Sep 12, 2018

Prompting people to listen to each other reduces inequality and improves group performance

Posted by in category: futurism

A small but impactful shift in the way a group assignment is presented can significantly reduce racial inequality within the group, as well as lead to better work, according to new research by Bianca Manago, assistant professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University. Groups, Inequality and Synergy, co-authored with Jane Sell at Texas A&M University and Carla Goar at Kent State University, appears online in the September 2018 issue of Social Forces.

Previous research has shown that groups often diminish the contributions of minorities, by dismissing their opinions more often, for example, or by being less likely to adopt their ideas. Manago and her colleagues sought to discover whether reframing the parameters of a task could reduce that , and how that would impact the quality of the group’s work.

“Past research shows that people with different skills working together is good for , but relatively little research has been done on how superficial differences that shouldn’t matter, like race, affect group performance,” Manago said. “We found that when people are more willing to listen to the minority group member, the group does better.”

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