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Which Two Heads are Better than One? Uncovering the Positive Effects of Diversity in Creative Teams

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  • Dutcher, E. Glenn
  • Rodet, Cortney S.

Abstract

Creative teams drive the idea-economy, yet the determinants of a team's ability to create new ideas are not universally agreed upon. Group-level diversity has gained the most traction as an explanation, where a team's performance is usually attributed to diversity over observed characteristics such as race, gender, or functional expertise. Most agree that these characteristics are not especially important, but rather serve as an indicator of diversity in experiences, which is the actual mechanism that improves team ability. We formalize and test if experientially diverse groups produce more ideas. Because group assignment to projects in the field is rarely exogenous, and experiential diversity is not measured in observational data, we use a laboratory experiment to test our proposal. We find that experientially diverse teams create more ideas and also find no additional effect for gender, racial, socioeconomic, or personality diversity. Our general finding for why diversity may be important indicates that if a correlation exists between characteristic diversity and experiential diversity, the characteristically diverse team will have a higher ability. This generalization can be used to unify divergent results from prior studies and can help explain how dissimilar corporate diversity policies could be equally successful.

Suggested Citation

  • Dutcher, E. Glenn & Rodet, Cortney S., 2018. "Which Two Heads are Better than One? Uncovering the Positive Effects of Diversity in Creative Teams," MPRA Paper 89982, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:89982
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Joaquin Artes & Jennifer Graves & Meryl Motika, 2019. "Creativity under Pressure: Performance Payments, Task Type and Productivity," Working Papers 20190028, New York University Abu Dhabi, Department of Social Science, revised Oct 2019.
    3. Rodet, Cortney S., 2022. "Does cognitive load affect creativity? An experiment using a divergent thinking task," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 220(C).
    4. Cortney S. Rodet, 2021. "The wellspring of creativity? Using divergent‐thinking tasks to understand creative characteristics," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 42(6), pages 1435-1453, September.
    5. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria L., 2021. "The Creativity Premium," IZA Discussion Papers 14421, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Michela Chessa & Benjamin Prissé, 2024. "The Evaluation of Creativity," GREDEG Working Papers 2024-16, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
    7. Cortney S. Rodet, 2021. "Experiments on creativity and work design," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(3), pages 600-613, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Diversity; Creativity; Group Production; Experimental Economics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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