Diversity in work team members has been found, in a number of studies, to yield countervailing effects: on the one hand, it promotes creativity and innovation, but on the other it leads to increased conflict, lower member satisfaction, and reduced willingness to collaborate. It is not surprising that organizations have a hard time managing and sustaining innovative teams. One reason diversity may promote successful innovation is that people who are different from each other contribute different knowledge and different approaches to team deliberations. Thought diversity has therefore become of particular interest to team researchers and managers. In this study, the thought diversity, innovation, and satisfaction of cross-functional R&D teams will be examined in light of various types of group processes and leadership behaviors using a survey methodology. The survey instruments have already been successfully pre-tested and the sample of teams is large and well suited to the questions at hand. The survey illicits systematic information about multiple dimensions of the thought diversity, group processes, and leadership approaches associated with a team. It also includes multidimensional assessment items related to team performance and collaboration. The resulting dataset will allow the researchers to systematically identify and assess patterns common to more and less successful teams. The results of this work should be of interest to practicing managers, not just organizational scholars. The findings should shed light on: (a) how group processes in increasingly complex teams can be managed; (b) how the positive contributions of diversity can be harnessed to spur productive creativity and innovation within teams; and (c) how leadership strategies within groups can bridge the contradictory effects of diversity and group processes, such that mutual learning and thought diversity are both possible within innovation teams.
|Effective start/end date||3/1/09 → 2/29/12|
- National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))