Teaming Up or Down? A Multisource Study on the Role of Team Identification and Learning in the Team Diversity–Performance Link

Ruth van Veelen*, Elze G. Ufkes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Prior literature paints an incoherent picture on the relationship between team diversity and performance. The current article investigates circumstances under which demographic diversity (gender and nationality) facilitates performance. Based on the categorization–elaboration model, we build a theoretical framework to demonstrate the crucial role of team learning and efficacy as mediators, and team identification as a moderator to understand how and when demographic diversity facilitates team performance. In a cross-sectional study among 72 project teams, data were collected from multiple sources (self-reports, database, and performance assessments) to obtain objective and subjective indices of team diversity and performance. Results from a multigroup structural equation model showed that team diversity facilitated performance for teams with a strong, but not a weak, collective team identity. Second, team diversity facilitated performance through increased team learning and team efficacy only for teams with a strong team identity. Finally, multisource data revealed a different pattern of results for objective and subjective measures. The objective diversity index seemed a more powerful predictor of performance compared with the subjective index, particularly for strongly identifying teams. These findings provide valuable insight for increasingly diversifying organizations, on the circumstances under which team diversity’s potential flourishes. Moreover, it underlines the importance of data triangulation as objective and subjective measures of diversity are conceptually different and show incoherent empirical findings in the diversity–performance link across extant literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-71
Number of pages34
JournalGroup and Organization Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • demographic diversity
  • team efficacy
  • team identification
  • team learning
  • team performance


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