Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 1091: Does Gender Diversity Promote Non-Conformity?

Makan Amini , Mathias Ekström (), Tore Ellingsen (), Magnus Johannesson () and Fredrik Strömsten
Additional contact information
Makan Amini: Advent International
Mathias Ekström: NHH Norwegian School of Economics, Postal: and Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)
Tore Ellingsen: Stockholm School of Economics, Postal: and NHH Norwegian School of Economics
Magnus Johannesson: Stockholm School of Economics
Fredrik Strömsten: McKinsey & Company

Abstract: Failure to express minority views may distort the behavior of company boards, committees, juries, and other decision-making bodies. Devising a new experimental procedure to measure such conformity in a judgment task, we compare the degree of conformity in groups with varying gender composition. Overall, our experiments offer little evidence that gender composition affects expression of minority views. A robust finding is that a subject’s lack of ability predicts both a true propensity to accept others judgment (informational social influence) and a propensity to agree despite private doubt (normative social influence). Thus, as an antidote to conformity in our experiments, high individual ability seems more effective than group diversity.

Keywords: Conformity; Gender Differences; Group Composition; Skill

JEL-codes: C90; D02; D71; D83; J16

42 pages, October 20, 2015

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