How attitude certainty tempers the effects of faultlines in demographically diverse teams

André Grow, Andreas Flache
2011 Computational and mathematical organization theory  
Lau and Murnighan's faultline theory suggests that strong demographic faultlines can undermine cohesion in work teams. A strong faultline splits a team into internally homogeneous but mutually dissimilar subgroups based on demographic characteristics. Social influence processes within these subgroups then lead to the polarization of team members' attitudes along the divisions imposed by the faultline. However, faultline theory hitherto neglects effects of attitude certainty. Research shows that
more » ... the certainty with which individuals hold their attitudes affects social influence processes. We extend theoretical faultline research by integrating attitude certainty. For this, we incorporate the interplay of the dynamics of attitude certainty and social influence into a formal model of demographic faultline effects developed by Flache and Mäs. Computational experiments suggest a moderation effect. Demographic faultlines only affect team cohesion if attitude certainty is low. We discuss implications for future research. . He is currently a PhD student at the Department of Sociology of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, and a member of the research school ICS (Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology). His research interests are mainly in social status processes in organizations, team behavior, and computational social and organization theory. For more information see: http://www.rug.nl/staff/a.grow/index. Andreas Flache is Professor of Sociology at
doi:10.1007/s10588-011-9087-5 fatcat:cbyv3q75c5dsflaa2rpbetpepe