Being Different, But Close: How and When Faultlines Enhance Team Learning

16 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2017 Last revised: 12 May 2020

See all articles by Joyce Rupert

Joyce Rupert

Leiden University - Social and Organizational Psychology

Rob Blomme

Nyenrode Business University; Humanistic Management Network

Maria J. Dragt

Nyenrode Business University

Karen A. Jehn

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Business School

Date Written: Winter 2016

Abstract

Although work‐group diversity may have potential positive impact on team learning and performance, the way diversity characteristics are distributed, influences whether teams exploit this potential. In this quantitative field study on 52 teams in two health‐care organizations, we examined the relationship between informational faultlines (the demographic alignment of the informational characteristics of the members in a group, creating relatively homogeneous subgroups) and team learning. We used a moderated‐mediation model to test the interplay between faultline strength (the alignment of characteristics) and distance (between subgroups, based on the characteristics) on task and process learning. We hypothesized and found that strong but close subgroups stimulate task and process learning in teams. This study also provides evidence that transactive memory is a mediator in the relationship between the interaction of faultline strength and distance with task and process learning.

Keywords: faultline strength, faultline distance, transactive memory, process learning, task learning

Suggested Citation

Rupert, Joyce and Blomme, Robert J. and Dragt, Maria J. and Jehn, Karen A., Being Different, But Close: How and When Faultlines Enhance Team Learning (Winter 2016). European Management Review, Vol. 13, Issue 4, pp. 275-290, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2893984 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/emre.12083

Joyce Rupert (Contact Author)

Leiden University - Social and Organizational Psychology ( email )

Leiden, 2300 RA
Netherlands

Robert J. Blomme

Nyenrode Business University ( email )

Straatweg 25
P.O. Box 130
Breukelen, 3620 AC
Netherlands

Humanistic Management Network

Sankt Gallen
Switzerland

Maria J. Dragt

Nyenrode Business University

Straatweg 25
P.O. Box 130
Breukelen, 3620 AC
Netherlands

Karen A. Jehn

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Business School ( email )

200 Leicester Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053 3186
Australia

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