Uncertainty in diverse teams

Hans van Dijk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientific

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Abstract

This chapter advances an uncertainty perspective to better understand and address the challenges of enhancing performance and inclusion in diverse teams. Decades of research on diversity in teams has spawned very useful insights, but is also riddled with inconclusive findings. Because diversity research tends to rely on and recycle the same theories, this article proposes that a better understanding of diversity can be fostered by applying a different perspective. In considering diversity as enhancing uncertainty and corresponding anxiety, this article proposes that diversity causes members to manage uncertainty by relying on cognitive shortcuts to make inferences about each other, which is likely to yield inaccurate attributions of intentions and competence and can harm performance. Moreover, in trying to create certainty, diverse and majority team members are likely to behave in conflicting and antagonizing ways, which harms inclusion. As such, the uncertainty perspective provides a novel understanding of the perceptions, behaviors, and corresponding dynamics that shape the performance of diverse teams and members’ experienced levels of inclusion. In suggesting that perceptions and experiences of uncertainty and anxiety underlie processes and outcomes in diverse teams, the uncertainty perspective also offers a number of suggestions to manage diversity-infused uncertainty and enhance team performance as well as inclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Uncertainty Management in Work Organizations
EditorsM.A. Griffin, G. Grote
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780197501061
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • DIVERSITY
  • INCLUSION
  • UNCERTAINTY
  • TEAM
  • WORK GROUPS

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