As first reported in WIRED, today Lincoln Network, a Bold partner and the leading right-of-center technology group in Silicon Valley, released the full findings of its pilot survey of nearly 400 tech employees on how they perceive the industry’s openness to different political ideologies. The survey was previewed on Fox Business by Bold Founder Carrie Sheffield.
The most disturbing discovery was how Google’s response to James Damore’s “Diversity Memo” has already discouraged openness. Last year, Google condemned and fired Damore, a senior software engineer, after the viral public response to his internally-published memo. Damore is now suing Google for bias. When we asked our survey respondents if Google’s response has made them more or less comfortable sharing ideological viewpoints with colleagues, 47 percent replied “less.”
The impact on different ideological groups was starker: 70 percent of self-identified “very conservative” respondents, 64 percent of “conservatives,” and 66 percent of “libertarians” were “less” comfortable. Even 46 percent of moderates were less comfortable. By contrast, 13 percent of liberals and 26 percent of “very liberal” respondents felt more comfortable sharing their views.
“This survey is just the starting point for a broader national conversation Lincoln Network is facilitating to improve work environments, which in turn improves company profitability,” said Garrett Johnson, co-founder and Executive Director of Lincoln Network. “By treating employees with tolerance and respecting differing viewpoints, this allows employees to be more fully invested in their team.”
Our online survey ran for several weeks in December, receiving 387 responses. All respondents work for a Silicon Valley tech firm. Via telephone and in person, we also interviewed 23 employees from across the ideological spectrum at Google, Facebook, Apple, Salesforce, Uber, LinkedIn, and smaller start-ups.
Online survey respondents were ideologically diverse: 22 percent identified as “conservative” or “very conservative”; 29 percent “liberal” or “very liberal”; 24 percent “libertarian”; and 16 percent “moderate.” Interestingly, 67 percent described their workplace as “liberal” or “very liberal.” This includes 75 percent of self-identified liberals and 70 percent of self-identified conservatives. Only 1.5 percent of total respondents viewed their workplace as “conservative” or “very conservative.”
Innovation thrives when diverse perspectives are freely spoken. Silicon Valley is a catalyst for America, a place where magic happens every day. But to continue thriving, it must face a daunting reality: It’s alienating a significant talent pool.
To help create productive solutions for this growing problem, Lincoln will be convening open-minded conversations among tech professionals from across the ideological spectrum. Silicon Valley is America’s beacon of innovation. Without free expression of ideas from innovators with diverse viewpoints, however, we risk stifling the next generation of breakthroughs.
To see full Lincoln Network survey results on viewpoint diversity in Silicon Valley, click here. For more information on the survey, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Lincoln Network is a publicity partner of Bold TV. Watch more about Lincoln on Bold TV here.*
Bold is a digital television news network building a more perfect union. At Bold, we believe technology empowers social good and harness this power to bridge social divides. We believe “Beloved Community” exists here and now, and we build it each day.