The Role of Expertise and Reputation on Perceptions of Conflict and Influence within Groups
21 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2002
Recent research has revealed that the recognition of expertise within groups is essential for group performance. Nevertheless, groups often fail to recognize and capitalize on the expert resources that they contain. In part, such failures may be attributed to the differential manner in which experts and non-experts experience the group environment. In our study we examine the effects of expertise and reputation on group members confidence, influence, perceptions of conflict, and satisfaction. In particular, we find that expert members perceive more task conflict and are less satisfied than non-expert members within groups.
Additionally, despite the fact that expertise increases pre-discussion and post-discussion self-reports of confidence, expertise does not have an effect on others' perceptions of confidence. Experts feel more confident, but are not perceived as more confident than non-experts. A positive performance reputation, however, increases both self-reports of confidence and group members' perceptions of a focal individual's confidence. On the whole, possession of a positive reputation is more useful for experts than non-experts, increasing their influence and reducing their perception of relational conflict more than that of non-expert members. We discuss the implications of our findings for managing the contribution of expertise within groups.
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