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Simply because the immediate reaction to the Google Memo concentrated on sex differences I gathered together some posts on sex differences, showing that the sexes differ somewhat in their abilities: not very much, but enough to make a difference at the extremes, and it is the extremes which make a difference to technology based societies, and to a technology dependent world. I left out any mention of the notion that a “diverse” workforce is better than …… better than a workforce selected purely on ability to do the task in question. My mistake, which I will try to repair now.

I wondered, some years ago, what evidence there was for the proposition that diversity was a good thing. I would like to collect more proposals, because the ones sent to me proved unconvincing. You may have heard a claim that having women in the workforce boosts profits by 40%. This turns out to be a misunderstood joke.

Now to the general claim that having women in a group boosts anything, or that having a variety of intellectual levels in a group boosts anything. That was taken apart in a set of experimental studies by Bates and Gupta.

My conclusion was:

So, if you want a problem solved, don’t form a team. Find the brightest person and let them work on it. Placing them in a team will, on average, reduce their productivity. My advice would be: never form a team if there is one person who can sort out the problem.

Perhaps Damore was a guy who could sort out problems, until the last problem, that is.

I repeat my January 2015 request: if you have any good studies showing that having a sexually or racially diverse workforce boosts profits over a workforce selected on competence alone, please send me send them to me in a comment to this item.

• Category: Science 
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  1. Anonymous [AKA "Roast beef"] says:

    Some of the findings of our initial report are confirmed – greater diversity in boards and management are empirically associated with higher returns on equity, higher price/book valuations and superior stock price performance. However, new findings emerge from this added management analysis – we find no evidence that female led companies reflect greater financial conser- vatism where leverage is concerned. Also, dividend payout ratios have been shown to be higher. Female CEOs have proven to be less acquisitive than men when assuming the leadership position. The analysis makes no claims to causality though the results are striking.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
    , @hyperbola
  2. Diversity and inclusion are buzzwords made up by Gramscian marxists to rationalize group rights made up by the courts after not being satisfied with equality under the law. Those buzzwords do nothing to resolve the existential and morals issues raised by group rights. Whose diversity and inclusion are the best anyways? What if I think I would be enriched by this rather than that diversity and inclusion?

    • Replies: @Joe Franklin
  3. TheJester says:

    An Example: Talented Individuals vs. Mediocre Groups

    In the late 1990s, I was in charge of a regional office of a high tech company that had a problem. We had delivered a complex air defense system but the command module could not communicate with the missile batteries. This was serious stuff. The company put teams of software developers on the problem back at the main campus. They worked for over a month without result. The customer was getting antsy, which is a euphemism for nasty.

    Then, the company deployed Burt (not his real name) to the customer location to see what he could do. Burt sat at the conference table in my outer office reading reams of code printed in large binders like a novel (I’m not kidding) … no notes, just reading and noticing. Burt didn’t even bother with a computer screen or debugging software.

    Then, he exclaimed, “I’ve got it!” (I’ll always remember that moment.) Burt noticed that the date format for the commands being sent from the command module was in a different format than the date format expected by the missile batteries.

    QED … a technical problem that had been plaguing the company for months, that had immobilized a major air defense system, and that had put the company’s product line at risk solved by an individual with a few hours of work. I made sure that Burt got a big bonus.

    The point: If you ran a startup hoping to bring “creative destruction” to a sector in a high-tech society, would you want (1) a politically correct software development team carefully tailored to meet affirmative action quotas for males, females, Blacks, Hispanics, homosexuals, lesbians, and the transgendered in spite of their IQs and personal qualities … or, as James Damore argues, would you want (2) a group of “Burt’s” acting alone or in concert because of their IQs and unique personal qualities?

    The histories of Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, and Google suggest the latter. The former brings with it progressively higher social and financial “carrying costs” that prejudice the success of any bleeding-edge high-tech endeavor.

  4. When the “diversity” is strictly cosmetic and all points of view are basically identical, what you have is not diversity, it’s as Damore described it, an “echo chamber.” Google should be smart enough to know this. I would guess that this kind of non-diverse diversity hinders productivity because there are no new ideas, just regurgitations of the party line.

  5. res says:

    I like this one:

    In a recent article disentangling what researchers have learned over the past 50 years, Margaret A. Neale finds that diversity across dimensions, such as functional expertise, education, or personality, can increase performance by enhancing creativity or group problem-solving. In contrast, more visible diversity, such as race, gender, or age, can have negative effects on a group—at least initially.

    Of course viewpoint diversity is never what is actually meant by “diversity.”

    Sadly that article did not include a link to the research. I think this is it (free full text):
    The summary has a paragraph matching my quote above.

  6. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    We used to abhor meetings back in the days before the US military was feminized and subject to collaborative group think. So much to do … so little time.

    We called meetings and other collaborative exercises “circle jerks”.

    From Wikipedia:

    A circle jerk is a sexual practice in which a group of men or boys form a circle and masturbate themselves or each other. In the metaphorical sense, the term is used to refer to self-congratulatory behavior or discussion amongst a group of people, usually in reference to “boring time-wasting meetings or other events”.

    I suspect that “circle jerks” will become more frequent as Google transitions to a more female-friendly, collaborative organizational structure.

  7. @Anonymous

    Thanks. Reading it now. Makes good points, but hard to find appropriate comparison companies for longitudinal comparisons. As authors say, it could be bigger companies doing the “female quota” thing while smaller companies are less inclined or less able to do so. Still reading it, and mostly thinking about the methods .

  8. Anonymous [AKA "lump1"] says:

    This is definitely an important question to tackle directly. My two bits is that we should try to disentangle causality if possible. It’s not enough just to find correlations between high valuation and racial diversity. It might be like finding correlations between high valuation and having Michelin-star chefs in the company cafeteria. I bet the correlation exists, but it happens because already-successful companies get money to blow on inessential nice things. Diversity is a nice thing that already-successful companies can buy when they have money to spare, but just because they end up with it doesn’t mean that it helped them succeed. I mean, it might – I don’t know the data – but mere correlations could mislead us. Correlations across time would impress me more. If individual companies grow faster when more diverse and slower after they lose diversity, then the findings would be harder to dismiss.

  9. Agree we need a longitudinal study.

  10. Off topic, but it seems Guardian readers are woke to the “everyone must go to university” scam. Bit late but never mind.

    Top rated comment

    I think the “50% of the population must have degrees” brigade are to blame for this. It was always going to devalue the worth of an academic degree by attempting to have half of the population wandering the job centres armed with a useless (but very costly) scrap of parchment.

    What on earth were successive governments thinking?

    But even if the degrees are not as valuable as the salesman (who came to your school and persuaded you, age 17, to sign up for a £60k loan with hefty interest rates) told you, at least you’ve had three years of leftie indoctrination (e.g. “no borders, no nations” or “Farage is a racist”) which will stand our elites in good stead over your lifetime. And you’ve paid for it yourself!

  11. “if you want a problem solved, don’t form a team”

    Novels are written by one person – (as Steve Sailer mentions here and there, novels, especialy the really good ones, are very complex things). Great works of art or compositions, – mostly the same thing as in the novels-example.

    Pop-music (Rock etc. too) might be an exception: Here, groups yield very interesting results.
    (On usually not that high intellectual levels – is that the reason for this exception?)

  12. Interesting example of pop-music. Usually the song writers are far fewer than the song players.

    • Replies: @Writer
  13. @epochehusserl

    Diversity and Inclusion are euphemisms when employed by leftist (i.e. Democrats and Neocons) .

    The federal government recognizes Diversity as a number of protected class groups that self-identify as being underprivileged, oppressed, disadvantaged, underutilized, and underserved.

    Protected class groups identify the Nazi and white supremacist as their common oppressor.

    The federal government recognizes Inclusion as federal entitlements for protected class groups.

    Here’s an example of several federal protected class groups recognized and entitled by the University of Nebraska:

    Identification of Protected Class Groups

    The following five groups are considered “Protected Classes” under various federal laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires reporting employment information on the first two groups, females and minorities, which are traditionally underutilized.



    2.INDIGENOUS MINORITIES. Groups for whom established patterns of discrimination have been determined to exist (based on self-identification):

    •Black: (not Hispanic origin): All persons having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

    •Hispanic: All persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

    •American Indian or Alaskan Native: All persons having origins in any of the original peoples of North America, and who maintain cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.

    •Asian or Pacific Islander: All persons having their origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent or the Pacific Islands. For example: China, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands and Samoa.

    3.INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES: Defined as an individual who has a physical or mental impairment that constitutes a substantial limitation on a major life activity, a person with record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived as having such an impairment. The law also protects those who are in a relationship or associated with someone with a disability.



  14. Google diversity is different peoples saying one thing.

    • LOL: utu
  15. dearieme says:

    The headline says “Google Diversity”.

    I’ve googled ‘diversity’, doc; what next?

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Obviously, all the smart people at Google know what you claim in this post, Dr. Thompson.

    The problem is, that in our time business works in allegiance with politics, and the two work in allegiance with the information/cultural sector. And, yes, academic activity and college also fall in the three categories: their activity is political, it is business, and cultural.

    So every thing is business, it is politics, and it is information.

    For example: Google would have payed a toll in terms of brand image, had they not fired their truth-prone engineer.
    They’d have been berated by the press, the incident would’ve been exploited by the competition…

    In other words still: once everything happens “live”, under the sun, and is for the masses to see and feel about (as opposed to think about), everything must acquire the traits of spectacles for the masses (Gustave le Bon’s Psychology of the crowd is the best book with regard to them).

  17. hyperbola says:

    I closed my Credit Suisse account when the “financial adviser” first became a tanned “new age” type. Not long thereafter corruption scandals began hitting CS.

    Reading the executive summary of your document, the PC atmosphere seems to continue at CS. So do the scandals.

    Credit Suisse scandal threatens Swiss efforts to clean up reputation

    Credit Suisse ensnared in tax evasion and money laundering scandal as raids hit five countries

    Credit Suisse gets dragged into FIFA corruption scandal

    Is there some reason why we should listen to CS?

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  18. @dearieme

    Ho Ho.
    Change your search engine.

  19. @hyperbola

    Must get back to reading their study so I can comment on it!

  20. Fascinating! An infinitesimal mistake with large human consequences.

  21. Writer says:
    @James Thompson

    I am a bestselling writer, and will just add that the writing team that won the Pulitzer for Jackson Pollock: An American Saga, has produced some of the best non-fiction I’ve ever read. Last year, a co-authored story won the Pulitzer for features, and in terms of writing quality was one of the better pieces I’ve read. And at least in the fantasy/sci-fi domain, there are reams of blockbusters that are co-authored, involving the likes of Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and others. Mark Twain co-authored a famous satirical book, although in that one at least contemporary critics did not praise the co-authorship, as the two split sections rather than collaborating, and the critics felt it didn’t mesh perfectly. All of the great TV series, from The Wire and Sopranos to Game of Thrones generally have many authors, often within an episode and always throughout a season. I think there is little evidence that writing collaboration is worse in quality, and it’s more likely that it is logistically suboptimal — in a Hollywood writer’s room, that is overcome — and also that many writers go it alone for personal expression reasons or what have you. Many popular book series hand off authorship repeatedly, even if sometimes the name on the book remains the same for marketing purposes. Wilbur Smith signed a six book deal for £15m, and contracted in was that he could choose co-authors. Good writers can imitate styles rather widely.

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