Benefits and Risks of Homogenous Teams

“A homogeneous team would include people who are as similar as possible, with similar points of view, learning abilities and life experiences.” (Jones) These types of teams create tangible benefits as well as tangible losses. One major benefit is being able to pull a team together quickly. In The Founders Dilemma, Wassermam states, “For a founder scrambling to meet the challenges of a growing startup, choosing cofounders from among people with whom he or she probably has important things in common is often the quickest and easiest solution.” (91) When you take a look at your network of social resources, there are many qualified candidates that would appear to make great partners. Like mindedness can provide a wealth of knowledge and experience. A founder would have confidence for entering into a successful partnership from this group formation. Not only is there common ground and history between the founding group, but there also should be a “common language”. (92) A common language allows individuals to place homogenous teams in a world of their own. You will have apple to apple language instead of apple to pear talks. A pear is a fruit that hangs from a tree like an apple, but the taste and texture are different. I would even suggest that they could anticipate each other’s thoughts because they process information in a similar manor.  Jones believes “the comprehension of verbal and nonverbal communication among this type of group allows for fewer misunderstandings and prejudices.” Trust is easily developed from this partnership because of the common ground of mutual understandings.

Unfortunately, this utopia of like minds can come with disadvantages and risks. Wasserman states, “Conversely, homogeneous teams tend to have overlapping human capital, making it more likely that the team will have redundant strengths and be missing critical skills. “ (93) Everyone having the same skill set can create long term hindrances. Diversity amongst the founders is important for synergy. The collaboration of expertise is greater than one part. Homogeneous teams contribute to one part of the whole, which can create long term issues in concept execution. Disadvantages all include “groupthink, decisions that do not respond to changes and contingencies and no innovative ideas.”(managetheworld)

There is a reason that comfort zones become uncomfortable if you are contemplating a start-up. Your immediate circle of human capital is a comfortable and very familiar place, but as your company evolves into the vision, this easy place unfolds to an intersection of hard decisions. Personal relationships will be challenged unless there is a clear plan with boundaries from the outset. It is better to have these conversations before all parties say yes, than months down the road and you have to make decisions where they will no longer be a part of the venture.

Jones, Louise. “Homogeneous Vs. Heterogeneous Teams.” Retrieved September 19, 2016, from

Homogenous vs. Heterogeneous team. (July, 9, 2011). Retrieved September 18, 2016, from

Wasserman, Noam. (2012) The Founder’s Dilemmas. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

3 thoughts on “Benefits and Risks of Homogenous Teams”

  1. Hi Michelle, I agree with you about how homogeneous teams can definitely be a utopia of like minds. Although, these groups can be very productive because they can work together like an oiled machine at times. They may be similar in their ideas and have a difficult time getting different ideas flowing , but the time they save can be crucial for the success of a new business. Enjoyed your post, thank you.

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