ERIM Research Clinic: Team Diversity



The key question in diversity research is how differences between group members affect work group processes and performance. Over 50 years of research have made clear that diversity can have positive as well as negative effects on performance, but research and practice are still struggling to formulate models that are able to make sense of these diverging effects and that offer clear guidance in how to manage diversity. The Categorization-Elaboration Model (CEM; van Knippenberg, De Dreu, & Homan, 2004) addresses this issue. The CEM proposes that the effects of work group diversity on group performance should be understood in terms of two processes that have independent and interactive effects: elaboration of task-relevant information and social categorization. Diversity may have positive effects on performance to the extent that it engenders the exchange and integration of task-relevant information (elaboration). At the same time, diversity may be detrimental to performance to the extent that it engenders “us-them” distinctions (social categorization) and intergroup biases – especially because these intergroup biases disrupt information elaboration processes. The CEM also identifies the factors on which the occurrence of elaboration and social categorization processes is contingent, factors that may offer clear angles for the management of diversity. In this presentation, I outline the CEM and review recent empirical evidence that supports the model.
Contact information:
Daan van Knippenberg