Does Your Team have Faultlines? Some are Good for Performance.

faultline

Diversity in Teams is good, right? Within research on teams a faultline refers to a divide that separates a team into subgroups and points to diversity. Demographic faultlines have been shown to positively effect information processing and team outcomes. So, this begs the question:

Does your team have faultlines?

In a recent issue of the Strategic Management Journal it is established that some demographic faultlines are good and others are not.

  • Task-related Faultlines refer to differences in educational background and length of organisational tenure;
  • Bio-demographic Faultlines refer to differences in age and nationality.

Research using a longitudinal sample of 2,730 expansion steps made by 61 German Firms shows that task-related faultline strenght increases performance when diversifying; bio-demographic faultline strength decreases it.

This does NOT mean a team should be entirely homogeneous – it does mean we should avoid creating very clear bio-demographic camps (strong faultline strength).

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