The Diversity Paradox
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Michael A. Hogg
Claremont Colleges - Claremont Graduate University
Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting Paper
Many societies place value on diversity. The logic is that if people value living in communities that are diverse with respect to race, ethnicity, culture, religion, social values, socioeconomic status, and attitudes they will become tolerant and accepting of human differences. There is however a potential anomaly here - a diversity paradox. The psychology of groups has shown that groups accentuate and value intragroup similarity and intergroup difference. Two experiments examined the influence of this paradox on community identification. We found, subjective importance of diversity predicted increased identification when people were uncertain and believed the community was attitudinally homogeneous (motivated to identify because attitudinal homogeneity cued a sense of being included with and accepted by like-minded others), and when people were certain and believed the community was attitudinally diverse (identified more when attitudinal diversity indicated consistency between valuing diversity and being in a group that was genuinely diverse). Additionally, the importance of diversity predicted increased identification when people felt value similarity within the community was important. An intriguing paradox emerges - those who believe it is important to live in an ideologically diverse community identify with the community more when it is important that other community members all cherish similar values.
Date posted: March 29, 2010
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