Organizational psychologist Adam Grant recently appeared on the Recode Decode podcast, arguing that companies that focus on hiring, cultivating, and retaining workers who fit well with the corporate culture are setting themselves up to fail long-term. He reasons that overemphasizing cultural fit results in a homogeneous workforce that is rigid and susceptible to groupthink, and ultimately puts companies at higher risk of being disrupted.

But does focusing on cultural fit actually harm innovation? Many of the companies today considered the most innovative prioritize cultural fit when hiring and socializing employees.

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Cultural homogeneity means that employees share the same ideas about how work is or should be done in an organization. For example, employees in a culturally homogeneous company might all believe that teamwork and collaboration are more important than individual achievement. Importantly, cultural homogeneity does not necessarily mean a lack diversity along other lines, such as gender or race — a gender and racially diverse workforce can still be made up of employees with similar beliefs and values about how best to do work. …


Matthew Corritore

Assistant Professor of Strategy & Organization, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University.

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