Diversity in business really does boost innovation, according to a new study

A new study reveals what many people have known all along—diversity in the workplace is good for innovation.

Researchers at NC State’s Poole College of Management Gender looked at the hiring policies of the 3,000 largest publicly traded companies in the United States to see if companies with a diverse workforce were better at developing innovative products and services. “The short answer is that they do,” Richard Warr, co-author of a paper on the study said in a press release. To make this finding, the researchers compared diversity policy data to patent and patent-citation data and product announcement data.

Warr, along with Roger Mayer of NC State, and Jing Zhao of Portland State University, published their results in a study called “Do Pro-Diversity Policies Improve Corporate Innovation?” in the journal Financial Management.  What they found is that companies with policies that encourage the retention and promotion of workers across the race, sexual orientation, and gender spectrum were more innovative and released more products. “The take-home message here is that a business which relies on innovation will benefit significantly from supporting diversity within its organization,” Warr says. “It’s really that simple.”


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