Hansen, Zeynep, Owan, Hideo, & Pan, Jie
The Impact of Group Diversity on Performance and Knowledge Spillover- An Experiment in a College Classroom
Boise State University
Examined how group characteristics affect productivity.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
National Bureau of Economic Research
Working Paper 12251
- Male-dominant groups performed worse both in group and in individually taken exams than female-dominant and equally-mixed gender groups after controlling for other group characteristics. Individual members from a group with more diversity in an age and gender scored higher in exams.
- Did not find any significance of a group's racial composition over group and individual performances.
- There is a significant correlation between the choice of a democratic contract and the group and individual performance. Democratic group contract has a positive and significant effect on group performance.
- Finds empirical evidence that age and gender diversity matter in group performance and group learning in certain team environments.
- Finds no significant evidence of ethnical or racial diversity on performance.
College, Composition, Democracy, Diversity, Gender, Long Term Outcomes, Racial Composition
Method of Analysis:
Students in an undergraduate class
Unit of Analysis:
- Class performance data from an undergraduate introductory management course (MGT100) that two of the co-authors taught during 2001-2004 in Olin School of Business, Washington University in St.Louis.
- 432 undergraduate students who took MGT100 over five semesters during 2001-2004. Data includes grades, characteristics of their groups (including contract's choice), student academic background and demographic information.
- Every Friday teaching assistants lead discussions and run classroom games in small subsections of 12 to 26 students. In the first scheduled discussion session, TAs assign students in their subsections into four or five member teams. TAs are instructed to maintain gender diversity as much as possible in appointing groups although the actual method of team assignment is left to Tas.
- A novel aspect of the group work in MGT100 is that each group selects one of the following three team organizational structures to run and manage its team throughout the semester: autonomous team, democratic team, or manager-led team. The last two are allowed to punish free-riders in the group.
- The study tries to answer these questions: 1) Whether and how a group's composition affects its performance in group work. 2) Assess the extent of knowledge spillover from groups to their members. 3) Investigate how a group's governance structure may have affected its operation and performance.
- DV: Academic performance (based upon two midterm exams, final exam, and final project)
- IV: Type of group organization, academic background (college level status, prior GPA, SAT, prior courses, college division), demographics (age, gender, ethnic origin, housing location), and group-level academic/demographics, group heterogeneity.