چه وقت و چگونه تفاوت ها مهم هستند؟ اکتشاف تشابه درک در تیم
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|20093||2008||19 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 107, Issue 1, September 2008, Pages 41–59
In this paper, we directly assess perceived similarity—the degree to which members view themselves as having few differences—because we want to understand when teams notice diversity on various member characteristics and how they interpret it. Our results indicate social category diversity was related to initial estimates of both perceived social category similarity (SCS) and perceived work style similarity (WSS). And, whereas perceived SCS did not change over time, perceived WSS decreased significantly over the period of our study. We suggest this change in perceived WSS can be explained by an information-processing/decision-making framework. We found informational diversity was positively related to conflict in teams, and in turn conflict was negatively related to subsequent estimates of perceived WSS. However, informational diversity was positively related to information sharing in teams, which in turn was positively related to subsequent estimates of perceived WSS. Finally, these updated estimates of perceived WSS affected subgroup formation and team process effectiveness. We discuss how our research explores the subjective experience of diversity by team members, provides a dynamic view of the relationship between diversity and team outcomes, and informs emerging theory about the activation of faultlines in teams.
Although past empirical research has invoked perceptions of difference as a theoretical mechanism to understand the effects of diversity in teams (Riordan, 2000 and Williams and O’Reilly, 1998), few studies have actually included a measure of such perceptions. Given that the psychological importance and substantive effect of diversity in teams is thought to be carried by perceptions (Ashforth & Mael, 1989; cf. Harrison, Price, Gavin, & Florey, 2002), and that how team members react to and manage their diversity depends on the extent to which member characteristics are salient ( Earley & Mosakowski, 2000), researchers ought to directly assess perceptions of difference to better understand how member characteristics influence team behaviors and outcomes ( Lawrence, 1997 and Riordan, 2000). If unnoticed by members, differences on a particular characteristic are unlikely to influence team behavior. Therefore, not all diversity present in a team should be assumed to impact team outcomes. In this paper, we directly assess perceived similarity—the degree to which members view themselves as having few differences—because we want to understand the extent to which member characteristics are noticed and influence team outcomes. In that sense, we are interested in how teams perceive and interpret diversity on various characteristics. Considering perceived similarity over time may better illuminate the conditions under which, and the mechanisms through which, diversity influences team outcomes. Importantly, we do not view perceived similarity as a proxy or substitute for measuring diversity on member characteristics. Rather, we consider perceptions of difference as part of the process by which diversity is translated into thought and action in teams. Studying perceived similarity not only allows us to empirically assess a key theoretical mechanism—the subjective experience of diversity by team members—by which differences in member characteristics affect team behavior and outcomes, but also allows for a more dynamic theory of diversity in teams (Mannix & Neale, 2005). Given that we already have evidence that the effects of diversity vary over time (Watson, Kumar, & Michaelson, 1993), that the effects of diversity on conflict are bounded by team longevity (Pelled, 1996), and that different types of diversity are not revealed simultaneously (Harrison et al., 2002), we should not expect the impact of diversity in teams to be static. Any social process theorized to intervene between diversity and team outcomes should capture and explain inter-temporal variation in this relationship. As a theoretical mechanism, perceived similarity satisfies these necessary conditions because it is a dynamic, “emergent state” in teams ( Marks, Mathieu, & Zaccaro, 2001), generated by a cognitive “abstraction process” ( Park & Judd, 1990). More precisely, perceived similarity is influenced not only by the relative distribution of member characteristics, but also by new information about individual differences and preferences revealed during team interactions. In this way, perceived similarity is malleable, and studying it enables researchers to move beyond a static view of diversity in teams. To develop a framework describing how perceived similarity forms, changes, and influences team outcomes, we adopt both a social categorization and an information-processing/decision-making perspective about diversity in teams. We assert that social categorization, conflict, and information sharing operate to influence perceived similarity, albeit at different points in a team’s tenure. Traditionally, the literatures on social categorization and information processing, as they relate to team diversity, have developed in separate domains (van Knippenberg, De Dreu, & Homan, 2004). Integrating these domains is likely to yield explanatory power and nuance to the conditions under which diversity improves and restricts team effectiveness (van Knippenberg et al., 2004 and Dahlin et al., 2005), particularly as they predict formation and change in perceived similarity. Indeed, it may be “impossible to understand the diversity-process-performance link” without integrating the social categorization and information processing approaches (Mannix & Neale, 2005, 43). Our work not only integrates these two approaches, but also extends each of them, by examining teams in an organizational context when most information processing research has been conducted in a laboratory, and by focusing on psychological and process measures that have not commonly been included in the social categorization research (Mannix & Neale, 2005). Before turning to our theory and hypothesis development, we want to clarify the types of diversity we examine in this study, because researchers often fail to clearly identify what they mean by diversity (Harrison and Sin, 2006 and Harrison and Klein, 2007). In this study, we investigated a parsimonious set of member characteristics that were relevant to our theoretical framework (Harrison et al., 1998 and Pelled et al., 1999) because it is neither methodologically possible nor theoretically desirable to study all possible sources of team diversity in any given study. Since our theoretical framework builds on theories of social categorization and information-processing/decision-making in teams, we studied member characteristics associated with task-unrelated, social category diversity (Jackson et al., 1995 and Milliken and Martins, 1996) and task-related, informational diversity (Jehn, Northcraft, & Neale, 1999). We also considered the relevance of specific member characteristics to our research context (Harrison et al., 1998 and Pelled et al., 1999), in which semester-long, full-time Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) student teams worked together on several group projects for multiple classes. The member characteristics we included in our study were both salient to the MBA student population and relevant to the tasks required of these MBA “core” teams.4 For example, international MBA students are “noticed” and typically referred to as a single category. (e.g., “The international students” on our team do not speak up.) Likewise, sex is salient in this context because women typically make up only about 30% of full time MBA students in U.S. full-time MBA programs (Graduate Management Admission Council, 2007). Therefore, we examined nationality, ethnicity, and sex as representative of social category diversity because these member characteristics are distinctive and salient within this particular social context (Mannix & Neale, 2005). We also examined undergraduate major and work experience because these are indicators of informational diversity that was particularly meaningful to the tasks performed by MBA teams (Dahlin et al., 2005). For example, MBA students with variety (Harrison & Klein, 2007) in undergraduate majors (e.g., engineering and English) may reside in different ‘thought worlds’ and have interpretive barriers that hinder the communication and synthesis of their ideas (Dougherty, 1992). Similarly, MBA students with significant prior work experience are more accustomed to working in teams, better able to sift through course material to focus on what is most critical, and use a wider variety of problem solving approaches. As a whole, we are confident that the member characteristics included in our study are relevant to both our theoretical framework and our research context. Finally, it is also important to note that we expect teams will form distinct judgments for perceived similarity about readily apparent ascribed demographic differences, and for perceived similarity about cognitive and behavioral differences. We, therefore, refer to two types of perceived similarity—social category similarity (SCS) which includes nationality and ethnicity, and sex, and work style similarity (WSS) which refers to communication style and work ethic, for example. In the next sections we outline our theoretical framework.