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Decision diversion in diverse teams: Findings from inside a corporate boardroom

Harvey, S; Currall, SC; Hammer, T; (2017) Decision diversion in diverse teams: Findings from inside a corporate boardroom. Academy of Management Discoveries , 3 (4) 10.5465/amd.2015.0129. Green open access

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Abstract

Using qualitative data from a 5-year participant observation study conducted inside the corporate board of a publicly-held company, we discovered what happened when team composition changed to increase the diversity of perspectives and interests represented on the team. Based on board meeting transcripts over the 5-year period, we observed that a change in team composition was followed by a process we label decision diversion, a dysfunctional process in which the team replaced its goal of effective task performance with negotiating the interests of subgroup members. A key insight of our study is that this process unfolded as team members attempted to engage in effective task-based information analysis and decision-making. Our study suggests that the traditional assumptions underlying the understanding of team composition may be insufficient. We provide alternative explanations for the origins of the dynamics of decision diversion in teams. In their search for the microprocesses through which diverse team members interact with one another, Harvey, Currall, and Hammer discover a process they call decision diversion: the team’s replacement of its goal of effective task performance with negotiating the interests of subgroup members. This discovery emerges from the in-depth, longitudinal study of the meetings of a corporate board. Quoting one of the referees, “the interesting insight is that increases in the diversity of perspectives and interests represented on the board required processing and integrating large amounts of complex information which the board failed to do, resulting in decision diversion.” This finding challenges some established assumptions, and its implications for our understanding of team composition suggest new questions for research on team diversity.

Type: Article
Title: Decision diversion in diverse teams: Findings from inside a corporate boardroom
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.5465/amd.2015.0129
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.5465/amd.2015.0129
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > UCL School of Management
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10061836
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