Type of Diversity and Subgroup Formation: Implications for Team Composition




Wiggins, Bryan K.

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The group faultline model (Lau & Murnighan, 1998, 2005) suggests that strong faultline groups, in which individuals within a group share several diversity characteristics with one another and not with other members, will lead to greater ingroup/outgroup perceptions than weaker faultline groups, in which all group members share some diversity characteristics and differ on others. Recent research has supported this model at the group level (Lau & Murnighan, 2005; Sawyer et al., 2006; Thatcher et al., 2003). In order to advance this line of research, it is necessary to understand why these differences occur. Discovering where ingroup/outgroup relationships exist within the group is the first step in understanding why faultlines may disrupt group processes. Dyadic level measures of subgroup perceptions (trust and conflict) between individuals differing on nationality and functionality in strong and weaker faultline conditions were collected. Dyadic differences were found based on the demographic context of the group, the number of shared characteristics, and a combination of the two. However, not all dyads exhibited the expected relationships. Differences due to the demographic context of the group, the number of shared diversity characteristics, and the types of diversity characteristics shared are explored as possible reasons why some dyadic relationships, but not others, exhibited the expected ingroup/outgroup relationships.



Diversity, Conflict, Trust, Group faultlines, Virtual teams, Subgroups