From Science Daily: This just in: Political correctness pumps up productivity on the job.
Political correctness, loathed by some as censorship awash in leftist philosophy, actually boosts the creativity of mixed-sex work teams, according to new research published in Administrative Science Quarterly.
I can’t begin to tell you how thoroughly unsurprised I am to read that.
Of course it does. Why? Because the absence of “political correctness” equals the presence of political putdowns and sneers, and what does that do? It distracts the people subject to them, and diverts their energy to being annoyed and defensive and resentful. That is useful to no one.
Ok I’m opining before reading the whole article. Maybe that’s not it at all. Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions. Maybe it’s something else that I couldn’t have expected.
“Our work challenges the widespread assumption that true creativity requires a kind of anarchy in which people are permitted to speak their minds, whatever the consequence,” said Jack Goncalo associate professor of Organizational Behavior at the Cornell ILR School and lead author of the study.
Still not surprised.
These results highlight a paradoxical consequence: A term that has been used to undermine expectations to censor offensive language as a threat to free speech actually provides a foundation upon which diverse work groups can freely exchange creative ideas.
“Political correctness facilitates idea expression by reducing the uncertainty that people tend to experience while interacting with the opposite sex,” Goncalo said. “The PC norm, by establishing a clear guideline for how to behave appropriately in mixed-sex groups, made both men and women more comfortable sharing their creative ideas.”
That is somewhat different. It reduces the uncertainty, as opposed to the hostility.
Ok, so the reduction in hostility is an excellent side effect. (But actually this is just a report on a forthcoming article, so I’m going to guess there’s more to it than just a reduction in uncertainty. My bet is that knowing for certain that men would be sneering at women in these mixed groups would not be great for productivity.)