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Can Diversity Drive Innovation?

Learn how diversity helps companies thrive—and how earning a business degree online can help you make a difference in your organization.

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the benefits of a diverse workforce. Around the world, executives and managers are discovering that making diversity a business priority can result in a real competitive advantage.

Diversity brings different backgrounds and experiences to an organization. It adds fresh perspectives and encourages new, creative ways of thinking. And, yes, diversity drives innovation.

Can Diversity Drive Innovation?

While many management leaders point to anecdotal evidence supporting this notion, one 2017 study aimed to further explain the relationship between diversity and innovation with hard data. The researchers surveyed 171 companies in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The study not only affirmed the idea that diversity is a major contributor to innovation, but it also found many factors that affect this correlation.

Here are the study’s five key findings on the link between diversity and innovation:1

  1. Organizations with greater diversity in their management teams are more innovative.

    The biggest impact of diversity can be seen at the top. The researchers found that the more diverse the company’s management team, the more innovative that company was likely to be—meaning these companies brought in more revenue from new products and services.

  2. Four types of diversity affect innovation the most.

    There are many types of diversity, but they don’t all affect innovation equally. The study determined that the types of diversity that have the highest degree of impact on business innovation are industry background, country of origin, career path, and gender.

    In short, corporations with a management team that includes women or people from other countries, industries, or companies are more innovative. The study found employee age diversity and various academic backgrounds (such as the field of study in which you earn a degree) have no impact, or even a negative one, on a company’s innovation.

  3. Diversity has a more significant impact in larger, more complex companies.

    Diverse management teams have a greater impact on innovation at companies with more complex business structures—such as those with multiple product lines or multiple industry segments. Also, the larger the company in size, the bigger the impact of diversity on innovation.

  4. Businesses with a higher percentage of female managers are more innovative.

    While gender diversity is crucial in fostering innovation, the real impact of gender diversity is seen when there’s a higher proportion of women on the management team. Data showed that businesses that had at least 20% of their manager positions filled by women were more innovative than companies who had a smaller percentage of women on their management team.

  5. An inclusive culture that values input from all organizational levels is important.

    Companies that have diverse management teams are more innovative when they are also open to contributions from lower-level workers. To increase innovation, companies must create an environment that encourages employees to share their ideas and speak their minds.

Prepare to Increase Diversity in Your Organization With an MBA Degree

If you want to increase diversity and innovation in your organization, earning a business administration master’s degree can prepare you to make a difference. Through MBA classes, you’ll learn best practices in business and management while gaining expertise and leadership skills that can help you create a diverse workplace environment that fosters innovation.

An MBA degree is one of the most recognized master’s degrees in business and can provide the advanced knowledge and credentials needed to take your management or consulting career to the next level.

How Long Does It Take to Get an MBA?

The time it takes to earn an MBA degree depends on your professional and academic background, as well as the business degree program you choose.

Some of the top MBA programs in today’s best business schools offer flexible learning options to fit your schedule and budget. You can also earn a graduate degree online. With an online education, you can complete the courses required for your business administration degree while still meeting the commitments of your current career.

Walden University’s Master of Business Administration online degree program is a great choice if you’re looking for an online learning format that offers flexible options for earning an MBA degree. At Walden, you can choose from three degree-completion options: guided course instruction, competency-based learning, or a fast-track option that allows you to complete your MBA online in as little as 12 months.2

Plus, admission into Walden’s online master's of business administration degree program is based on professional and academic experience and does not require college-level testing. That means you can earn an MBA online without taking a GMAT.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

2Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic such as tuition and fee increases and/or the student’s transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; writing, research, and editing skills; use of external data for their doctoral study/dissertation; and individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations, caregiving responsibilities or health issues, leaves of absence, or other personal circumstances.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,