Home > Uncategorized > Does Diversity Help Baseball Teams Win Games? Rutgers-Camden Management Scholar Seeks an Answer

Does Diversity Help Baseball Teams Win Games? Rutgers-Camden Management Scholar Seeks an Answer

multicolor people large network2A recent Rutgers research study has identified a new twist in the science behind diversity.  Researchers have determined based on analysis of Major League baseball demographic data that winning baseball teams have what are known as “demographic faultlines”.  In my Diversity2.0 language these are known as “cliques.”  What the researchers found was that to attract diversity most successful baseball teams had strong demographic cliques that provided comfort and support to new recruits from the same ethnic groups.  These demographic cliques were largely built around race, ethnicity, and language.  In other words these cliques were homogenous and were the very opposite of what most diversity practitioners preach.  The traditional diversity mantra is that groups primarily built around race or ethnicity outside of cultural celebrations are a negative thing.  The Rutgers research suggests something different.  It says that subgroups built around race or ethnicity promotes better functioning of the team because these subgroups improve communication and colaboration between team members. 

Workplace takeaway: The problem is not cliques built around race or ethnicity.  Instead, it is when these cliques purposefully exclude others who do not fit the respective clique profile.  For example, if you are par of a good old boys network that does everything it can do to exclude women.  Then you are wrong and you are doing severe damage to your organizational culture.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 29, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    This is an interesting concept and I believe, very true. As we know, it is in the human nature to group ourselves with people who think like us, act like us, talk like us, etc. This is why you can walk into a high school and see races separated, bookworms from jocks, etc. because of the fact we all hang out with people like us. In the perspective of athletics, I see, nothing changes their either. I think a lot of it has to deal with the comfort level a person feels once they are around people like them, regardless if it’s one or fifty people like them. I don’t think it’s a negative thing to group yourself around people like you, but I think it is imperative to open your mind and accept everyone.

  2. October 2, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    We have all known that we like to be around people who are similar to ourselves. This allows us to be comfortable. The thing that I find interesting is the reason behind this comfort. It all goes back to our view of the world. We know that we are comfortable around people that are similar to us, so we assume that it is the same for everyone else. “They” couldn’t possibly feel like
    “we” do, “we” have nothing in common with “them”. This is where the lines are drawn and the foundation for bias is created. Sure, its great to have someone who shares your interests and feels similarly about certain issues, but by secluding ourselves in their presence, we miss out on the wonders that mankind provides. How will you know that you disagree if you don’t even know the other side of the argument. How do you even know that there is an other side? We don’t. We simply assume that, since this is how it has been, this is how it will be. Workplace disconnect, low moral, and feelings of seclusion are all byproducts of this innate behavior. The great thing about the brain is that it is re-programmable. We can challenge the framework that we have established and create new paths that allow for inclusion. Not to say that we should avoid our groups of similar people, but that we should make that group more open and accepting of others. What we find is that we all have way more in common than we have differences. Build upon this foundation and you are sure to create a workplace that is dynamic, productive, and just plain ol’ fun.

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