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How diversity makes us better, stronger, and more successful

Find out how diversity in the workplace has proven advantages to business outcomes

Diversity is the reflection of the world in which we live. Decades of research have proved that it is a powerful force that can foster a strong corporate culture and increase profits in the long run. Integrating diversity on an academic level is also paramount to preparing civically engaged and responsible leaders for the future and simultaneously creating a campus that recognizes the contributions of every individual and their perspective.

In addition, a diversity of skills can translate to advantages in all spheres of society. For example, for a football team to be successful and perform well, there is a requirement to fill different roles or positions that come with different skills without which the team cannot compete nor evolve. It is only rational to ask what are the advantages that diversity of race, sex, or cultural background affords us?

Extensive research by the Century Foundation on racial and socioeconomic diversity and inclusion in schools has shown that social diversity translates to a range of cognitive and social benefits for students. In simple terms, diversity makes us smarter. Furthermore, differences and divergences in opinions, experiences, and perspectives have a positive effect on the overall learning of a student, which will be beneficial for their life after graduation and thus influencing their future professional and personal life. Let’s look at the different ways in which diversity can make a difference in academic and professional life:

Diversity promotes critical thinking

According to the Century Foundation, diversity in the classroom provides an opportunity for students to consider diverse opinions and perspectives beyond their own. Exposing oneself to different points of view provides an opportunity to critically reflect on one’s own assumptions as well as to look at the world from a fresh and new perspective.

In addition, Scientific American found that exposure to diversity changes the way people think and ultimately improves innovation, creativity, and problem-solving skills, which makes us smarter. In addition, Antonio et al. (2004) have suggested that diversity triggers cognitive thinking. Meaning that encountering disagreement from someone whose background is different from oneself elicits critical thinking, unlike dissenting from someone who is from the same background or holds the same opinions.

Diversity helps prepare students for adulthood

The workplace is a completely different environment to campus life. It is therefore important to be ready to face the professional world which is made up of people from different backgrounds. As such, successful interaction with colleagues who are different from us can be challenging, especially without prior exposure to a diverse environment.

Hence, diversity at school and managing group projects with diverse team members who share and represent diverse perspectives, race, gender, and ethnicity will eventually prepare students to successfully integrate into the workplace and the world.

Diversity provokes innovation and creativity

Both professionally and academically, research has shown that diversity is one of the main keys to forming innovative teams. This is because it creates an ecosystem that fosters creativity and helps bring together different perspectives, ideas, and voices that can produce a unique idea, output, or strategy. While creativity on the other side is about compiling various ideas and shaping them into something unique and new. Additionally, research suggests that teams with racial diversity perform better than teams with minimal diversity when solving problems.

The advantages of diversity range from single students enrolled in institutions to businesses and society at large. It is however essential to underline that bad management of diversity can lead to conflicts, and sometimes even failures within the learning outcomes of a class.

Maya Angelou once said that “in diversity there is beauty and there is strengthâ€. Bringing together people from diverse backgrounds is therefore paramount in offering students and professionals the opportunity to learn and excel in a diverse and creative learning environment. It is only by embracing diversity, by recognizing the contributions and differences in viewpoints provided by others that we can become stronger, better, and lead rich, successful lives.

Read our Statement on Diversity and Inclusion at Geneva Business School

Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

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