Homogeneous or Heterogeneous Teams and Creativity

Homogeneous teams—ones in which members have similar values and attributes—have the advantage of cohesion, and cohesion may translate into high productivity and goal accomplishment. But excessive cohesion can turn into groupthink and dumb decisions that do not respond to situational changes and contingencies. Heterogeneous teams are those whose members have diverse orientation. Agreements in such teams may be difficult; but having to reconcile diverse viewpoints may lead to more innovative solutions. In situations where creativity is important, as in strategic planning or research or ad teams, heterogeneous teams should have an advantage over homogeneous teams.

Creativity is more than fresh ideas. These ideas need to be workable. In making fresh ideas workable, the cohesive team may be at an advantage. For successful creativity therefore, fresh ideas need to be generated by heterogeneous teams but made workable by homogeneous teams. Or perhaps the heterogeneous team needs to adopt the norm that for generating fresh ideas it should leverage its internal diversity, but that for selecting a creative idea generated and making it workable the team needs to operate highly cohesively.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight