The Effects of Faultline Solo Splits on Relationship Conflict Asymmetry and Performance
39 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2008
Date Written: 2007
In this paper, we introduce the concept of faultline solo splits. Faultline solo splits occur when a demographic dividing line in a group separates a single dissimilar group member from a larger subgroup of demographically similar members, as opposed to separating two dissimilar subgroups as has been examined in past faultline research. We examine how faultline solo splits impact within team differences in conflict and performance in two studies. In the field study, we found that faultline solo members had more negative experiences than other group members who were part of a subgroup. Faultline solo members experienced higher, asymmetric levels of relationship conflict and lower levels of perceived performance. In the laboratory experiment, we showed that this effect holds only for low status solo members. Low status solo members had more asymmetric conflict expectations and lower cognitive performance. We also found members of high status subgroups to experience similar effects, suggesting that 'too many cooks in the kitchen' may be as negative an experience for high status subgroup members as the experience as being a low status solo member.
Keywords: faultlines, conflict, diversity
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