The Effects of Diversity and Network Ties on Innovations: The Emergence of a New Scientific Field

Alina Lungeanu, Noshir S. Contractor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


This study examines the influence of different types of diversity, both observable and unobservable, on the creation of innovative ideas. Our framework draws on theory and research on information processing, social categorization, coordination, and homophily to posit the influence of cognitive, gender, and country diversity on innovation. Our longitudinal model is based on a unique data set of 1,354 researchers who helped create the new scientific field of oncofertility, by collaborating on 469 publications over a 4-year period. We capture the differences among researchers along cognitive, country, and gender dimensions, as well as examine how the resulting diversity or homophily influences the formation of collaborative innovation networks. We find that innovation, operationalized as publishing in a new scientific discipline, benefits from both homophily and diversity. Homophily in country of residence and working with prior collaborators help reduce uncertainty in the interactions associated with innovation, while diversity in knowledge enables the recombinant knowledge required for innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-564
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 4 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


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