Cultural Diversity Broadens Social Networks

48 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2019 Last revised: 3 Oct 2019

See all articles by Adrienne Wood

Adrienne Wood

Dartmouth College

Adam M. Kleinbaum

Tuck School of Business; Dartmouth College

Thalia Wheatley

Dartmouth College

Date Written: October 2, 2019

Abstract

Migration and mobility increase cultural diversity. Does this diversity have consequences for how a culture’s members interact, even in a new community? We hypothesized that people from regions with greater present-day and historical cultural diversity would forge more diversified social ties in a newly formed community, connecting otherwise unconnected groups. In other words, that they would become social brokers. We tested this prediction by characterizing the social networks of eight Master of Business Administration cohorts (N=2,250). Here we show that international students (N=776) from populations with diverse long-history migration were more likely to become social brokers than international students from less ancestrally diverse nations. American students’ (N = 1,464) brokerage scores were also positively related to their home counties’ indices of international connectivity (calculated from aggregate Facebook data). The results of this study suggest that more culturally diverse social environments — defined here at multiple geographic and temporal scales — endow people with socially adaptable behaviors that help them connect to new, heterogeneous communities.

Keywords: social networks, diversity, culture, social brokerage, socio-ecology

Suggested Citation

Wood, Adrienne and Kleinbaum, Adam M. and Wheatley, Thalia, Cultural Diversity Broadens Social Networks (October 2, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3398802 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3398802

Adrienne Wood (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College ( email )

Department of Sociology
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

Adam M. Kleinbaum

Tuck School of Business ( email )

Hanover, NH
United States

HOME PAGE: http://bit.ly/kleinbaum

Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

Thalia Wheatley

Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

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