Diversity Leads to Better Decisions

Diversity Leads to Better Decisions

There are obvious reasons why diversity is important to an organization. Economist Tim Harford, who has been called "Britain's Malcolm Gladwell," discusses the surprising benefits of diversity in the latest installment of Big Think's Edge.


Effective Decision Making:

"We often hear people singing the praises of diversity, and there are lots of good reasons why we should have diversity: to correct historic injustices and to be fair to all sorts of different kinds of people. Less often we hear the benefit of diversity because it just helps groups of people make better decisions," says Harford, a regular contributor to The Financial Times and the author of multiple books, including his latest, The Undercover Economist.

The Psychology of Non-Conformity:  

Harford cites a study by psychologist Solomon Asch from the 1950s that explored social pressure. The study clearly exposed the power of conformity. Test subjects chose the obviously wrong answer after the group--played by hired actors--had made the same wrong choice.

Resist Conformity:

As the Solomon Asch study also showed, Harford points out, just one lone voice is enough to inspire others to speak-up and break the chains of conformity. The pressure of conformity can indeed prevent productive discourse. Therefore, effective decision making relies on a diversity of voices. Does your organization generate diverse discussions?

Listen to Harford explain the power of diversity in the latest installment of Edge. 

Live on Thursday: Learn innovation with 3-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live this Thursday at 1pm ET.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to your calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

Physicists solve a 140-year-old mystery

Scientists discover the inner workings of an effect that will lead to a new generation of devices.

Carrier-resolved photo-Hall effect.

Credit: IBM
Surprising Science
  • Researchers discover a method of extracting previously unavailable information from superconductors.
  • The study builds on a 19th-century discovery by physicist Edward Hall.
  • The research promises to lead to a new generation of semiconductor materials and devices.
Keep reading Show less

Does forgetting a name or word mean that I have dementia?

The number of people with dementia is expected to triple by 2060.

Photo by Connor Wang on Unsplash
Mind & Brain
The number of cases of dementia in the U.S. is rising as baby boomers age, raising questions for boomers themselves and also for their families, caregivers and society.
Keep reading Show less

New Hubble images add to the dark matter puzzle

The images and our best computer models don't agree.

Surprising Science
  • Scientists can detect the gravitational effects of invisible dark matter.
  • Dark matter causes visual distortions of what's behind it.
  • The greater the distortion, the greater the amount of dark matter. Maybe.
  • Keep reading Show less
    Culture & Religion

    Did our early ancestors boil their food in hot springs?

    Scientists have found evidence of hot springs near sites where ancient hominids settled, long before the control of fire.

    Scroll down to load more…
    Quantcast