Teams comprised of both women and men perform better than both teams predominantly made up of men or teams predominantly made up of women. These were the findings of research carried out by Sander Hoogendoorn of the Amsterdam Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE). His research results can be found in the publication 'Diversity and Team Performance: A Series of Field Experiments'.
Hoogendoorn’s thesis defence will take place on Friday 8 March – International Women’s Day – at the University of Amsterdam.
Hoogendoorn’s research studies the effects of diversity on team performance. He looked not only at gender diversity, but diversity in ethnicity and cognitive skills as well.
A team with moderate ethnic diversity did not appear to affect performance. Ethnic diversity had a positive effect on performance if at the very least a majority of the team has different ethnic backgrounds. An explanation for this positive effect could be that team members with different ethnic backgrounds all make a unique contribution to the team’s knowledge. This means they possibly also learn more from each other.
Team performance initially improves and later diminishes as the diversity in cognitive skills increases. Hoogendoorn concluded that teams exhibiting moderate diversity in cognitive skills perform the best. These teams also experience fewer dismissals. However, Hoogendoorn believes this does necessarily mean that this mechanism explains better team performance.
Hoogendoorn conducted a number of field experiments with first-year students. As part of their university of applied science programme International Business, these students started, managed and then dissolved their own company. The results of his research provide valuable insight into the effective composition of teams in organisations.
Sander Hoogendoorn’s PhD ceremony will take place on Friday, 8 March at 16:00 in the University of Amsterdam’s Agnietenkapel (Oudezijds Voorburgwal 231, Amsterdam).
Sander Hoogendoorn: Diversity and Team Performance: A Series of Field Experiments. Supervisor: Prof. Mirjam van Praag, professor of Entrepreneurship and Organisation at the University of Amsterdam.