The influence of gender and ethnic diversity on team effectiveness

Frederick Jorge Panzer, Florida International University


Organizations are becoming increasingly diverse as a growing number of women and ethnic minorities enter the workforce. Understanding the influence of diversity is particularly important for organizations that rely on team-based work structures, where individuals must engage in face-to-face interactions more frequently than in other organizational settings. The purpose of this research was to examine the effects of gender and ethnic diversity on team member interactions when performing a highly interdependent task that is both cognitively and behaviorally challenging. Participants were composed of 264 undergraduate students who enrolled in psychology courses at Florida International University and formed 66, 4-person teams. Teams participated in a low fidelity F-22 flight simulation consisting of two aircraft that had to interact in order to be successful. A 2 x 2 design was utilized in which the gender and ethnicity composition of each team was manipulated to form four experimental conditions (same gender/same ethnicity, same gender/mixed ethnicity, mixed gender/same ethnicity, mixed gender/mixed ethnicity). Both ethnic and gender homogeneity in teams resulted in increased interpersonal cohesion. Moreover, coordination fully mediated the relationship between interpersonal cohesion and team performance. Higher levels of interpersonal cohesion enhanced coordination between team members, which ultimately improved performance. Implications of these findings are discussed, as are limitations of the study and suggestions for future research.

Subject Area

Occupational psychology|Management

Recommended Citation

Panzer, Frederick Jorge, "The influence of gender and ethnic diversity on team effectiveness" (2003). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3085015.