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This research examines the effects of multicultural social networks on individuals’ creative performance. Combining network analysis with experimental methods, two studies using different samples found that networks’ degree of cultural heterogeneity positively predicts creativity on tasks that draw on varied cultural-knowledge resources but not on other tasks. The results also indicate that a culturally heterogeneous network increases the likelihood of receiving culture-related novel ideas from others in the network whether or not they share one’s culture of origin. This finding sheds light on the mechanisms that underlie multicultural networks’ effects on creativity. Theoretical and practical implications for creativity and networking are discussed.

Source: “Innovating at the World’s Crossroads: How Multicultural Networks Promote Creativity” from Harvard Business School, Working Paper 11-085

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