Task conflict and idea sharing in interdisciplinary research groups: Diversity salience matters

Gergana Todorova, Matthew R. Brake, Laurie Weingart

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although interdisciplinary research attracts more and more interest and effort, the benefits of this type of research are not always realized. To understand when expertise diversity will have positive or negative effects on research efforts, we examine how expertise diversity and diversity salience affect task conflict and idea sharing in interdisciplinary research groups. Using data from 148 researchers in 29 academic research labs, we provide evidence on the importance of social categorization states (i.e., expertise diversity salience) in understanding both the information processes (i.e., task conflict) and the creativity processes (i.e., idea sharing) in groups with expertise diversity. We show that expertise diversity can either increase or decrease task conflict depending on the salience of group members' expertise in a curvilinear way: at a medium level of expertise diversity the moderating effect of diversity salience is strongest. Furthermore, enriched group work design can strengthen the benefits of task conflict for creative idea sharing only when expertise diversity salience is low. Finally, we show that idea sharing predicts group performance in interdisciplinary academic research labs over and above task conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management 2011 Annual Meeting - West Meets East: Enlightening. Balancing. Transcending, AOM 2011
PublisherAcademy of Management
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event71st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - West Meets East: Enlightening, Balancing, Transcending, AOM 2011 - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Aug 12 2011Aug 16 2011

Other

Other71st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - West Meets East: Enlightening, Balancing, Transcending, AOM 2011
CountryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX
Period8/12/118/16/11

Keywords

  • Conflict
  • Diversity
  • Field research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Industrial relations

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    Todorova, G., Brake, M. R., & Weingart, L. (2011). Task conflict and idea sharing in interdisciplinary research groups: Diversity salience matters. In Academy of Management 2011 Annual Meeting - West Meets East: Enlightening. Balancing. Transcending, AOM 2011 Academy of Management. https://doi.org/10.5464/AMBPP.2011.218.a