che & Yoo, 2001) and cooperation between members in diversity teams can be developed by many methods, such as selecting, developing and placing effective global leader at all organizational levels.In conclusion, although team members create social and cultural categories depend on whether their individuality is semblable or not, people tend to communicate with members whose personality is similar to them rather than members whose character are different from them(Brewer, 1979). Creativity and innovation have become more and more important element for organizations and firms in a wide range of efficiency, success as well as sustainable development (Anderson et al., 2014). In addition, with the growth of global economy and international communication, this trend is even more pronounced (Yoshida et al., 2014).

Diversity which is widely regarded as an effective means has become the indispensable factor for creativity and innovation of teams and organizations (Leung & Wang, 2015).Since the level of creativity and innovation generally range from individual to work team, the results of it is always helpful. From the above, it has been proved by relative theory and sufficient evidence that, under certain equivalent conditions, teams which are composed of members whose educational backgrounds and social experience bound to be more efficient and creative, there is no doubt that heterogeneous are more effective than homogeneous ones.

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