If you go by the the rock n’ roll lore which says that once a bandmate gets married, the party is over for the group, you could not be further from the truth, suggests new research that shows marriage diversity is actually good for both bands and businesses alike.
The blended mix of married and unmarried bandmates improves creativity, innovation and collaborative thinking, and the same goes for working professionals, showed the findings published in the journal Small Group Research.
“Different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives associated with different life situations and choices may help the members engage in deeper information processing and more divergent thinking, allowing for more creative and exciting end products and popular success with the public,” said Don Conlon, Professor of Management at Michigan State University in the US.
To dig into marital diversity and its influence on a group’s success, Conlon and Karen Etty Jehn of the University of Melbourne in Australia looked at two very different types of groups — punk/new wave rock bands and MBA students.
“By looking at vastly different groups – one driven by creativity and musical talent and the other by more traditional business measures of success – we hope to see that this form of diversity benefits all groups,” Conlon said.
For rock bands, the researchers measured both the creative success and popular success of 84 bands.
The rock spectrum included bands that successfully released albums between 1967 and 1992, including the Ramones, the Pretenders and U2.
Conlon noted the marital status of each member, and whether it changed over time.
The bands’ creative successes were measured through analysis of album reviews in Rolling Stone magazine and British equivalent Trouser Press, and popular successes were measured by each album’s highest position on the Billboard 200 chart.
“What we found was that marital diversity facilitated both critical and popular success for bands that were later in their careers. So, the more time they spent working together, the more having a blended mix of people helped their musical success,” Conlon said.
Using more traditional group modelling, the researchers performed a similar analysis on MBA students at an Australian University.
They looked at 73 MBA student teams performing a semester-long consulting project in a class.
Marital diversity was more impactful on the groups’ performances toward the end of the semester, after they had spent a considerable amount of time working together, which mirrored the findings on bands, the study said.