In an event on 21 October at the Oxford Martin School, Professor Jacques Poot from the University of Waikato addressed the impact of cultural diversity among employees in the innovativeness of firms.
Professor Poot began by asking the question of how diversity should be measured, demonstrating that it matters for the conclusions drawn regarding the relationship. He provided a synthesis of empirical evidence from a wide range of contexts across Australasia, North America, the United Kingdom and continental Europe. He also presented some findings from his recent research which utilizes two unique and harmonized linked employer-employee datasets from the Netherlands and Germany.
The research presented shows that firms that employ a more culturally diverse foreign workforce are more innovative, but the impact – relative to other factors influencing innovation – is quantitatively modest. Professor Poot outlined that the causal direction of the relationship between innovation and cultural diversity is hard to detect, as there is certainly also evidence that more innovative firms recruit more culturally diverse workers.
IMI director Oliver Bakewell chaired this event, with Mathias Czaika offering a formal response before the floor was opened to general questions touching on the social psychological evidence about diverse team composition, 'brain drain' from emigration countries, and in what ways Professor Poot's research links to the current migration 'crisis'.
For those who were unable to join us at this interesting event, a webcast is available.
IMI also welcomed Professor Poot to give a special IMI seminar on 22 October, discussing 'Immigrant integration and social capital formation: evidence from New Zealand'. He continues his NZ-UK Link Foundation Visiting Professorship lecture programme with further lectures at the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics and Political Science.