Affect of Demographics on Cognitive Diversity


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Affect of Demographics on Cognitive Diversity

  1. 1. Issue Paper #4 Definition of Diversity What Is the Relationship Between Demographic Diversity and Cognitive Diversity?MLDC Research Areas Abstract the U.S. military performs—and the fact thatDefinition of Diversity different positions require different skills,Legal Implications Diversity is often defined demographically, personalities, and thinking styles—the mili-Outreach & Recruiting but it is also possible to define it more tary may have an interest in managing both broadly in terms of cognitive traits, such as cognitive and demographic diversity.Leadership & Training personality and thinking styles. Achieving This issue paper addresses the question ofBranching & Assignments diversity in this broader sense may improve whether the U.S. military’s efforts to promote the ability of the military to perform its demographic diversity within its ranks couldPromotion wide variety of functions. This issue paper affect the cognitive diversity of its personnel.Retention addresses the question of whether the U.S. We explore this question by examining the military’s efforts to promote demographic literature for insights on the relationships be-Implementation & diversity within its ranks could affect the tween demographic diversity and cognitiveAccountability cognitive diversity of its personnel. Focus- diversity. Specifically, we focus on how oneMetrics ing on one aspect of cognitive diversity— aspect of cognitive diversity, personality, isNational Guard & Reserve personality—we find in the literature small related to gender and to race/ethnicity.1 to moderate relationships between personal- ity and the demographic characteristics of How Is Personality Measured? race/ethnicity and gender. We conclude that The studies we examined used measures of efforts by the military to increase demo- personality based on the ―Big Five‖ personal- graphic diversity may also have the secon- ity traits: Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, dary effect of somewhat increasing cogni- Emotional Stability, Extraversion, and Open- tive diversity. However, given the modest ness to Experience. Also know as the Five sizes of many of these relationships and the Factor Model (FFM), the Big Five personality importance of other factors involved in in- traits were derived using factor analysis and creasing cognitive diversity, we expect this are generally accepted by the scientific com- secondary effect to be small. munity. One commonly used measure of the Big Five traits is the Revised NEO Personality WThis issue paper aims to aid in hen addressing the issue of Inventory (NEO PI-R). For the NEO PI-R,the deliberations of the MLDC.It does not contain the recom- diversity, organizations, re- each of the Big Five traits is made up of sixmendations of the MLDC. searchers, and policymakers facets. For example, the Conscientiousness have typically focused on factor on the NEO PI-R includes the follow- demographic diversity, which is usually ing facets: competence, order, dutifulness, defined in terms of race, ethnicity, and gen- achievement striving, self-discipline, and de- der and sometimes encompasses other liberation. Table 1 presents a list of FFM fac-Military Leadership Diversity demographic variables, including age, relig- ets promoted by Hough and Ones (2001).Commission ion, and sexual orientation. However, it is1851 South Bell Street What Is the Relationship Between Gender possible to define diversity more broadly toArlington, Va. 22202 and Personality?(703) 602-0818 include other aspects of individuals’ per- sonal qualities, experience, and background. There is a great deal of research on the rela- For example, cognitive diversity—as de- tionship between gender and personality (e.g., fined by Riche, Kraus, and Hodari (2007)— Costa, Terraciano, & McCrae, 2001; Schmitt, describes how individuals in a group vary in Realo, Voracek, & Allik, 2008). This body of terms of their personalities and thinking research generally finds consistent, albeit styles. Given the wide variety of functions small-to-moderate, average differences
  2. 2. between men and women on measures of the Big Five person- Perhaps the most important finding from this study was thatality traits (i.e., typically one-third of a standard deviation or group differences at the factor level (e.g., Extraversion) wereless). Compared with men, women score higher on the Agree- often moderated by differences at the facet level (e.g., theableness factor but lower on the Emotional Stability factor. sociability facet of Extraversion).For the other three Big Five factors, women score higher thanmen on some facets (e.g., the sociability facet of Extraver- Conclusionssion), whereas men score higher than women on other facets Overall, it appears that race, ethnicity, and gender are associ-(e.g., the dominance facet of Extraversion). Although consis- ated with some differences in personality. However, thetent, these average differences in personality across genders literature suggests that average differences in personalityare small compared with differences between individuals across gender, race, and ethnicity groups are small-to-within gender groups. moderate in magnitude and that, more importantly, differ- ences in personality are larger within demographic groups.Table 1. Measuring Personality: The Five Factor Model (FFM) and As a result, it is unlikely that promoting demographic diver-Its Facets sity will substantially increase cognitive diversity. Even if race/ethnicity or gender differences in personality traits wereFactor Facet large, increasing demographic diversity may not result inAgreeableness Nurturance increased cognitive diversity because of other factors. For Achievement example, individuals with certain personality traits may self- Dependability select both into the military overall and into certain careerConscientiousness Cautiousness/impulse control fields within the military, regardless of race/ethnicity or gen- Order der. Therefore, if the military decides that creating a work- Persistence force with diverse personalities is a priority, it will likely Self-esteem have to actively pursue that goal by selecting more individu- Low anxiety als with different personalities or other desired cognitiveEmotional Stability Even-tempered characteristics. Dominance Notes 1Extraversion Sociability We found little evidence in the literature on the association between an- Activity/energy other important aspect of cognitive diversity—thinking styles—and demo- graphic diversity; therefore, we omit this relationship from this paper. Complexity 2 According to Cohen (1992), an effect size measured as d is small if it is Culture/artistic around 0.2, moderate if around 0.5, and large if around 0.8. Creativity/innovationOpenness to Experience Change/variety References Curiosity/breadth Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 155–159. IntellectSOURCE: Hough & Ones (2001) created this taxonomy of FFM Costa, P. T., Jr., Terracciano, A., & McCrae, R. R. (2001). Gender differ- ences in personality traits across cultures: Robust and surprising findings.facets based on their review of several different personality Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 322–331.measures, including the NEO PI-R.What Is the Relationship Between Race/Ethnicity and Per- Foldes, H. J., Duehr, E. E., & Ones, D. S. (2008). Group differences in personality: Meta-analyses comparing five U.S. racial groups. Personnelsonality? Psychology, 61, 579–616.The relationship between race/ethnicity and personality hasreceived much less attention than the relationship between Hough, L. M., & Ones, D. S. (2001). The structure, measurement, validity,gender and personality. Recent studies have found some dif- and use of personality variables in industrial, work, and organizational psy-ferences between race/ethnicity groups in the United States, chology. In N. Anderson, D. S. Ones, H. K. Sinangil, & C. Viswesvaranalthough these differences are often small and inconsistent.2 (Eds.), Handbook of industrial, work, and organizational psychology— Vol. 1: Personnel psychology. London: Sage.To address the inconsistencies, Foldes, Duehr, and Ones(2008) conducted meta-analyses to examine how blacks,whites, Hispanics, Asians, and American Indians differ on the Riche, M. F., Kraus, A., & Hodari, A. K. (2007). The Air Force diversity climate: Implications for successful total force integration. CNA Corpora-Big Five personality traits and their facets. Generally, differ- tion.ences between groups were small, although there were somemoderate effect sizes at the facet level. The largest, most- Schmitt, D. P., Realo, A., Voracek, M., & Allik, J. (2008). Why can’t a manconsistent differences were between blacks and Asians on be more like a woman? Sex differences in big five personality traits acrossfacets of Extraversion, such that blacks, on average, scored 55 cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 168–182.higher than Asians (d = 0.29 to 0.55). MLDC Issue Paper #4 Page #2 December 2009