People generally prefer to interact with people who share their views and opinions rather than with people that disagree with them. But the homogeneity of thinking within homogeneous groups leads to inferior results. Diversity leads to superior results for two reasons:
- Skills and knowledge: People from different backgrounds bring more skills and knowledge to the table that can improve the performance of the group as a whole. In a sense, a diverse group is smarter, more experienced and better skilled than a homogeneous group, because there is less overlap between the members of the group.
- Friction: The friction that results from interacting with a more diverse group forces them to put more effort into the process, for example preparing better and forming better arguments in order to reach a decision. The diverse group is more likely to generate more ideas and examine a larger number of alternatives. There is less consensus, so actually reaching the decision is likely to be harder.
The disagreement that arises within a diverse group is a potential source of conflict, which may make people feel uncomfortable and the process seems more difficult. Diversity is harder but it:
- Promotes critical thinking
- Encourages respect for opposing views
- Leads to better decisions
- Produces superior results