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Interdisciplinary Committee on Organizational Studies - ICOS pres.

Cultural Diversity Broadens Social Networks

Adam Kleinbaum Dartmouth College

Abstract
Migration and mobility increase cultural diversity. Does this diversity have consequences for how a culture’s members interact, even in a new community? We hypothesized that people from regions with greater present-day and historical cultural diversity would forge more diversified social ties in a newly formed community, connecting otherwise unconnected groups. In other words, that they would become social brokers. We tested this prediction by characterizing the social networks of eight Master of Business Administration cohorts (N=2,250). Here we show that international students (N=776) from populations with diverse long-history migration were more likely to become social brokers than international students from less ancestrally diverse nations. American students’ (N = 1,464) brokerage scores were also positively related to their home counties’ indices of international connectivity (calculated from aggregate Facebook data). The results of this study suggest that more culturally diverse social environments — defined here at multiple geographic and temporal scales — endow people with socially adaptable behaviors that help them connect to new, heterogeneous communities.

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