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Perspectives on Psychological Science 10, 6 (2015) 742-748
Empirical evidence reveals that diversity—heterogeneity in race, culture, gender, etc.—has material benefits for organizations, communities, and nations. However, because diversity can also incite detrimental forms of conflict and resentment, its benefits are not always realized. Drawing on research from multiple disciplines, this article offers recommendations for how best to harness the benefits of diversity. First, we highlight how two forms of diversity—the diversity present in groups, communities, and nations, and the diversity acquired by individuals through their personal experiences (e.g., living abroad)—enable effective decision making, innovation, and economic growth by promoting deeper information processing and complex thinking. Second, we identify methods to remove barriers that limit the amount of diversity and opportunity in organizations. Third, we describe practices, including inclusive multiculturalism and perspective taking, that can help manage diversity without engendering resistance. Finally, we propose a number of policies that can maximize the gains and minimize the pains of diversity.