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Team Diversity

In: Business and Management

Submitted By lbl3298
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The rapidly changing environment of modern business has forced organizations to be more creative and innovative than ever before (Shin, 197). This shift is accompanied by an increased reliance on teams and workgroups due to expansion such as globalization, which has forced workers to be increasingly specialized yet work effectively in cross functional teams (Mannix, 32; Kearney, 594). A team or workgroup is defined as a group of employees that form the smallest functional unit in the organization, report to the same supervisor, and work together on a permanent or long-term basis (Shin, 198). It is crucial for an organization to understand the affects of team composition in order to remain competitive.
There is a common view among scholars and business people that diversity in teams will create a direct increase in the diversity of prospective considered in problem solving, but this is not the case (Mannix, 32). Research over the past fifty years has identified and focused on two main ideological views about the affects of diversity in teams, “similarity attraction” and “value in diversity”. The “similarity attraction” hypothesis argues that team members are less likely to accept another’s strengths because it creates an “us-them” distinction within the group. In this model diversity relates negatively to group performance due to the relational conflicts within the group (Shin, 198). In this hypothesis the social divisions created by diversity result in poor social integration and cohesion which have a negative outcome for group performance (Mannix, 34). The “value in diversity” hypothesis argues that there is value in the increased range of knowledge, skills, and perspectives available within a team when the members are diverse, which can be very valuable sources of workplace creativity. In this model diversity relates positively to individual creativity because...

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