Diversity revealed through networks

Barnes, Andrew (2017). Diversity revealed through networks PhD Thesis, UQ Business School, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2017.459

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Author Barnes, Andrew
Thesis Title Diversity revealed through networks
School, Centre or Institute UQ Business School
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2017.459
Publication date 2017-03-27
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Damian Hine
Tim Kastelle
Total pages 194
Total colour pages 16
Total black and white pages 178
Language eng
Subjects 1503 Business and Management
Formatted abstract
Diversity is a necessary condition for firm and individual level exploration. At the same time, it can act as a constraint on exploitative behaviours. Organisations which are able to take advantage of higher levels of diversity while reducing associated costs can create a competitive advantage. However, understanding the appropriate level of diversity for a given context is difficult, particularly in business environments which are often complex systems (Page, 2011). Therefore, this thesis asks: How can we measure and determine the appropriate level of diversity in a business system? Answering this question requires the investigation of two associated questions: 1) What is a suitable measure for diversity in business contexts, and 2) How does diversity influence business outcomes?

I begin the thesis with a thorough review of the current state of research in diversity and its measurement in business systems. The literature review includes a discussion on current techniques for measuring diversity through network analysis, identifying that assortative networks reveal information on levels of diversity. Drawing on the literature reviewed I develop a new measure for diversity using network analysis that is suitable for complex systems, such as social networks in business environments.

The construct validity and usefulness of the measure for diversity are investigated with an empirical research design spanning four datasets, including longitudinal and cross sectional cases. The data originates from email communication logs and research publications sourced from heterogeneous firms. The research identifies that the relationship between the proposed measure for diversity and attribute-level differences correlates as expected. Further, when compared with existing measures, the measure advanced provides new information and insight into organisational diversity.

The thesis contributes to the understanding of diversity in a number of ways. First, the measure itself improves upon existing approaches for measuring diversity in complex systems. Being able to better measure diversity is important, given its role in team performance, problem solving and market awareness. Second, the thesis provides a model for evaluating appropriate levels of diversity in different cost-benefit and technology scenarios. The thesis concludes with a summary of the implications and limitations of the research, and an outline of future research opportunities.
Keyword Diversity
Complex systems
Network analysis
Additional Notes Colour pages: 33,46,69,70,77,79.80,81,83,84,89,,119,,170,180,190 No other special printing requirements

Document type: Thesis
Collections: UQ Theses (RHD) - Official
UQ Theses (RHD) - Open Access
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Created: Sat, 18 Mar 2017, 15:03:07 EST by Mr Andrew Barnes on behalf of University of Queensland Graduate School