In many workplaces today, diversity is ubiquitous. NYU Abu Dhabi psychology major Dinara Mukhayarova, Class of 2017, grew up in the UAE has worked in many diverse employee pools as an intern. These workplace experiences, she said, inspired her to pursue Capstone research that explores the relationship between team diversity and employees' willingness to comply with demands from a supervisor.
Surprisingly, the research results suggest that in diverse workplaces many employees with different viewpoints and experiences prefer to be told specifically what to do to avoid ambiguity, rather than have the autonomy to get it wrong.
The findings "have the potential to shed light on the most effective ways for supervisors to interact with subordinates in settings with different levels of diversity," Mukhayarova said, possibly leading to improved organizational performance and less employee burnout.
How and where did you collect data?
We distributed an online experiment and survey to over 300 individuals in the United States. We manipulated team diversity and measured participants’ need for closure and willingness to comply with harsh (controlling) power tactics and soft power tactics (tactics that emphasize autonomy).
What did you find out?
The study found that individuals in diverse teams have a higher motivation to avoid ambiguity, which in turn, motivates them to comply with harsh power tactic. We didn't find any evidence that individuals on diverse teams in the workplace are more willing to comply with soft power tactics.