In this polarizing political climate, issues of diversity and acceptance have been catapulted to the forefront of a national discussion. These are not simple conversations. They are nuanced and intricate, requiring research and open-mindedness. When it comes to research, there is a myriad of data, from psychological and sociological to economic, that all point to one conclusion: Socially diverse groups are more innovative than homogeneous ones, Scientific American reports.
When it comes to business, gender and racial diversity can positively impact financial gains. In one study, business professors Christian Deszö and David Ross studied how gender diversity affects the top firms in Standard & Poor's Composite 1500 list (a group meant to represent the overall U.S. equity market). After examining the size and gender composition of the firms compared to financial performance, they found that "female representation in top management leads to an increase of $42 million in firm value."
Additionally, in a 2003 study, Orlando Richard, Ph.D., professor of management at the University of Texas at Dallas, and his colleagues looked into the relationship between financial performance, racial diversity, and innovation. They surveyed executives at 177 national banks in the U.S., finding that enhanced financial performance was related to racial diversity in banks with a focus on innovation.
Scientific American goes on to discuss the ways in which research has proven that diversity provokes thought and allows groups to anticipate and react to potential differences in perspective in a positive way. Author Katherine W. Phillips, a professor of leadership and ethics and the senior vice dean at Columbia Business School, concludes that diversity fosters hard work and creativity. "The pain associated with diversity can be thought of as the pain of exercise. You have to push yourself to grow your muscles. … In just the same way, we need diversity—in teams, organizations, and society as a whole—if we are to change, grow, and innovate," she writes.