Diversity by Design: The Role of Contact and Homophily in Determining Persistent Friendships
Organizations regularly divide members in ways that maximize diversity, yet it is unclear whether efforts to induce diversity are effective in producing lasting ties. In this paper, we explore the extent to which an organization can induce diverse networks in small groups versus large groups, and in the short term (while induced contact persists) and in the long term (after induced contact ends). We evaluate this in an incoming MBA cohort as they are assigned to 70-person sections and five-person learning teams, both intended to maximize diversity and facilitate diverse ties. We find that, whereas the larger sections result in homophilous friendships, the smaller learning teams foster diversity. The latter result, however, is limited; once requirements to work together in learning teams are removed after the first year, those diverse friendships dissolve more rapidly than other friendships.
Bergemann, Patrick, Zachary Heinemann, Modupe Akinola, Sheena Iyengar, and Adam Galinsky. "Diversity by Design: The Role of Contact and Homophily in Determining Persistent Friendships." Columbia Business School, 2019.
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