I propose a “Body-Centric Theory of Diversity” to help explain the relationship between diversity, stress, and workgroup performance. I theorize that when group members have a fluid stress response to diversity (making them more open and approach oriented), it becomes a catalyst for them to share, consider, and incorporate diverging ideas. When they have a constrictive stress response (which gives rise to social reticence and withdrawal), it inhibits debate, divergent opinions, and the contribution of unique perspectives.
I have also established and found support for a theory of “Hormone-Diversity Fit,” which predicts that groups that are collectively high in testosterone — and thus oriented toward status competitions (i.e., beating other groups) — perform optimally when group diversity is low. In contrast, groups collectively low in testosterone, which should be less oriented toward status competitions and more oriented toward cooperation, experience optimal performance when group diversity is high. In other words, too much collective testosterone maximizes the pains and minimizes the gains of diversity. This research suggests that we should orient groups that are diverse and collectively high in testosterone toward collective goals and cooperative intragroup processes.