Effects of team composition
Many times, I hear that a team needs to be composed by diversity. A very difficult construct by the way, since we by diversity often only mean, people that look and do different things than us. Psychology wise that has little to do with diversity as in being different from the others.
Most of the times, what is looked for is different perspectives and different experiences but the individual is interestingly enough just like the rest of the organization and/or the team.
But is that necessarily a bad thing?
Anderson, Keith, Francisco and Fox tried out in 2018 the hypothesis to compare cohesive (Homogenous) teams versus heterogenous teams. They wanted to see whether the teams differented significally from each other in learning and in problem solving. Dividing 129 individuals into 34 different teams. This study focused on software development teams. The students were enrolled in a Java course and their progress were being monitored.
They made the students perform a Big Five profile before the course. They were then being put in groups that had high versus low personality variance.
In summary, teams comprised of homogeneous personalities develop greater cohesion, greater confidence in their ability to execute creative problem solving, and greater effectiveness.
Interestingly, while controlling for team personality variability, they found that an individual’s personality cluster made a difference in effectiveness. The cluster of “just let me coders” are more effective, but they may develop less confidence in their abilities than the cluster of “people persons”.
As expected group cohesion improves performance, but learning has no effect on performance.
Also gender had very little effect on cohesion and effectiveness, and no effect on Learning.
It is highly recomended therefor, even by objective researchers, that one should profile the entire team Before recruiting the next individual. It does have an effect on, not only the individual itself, but effects ripple all the way through the rest of the team.