Document Type

Book Chapter


Claremont Graduate University

Publication Date



Christianity | Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Missions and World Christianity | Multicultural Psychology | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Organizational Behavior and Theory | Practical Theology | Social Psychology


This study presents an overview of the results of empirical studies concerning diversity in work teams. Although these studies have most often been carried out in secular contexts, they support perspectives of human nature that are consistent with the biblical themes found associated with the Tower of Babel (the Similarity/Attraction Perspective) and Paul's metaphor of the Body of Christ and spiritual gifts (the Information/Decision Making Perspective). Key concepts are explained, including the measurement of diversity and team performance, task and relationship diversity, faultlines, cultural versus non-cultural diversity, and status. When the results of the various diversity studies are combined, it appears that diversity in itself has little effect on team performance. However, under certain conditions, diversity can be very detrimental or very beneficial to team performance. These various conditions are examined in light of situations that missionary teams are likely to encounter.