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Surface- and deep-level dissimilarity effects on social integration and individual effectiveness related outcomes in work groups: A meta-analytic integration

Authors


  • Michael Riketta died unexpectedly in October 2008. He was a lecturer at the Work and Organisational Psychology Group, Aston Business School, Aston University, UK.

Correspondence should be addressed to Yves R. F. Guillaume, Work and Organisational Psychology Group, Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK (e-mail: y.r.f.guillaume@aston.ac.uk).

Abstract

Prior research linking demographic (e.g., age, ethnicity/race, gender, and tenure) and underlying psychological (e.g., personality, attitudes, and values) dissimilarity variables to individual group member's work-related outcomes produced mixed and contradictory results. To account for these findings, this study develops a contingency framework and tests it using meta-analytic and structural equation modelling techniques. In line with this framework, results showed different effects of surface-level (i.e., demographic) dissimilarity and deep-level (i.e., underlying psychological) dissimilarity on social integration, and ultimately on individual effectiveness related outcomes (i.e., turnover, task, and contextual performance). Specifically, surface-level dissimilarity had a negative effect on social integration under low but not under high team interdependence. In return, social integration fully mediated the negative relationship between surface-level dissimilarity and individual effectiveness related outcomes under low interdependence. In contrast, deep-level dissimilarity had a negative effect on social integration, which was stronger under high and weaker under low team interdependence. Contrary to our predictions, social integration did not mediate the negative relationship between deep-level dissimilarity and individual effectiveness related outcomes but suppressed positive direct effects of deep-level dissimilarity on individual effectiveness related outcomes. Possible explanations for these counterintuitive findings are discussed.

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