August 28, 2015

Biased Perceptions of Racially Diverse Teams and Their Consequences for Resource Support

“As organizations become increasingly more diverse, finding effective ways to manage diverse teams will likely be a source of competitive advantage.”

Researchers from the United States and the Netherlands examined if biases can negatively affect how racially diverse teams are evaluated, and ultimately treated, relative to racially homogeneous groups. Their new report is titled “Biased Perceptions of Racially Diverse Teams and Their Consequences for Resource Support.”

In three experiments, which held the actual content of observed behavior constant across diverse and homogeneous teams, observers were less willing to allocate additional resources to diverse teams. The findings supported the expectation that biased perceptions of relationship conflict accounted for this reduced support of diverse teams.

According to the report, “managers who expect racial diversity to lead to increased relationship conflict may evaluate these teams negatively and seek to reduce or eliminate diversity when assembling teams.” And “some of the negative experiences reported in diverse settings may be more a function of biased conflict perceptions than actual differences in behavior.”

The report discusses implications for organizations with diverse teams.

Read the full report.

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