A new joint study suggests that while diversity and inclusion practices are sought after by organizations, people prefer to work with colleagues who are similar to themselves.

“Today, many large corporations tout the importance of diversity on their websites, but current statistics show that the typical manager still tends to be white and male,” the study’s authors said in a statement.

“Obviously, there is a dissonance between the desire to bring about diversity and corporate reality.”

Researchers examined four studies involving 605 participants. They found that while people look favourably at diverse teams, they prefer to work in heterogeneous groups.

“The results showed a significant difference in how people select colleagues for themselves versus for other people,” the study’s authors say.


While most respondents said they saw value in diversity, some conceded it may be difficult to work with people who have different views or work styles.

“Research shows that people’s perception of and the importance they attach to diversity have key implications for people’s decision making,” explains lead author Dr. Jaffé. “In a next step it would be important to gain a better understanding of the evaluation of diversity to discuss and resolve concerns about potential disadvantages. This way, people may then be more willing to include dissimilar people in their own teams.”

The authors say organizations could become more diverse if hiring and team decisions are made by a combination of people directly affected as well as by people not directly involved in the group’s work.

Read the full paper here.