Is diversity a driver of innovation and performance? We undertook a large, cross-country study to investigate the relationship between multiple aspects of managerial diversity, as well as enabling conditions such as leadership support for diversity, and innovation outcomes. The results are detailed in a new article for Harvard Business Review.
We surveyed more than 1,700 companies across eight countries (the U.S., France, Germany, China, Brazil, India, Switzerland, and Austria) and a variety of industries and company sizes. We examined diversity in management positions across several dimensions (gender, age, national origin, career path, industry background, and education). We partnered with the Technical University of Munich for the statistical analysis of the results, examining the correlation of these variables both individually and collectively, with the percentage of revenues coming from products introduced in the last three years as a proxy for innovation impact.
Indeed, we found that there was a statistically significant relationship between diversity and innovation outcomes in all countries examined. Furthermore, the more dimensions of diversity were represented, the stronger the relationship was, although the precise patterns of diversity and performance were different across cultures.