Student Research Projects

Work Teams and Diversity

Student Delores Roberts, ‘13
Department Management, Business and Economics
Course MBE 301: Principles of Management


Working in groups or teams is crucial to getting work done in today’s business environment. The integration of divergent thoughts and individual perspectives enables creativity among the team to solve problems and leverage opportunities (Barcza, Lassk, & Mulki. 2010). This research explores whether diversity helps work teams. To examine this question, this research defines several advantages and disadvantages associated with work teams, as well as the effects that diversity had on those parts. For many years, managers thought of teams as productivity tools to get more work done. The central focus of teams to concentrate more people on a particular task is apparent in the old adage that ‘many hands make light work’ (McCreery & Bloom. 2002). The view of teams was later expanded to the idea that people who work as part of a team would be more likely to help each other, offer advice, and provide training to less experienced team members (McCreery & Bloom. 2002). In the 1960s, following Japan’s successful use of a new team type called “Quality Circles,” managers in the United States began to shift the purpose of teams towards increasing quality (McCreery & Bloom. 2002). The success of these early efforts led to an increase use of work teams in organizations (McCreery & Bloom. 2002). The increased use of teams in the workplace raises questions about when teams should be used and what types of teams work best in different situations. This research investigates the advantages and disadvantages of work teams and how the percentage of diversity within the team affects the level of effectiveness. How much diversity is necessary for the most efficient balance of team cohesion and cognitive conflict generated in the team?