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Knowledge Diversity, Turnover, and Organizational-Unit Productivity: An Empirical Analysis in a Knowledge-Intensive Context



We examine the role of knowledge diversity among unit members on an organizational unit's productivity. Utilizing a proprietary data set of corrective maintenance tasks from a large software-services firm, we investigate the impact of two key within-unit diversity metrics: interpersonal diversity and intrapersonal diversity. We analyze the independent influence of interpersonal diversity and the interactive influence of interpersonal diversity and intrapersonal diversity on organizational unit's productivity. Finally, we examine how diversity moderates productivity of an organizational unit when employee turnover occurs. Our analysis reveals the following key insights: (a) interpersonal diversity has an inverted U-shaped effect on organizational unit's productivity; (b) intrapersonal diversity moderates the influence of interpersonal diversity on organizational-unit productivity; (c) at higher levels of interpersonal diversity, rate of decrease in productivity of the organizational unit due to turnover is higher. We discuss the resulting theoretical and managerial insights associated with these findings.