The term diversity and heterogeneity are used interchangeably to refer to a mix of different personal attributes in a given team. Some of these differentiations that may exist include the visible ones like age, race or gender and the rarely visible ones like personality, personal background and education level. The most frequently investigated attributes in a team’s tenure are nationality, age, gender, ethnicity, education level and functional level. There are various theories that try to reveal both positive and negative consequences of diversity.
The social identity theories have received the highest degree of diversity in research attention. The effect of information and decision making in such a setting is much effective. This is partly based on the fact that people communicate frequently and are more likely to share a similar network of information resource. At this point, members of a diverse group become accessible to a greater variety of information. This makes them be more knowledgeable, skillful and experience due to the availability of diverse working environment. Heterogeneity of persons hence brings a strong enrichment to the team resources.
Whenever innovation is made the core concept of an organization, multiple resources are put in place in order to assist in coming up with a new product. This relieves the organization the burden of outsourcing of skills from other firms. The external sources may be very expensive at times. The hired personnel may also leak out the crucial information to potential competitors.
The group’s outcome may be as a result of diversity of the team players. Different members join an organization at different points in time and belong to different positions in an organization’s network. These diverse networks assist the team’s ability in achieving their goals in the organization. Various cultural values are very beneficial to the organization. This is because they lead to different work related approaches and behaviors. The degree of cooperation in a group depends on the nationality collectivists that enforce interaction with the members of the group.
The social identity theory (SIT) usually explains the processes that underlie the effects of diversity in the team performance and organization in general. The basic assumption is that each individual strife to achieve a positive concept and a satisfying self-image. The inter-individual comparisons partly form and maintain the positively evaluated self-image of an individual. This theory tries to elucidate the resulting output of group as from an individual point of view.
There also are some negative effects of diversity on team performance. The more the number of generations that are represented in a team, the worse the team becomes in its performance. There are distinct values brought in the organization by the diverse age groups; it impairs the exchange of thoughts and the process of communication in the group. The aspect of age appears to form a very strong base in the establishment of a groups’ social identity.
The task performed at times also seems to be contributing to a big regression. The independence of task seem to explain the context that, age differentiation has very deep effects more so on the task performed by the team. Those activities that need much of body vigor are well performed by the younger generation in the group than the old. These differences bring problems in communication and exchange of the basic ideas causing a downfall in the team performance.
In conclusion, whenever diversity is thought to be the key driving factor of a team’s management and performance, the correct and the appropriate proportion must be established. This is usually necessary to avoid negative consequences of diversity.