Unpacking the Effects of Demographic Diversity in Multidisciplinary Groups

Project: Research project

Project Details


In organizations, groups are assembled to pool expertise and knowledge, solve complex and critical problems, and advance innovation. Yet, managing social dynamics in work groups is challenging, particularly when the groups are diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, or cultural backgrounds.

This research tests questions about work group dynamics derived from multiple theories of social influence. The aim is to move beyond questions about the pros and cons of diversity to understanding the processes by which demographic differences may influence group dynamics and performance, which will have more important implications for practice. The studies will explore such questions as: How do societal-level status differences influence multidisciplinary groups' social dynamics and performance? What types of social interactions facilitate both equity and efficiency in groups?

The study will be conducted in multidisciplinary engineering laboratories that are at the forefront of scientific and technological innovations. From a policy standpoint, the attraction and retention of female and minority scientists and engineers has been a concern in both academic and corporate settings. The findings from the proposed research will have practical implications for facilitating inclusive and productive working relationships in diverse teams.

Effective start/end date6/15/101/31/13


  • National Science Foundation: $281,835.00


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