How Diversity Matters in the US Science and Engineering Workforce: A Critical Review Considering Integration in Teams, Fields, and Organizational Contexts

Engaging Science, Technology, and Society

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Field Value
 
Title How Diversity Matters in the US Science and Engineering Workforce: A Critical Review Considering Integration in Teams, Fields, and Organizational Contexts
 
Creator Smith-Doerr, Laurel
Alegria, Sharla N.
Sacco, Timothy
 
Subject
diversity; integration; US science and engineering workforce; gender equity; team science
 
Description How the race and gender diversity of team members is related to innovative science and technology outcomes is debated in the scholarly literature. Some studies find diversity is linked to creativity and productivity, other studies find that diversity has no effect or even negative effects on team outcomes. Based on a critical review of the literature, this paper explains the seemingly contradictory findings through careful attention to the organizational contexts of team diversity. We distinguish between representational diversity and full integration of minority scientists. Representational diversity, where organizations have workforces that match the pool of degree recipients in relevant fields, is a necessary but not sufficient condition for diversity to yield benefits. Full integration of minority scientists (i.e., including women and people of color) in an interaction context that allows for more level information exchange, unimpeded by the asymmetrical power relationships that are common across many scientific organizations, is when the full potential for diversity to have innovative outcomes is realized. Under conditions of equitable and integrated work environments, diversity leads to creativity, innovation, productivity, and positive reputational (status) effects. Thus, effective policies for diversity in science and engineering must also address integration in the organizational contexts in which diverse teams are embedded.
 
Publisher The Society for Social Studies of Science
 
Contributor National Science Foundation supported research described in this essay, however, the opinions are those of the authors and not of the NSF
 
Date 2017-04-02
 
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion
Peer-reviewed Article

 
Format application/pdf
 
Identifier http://estsjournal.org/article/view/142
10.17351/ests2017.142
 
Source Engaging Science, Technology, and Society; Vol 3 (2017); 139-153
2413-8053
 
Language eng
 
Relation http://estsjournal.org/article/view/142/89
 
Coverage


 
Rights Copyright (c) 2017 Laurel Smith-Doerr, Sharla N. Alegria, Timothy Sacco
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0
 

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