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Demographic Diversity and Faultlines: The Compositional DYnamics of Organizational Groups

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In this article we address issues of diversity within organizational groups by discussing and summarizing previous approaches and by introducing a new variable-faultlines-which depends on the alignment of individual member characteristics. By analyzing a group's faultlines, we focus attention on the underlying patterns of group member characteristics, which can be an important determinant of subgroup conflict, particularly when the group's task is related to one of its faultlines. We discuss the dynamics of faultlines from the early to later stages of a group's development and show how they may be strongest and most likely when diversity of individual member characteristics is moderate.
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... Faultlines are hypothetical dividing lines splitting a team into one or more relatively homogeneous subgroups [7,8]. Studies on the effects of faultline dynamics to explain theoretical underpinnings and effects of faultlines appear in sociology literature [9,10]. ...
... Group faultlines usually have a detrimental effect on team-level outcomes [8,10]. Lau and Murnighan (1998) introduced the initial faultline theoretical model [7,13]. They based the theoretical reasoning on social categorization and social identity approaches [14]. ...
... Group faultlines usually have a detrimental effect on team-level outcomes [8,10]. Lau and Murnighan (1998) introduced the initial faultline theoretical model [7,13]. They based the theoretical reasoning on social categorization and social identity approaches [14]. ...
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The definition of society is tight with human group-level behavior. Group faultlines defined as hypothetical lines splitting groups into homogeneous subgroups based on members’ attributes have been proposed as a theoretical method to identify conflicts within groups. For instance, crusades and women’s rights protests are the consequences of strong faultlines in societies with diverse cultures. Measuring the presence and strength of faultlines represents an important challenge. Existing literature resorts in questionnaires as traditional tool to find group-level behavioral attributes and thus identify faultlines. However, questionnaire data usually come with limitations and biases, especially for large-scale human group-level research. On top of that, questionnaires limit faultline research due to the possibility of dishonest answers, unconscientious responses, and differences in understanding and interpretation. In this paper, we propose a new methodology for measuring faultlines in large-scale groups, which leverages data readily available from online social networks’ marketing platforms. Our methodology overcomes the limitations of traditional methods to measure group-level attributes and group faultlines at scale. To prove the applicability of our methodology, we analyzed the faultlines between people living in Spain, grouped by geographical regions. We collected data on 67,270 interest topics from Facebook users living in Spain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. We computed existing metrics to measure faultlines’ distance and strenght using our data to identify potential faultlines existing among Spanish regions. The results reveal that the strongest faultlines in Spain belong to Spanish Islands (the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands), Catalonia, and Basque regions. These findings are aligned with the historical secessionist movements and cultural diversity reports supporting the validity of our methodology.
... Any principled notion of equity obviously cannot exclude groups whose defining identity eludes simple description. Indeed, there is increasing evidence that it is precisely those falling in the intersectional faultlines between traditionally recognized groups that may be most vulnerable [8][9][10][11][12] . ...
... A standard feed-forward neural network model was used for the regression task. Three hidden layers of neurons were used, with the number of neurons in each layer being (16,16,8), yielding 753 parameters. The ReLU activation function was used at each hidden layer. ...
... An autoencoder consists of a two-part neural network, where the first "encoder" network compresses the data into a low-dimensional space, and the second "decoder" network attempts to reconstruct the original data from the compressed representation. The autoencoder architecture consisted of two hidden layers with (8,4) neurons before a "bottleneck" layer of two neurons (the compressed data) and a mirror-image decoder network. The mean squared error loss was used to calculate reconstruction error. ...
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Equity is widely held to be fundamental to the ethics of healthcare. In the context of clinical decision-making, it rests on the comparative fidelity of the intelligence -- evidence-based or intuitive -- guiding the management of each individual patient. Though brought to recent attention by the individuating power of contemporary machine learning, such epistemic equity arises in the context of any decision guidance, whether traditional or innovative. Yet no general framework for its quantification, let alone assurance, currently exists. Here we formulate epistemic equity in terms of model fidelity evaluated over learnt multi-dimensional representations of identity crafted to maximise the captured diversity of the population, introducing a comprehensive framework for Representational Ethical Model Calibration. We demonstrate use of the framework on large-scale multimodal data from UK Biobank to derive diverse representations of the population, quantify model performance, and institute responsive remediation. We offer our approach as a principled solution to quantifying and assuring epistemic equity in healthcare, with applications across the research, clinical, and regulatory domains.
... We posit that, as the level of female women directors with family ties rises from the optimal point to reach higher levels, the strength of family faultlines might also increase and thereby negatively impact firm performance, given that conflicts with other nonfamily sub-groups become more prevalent and more acute. Following Lau (2018) and van Knippenberg et al. (2010), faultline strength impacts firm communication and exacerbates task and emotional conflict. Family values such as nepotism, altruism towards relatives or preserving harmony also drive family women to take decisions which may debilitate a family firm's financial interests (Singal and Gerde 2015). ...
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Using a sample of 1134 firm-year observations of non-financial family firms listed on the Spanish stock market in the period 2003–2020, we explore how women directors affect company performance, distinguishing between family and non-family female members on the board. We believe there might be faultlines between family and non-family women on boards that may well impair performance due to differences in agency conflicts and socioemotional links with the family firm. As the number of female family directors grows, we reveal that conflicts with non-family sub-groups become more prevalent, impairing firm performance. Opening boards to non-family women does, however, seem to be an effective way of enhancing firm performance when there is a critical mass of female directors. The results are robust to alternative measures of board gender diversity and different econometric specifications.
... The splintering tends to more pronounced when a subgroup members' backgrounds align along more than one attribute (i.e., nationality and gender in common, or nationality and functional experience in common) (Lau & Murnighan, 1998), such as if in the hypothetical international team introduced above the Americans were also all marketing specialists, while the Germans were also all engineers. In these instances, the separation between the subgroups -also called a faultline -is stronger. ...
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The concept of “ethnocentrism” has been developed in sociologymore than a century ago (Sumner, 1906), in order to distinguish between in-groups (those groups with which an individual identifies) and outgroups (those groups with which an individual does not identify). Its psychosocial nature opened the way to a wide array of applications in international marketing and international business, and it has been defined as ‘the universal proclivity for people to view their own group as the center of the universe, to interpret other social units from the perspective of their own group, and to reject persons who are culturally dissimilar while blindly accepting those who are culturally like themselves’ (Shimp& Sharma, 1987: 280).
... However, because existing research suggests an inherent tension between gig and standard workers (e.g., Davis-Blake et al. 2003;De Stefano et al., 2019;Pearce, 1993), we suggest that researchers employ the growing literature on team faultlines to understand how gig workers may be able to effectively adapt to these dynamics (Lau & Murnighan, 2005). A faultline is a perceived dividing line that separates group members into subgroups based upon some characteristic (Lau & Murnighan, 1998), such as being an organizational insider versus outsider, which divides permanent workers and gig workers. When active, faultlines are often deleterious to group effectiveness (Jehn & Bezrukova, 2010;Thatcher & Patel, 2012) (Homan et al., 2007). ...
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This paper reviews the individual and organizational implications of gig work using the emerging psychological contract between gig workers and employing organizations as a lens. We first examine extant definitions of gig work and provide a conceptually clear definition. We then outline why both organizations and individuals may prefer gig work, offer an in-depth analysis of the ways in which the traditional psychological contract has been altered for both organizations and gig workers, and detail the impact of that new contract on gig workers. Specifically, organizations deconstruct jobs into standardized tasks and gig workers adapt by engaging in job crafting and work identity management. Second, organizational recruitment of gig workers alters the level and type of commitment gig workers feel towards an employing organization. Third, organizations use a variety of non-traditional practices to manage gig workers (e.g., including by digital algorithms) and gig workers adapt by balancing autonomy and dependence. Fourth, compensation tends to be project-based and typically lacks benefits, causing gig workers to learn to be a “jack-of-all trades” and learn to deal with pay volatility. Fifth, organizational training of gig workers is limited and they adapt by engaging in self-development. Sixth, gig workers develop alternative professional and social relationships to work in blended teams assembled by organizations and/or adapt to social isolation. Challenges associated with these practices and possible solutions are discussed and we develop propositions for testing in future research. Finally, we highlight specific areas for further exploration in future research.
... Last but not least, research on faultlines (which considers how members' multiple identities align to create subgroups) suggests that out-group effects may vary depending on group composition (Lau & Murnighan, 1998; Rico, Molleman, Sanchez-Manzanares, & Van der Vegt, 2007). Note that most faultline research is done at the group level, leaving room for more nuanced models that reflect advances in social identification research and take into account individual experiences within groups. ...
Article
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We used self-categorization theory--which proposes that people may use social characteristics such as age, race, or organizational membership to define psychological groups and to promote a positive self-identity--to develop and test hypotheses about the effects of demographic diversity in organizations on an individual's psychological and behavioral attachment to the organization. Individual-level commitment, attendance behavior, and tenure intentions were examined as a function of the individual's degree of difference from others on such social categories as age, tenure, education, sex, and race. We expected that the effect of being different would have different effects for minorities (i.e., women and nonwhites) than for members of the majority (i.e., men and whites). Analyses of a sample of 151 groups comprising 1,705 respondents showed that increasing work-unit diversity was associated with lower levels of psychological attachment among group members. Nonsymmetrical effects were found for sex and race, with whites and men showing larger negative effects for increased unit heterogeneity than nonwhites and women. The results of the study call into question the fundamental assumption that underlies much of race and gender research in organizations--that the effect of heterogeneity is always felt by the minority.