COMPUTATIONAL AND MATHEMATICAL ORGANIZATION THEORY vol:17 issue:2 pages:196-224
Lau and Murnighan’s faultline theory suggests that strong demographic faultlines can undermine cohesion in work teams. A strong faultline splits a team into internally homogeneous but mutually dissimilar subgroups based on demographic characteristics. Social influence processes within these subgroups then lead to the polarization of team members’ attitudes along the divisions imposed by the faultline. However, faultline theory hitherto neglects effects of attitude certainty. Research shows that the certainty with which individuals hold their attitudes affects social influence processes. We extend theoretical faultline research by integrating attitude certainty. For this, we incorporate the interplay of the dynamics of attitude certainty and social influence into a formal model of demographic faultline effects developed by Flache and Mäs. Computational experiments suggest a moderation effect. Demographic faultlines only affect team cohesion if attitude certainty is low. We discuss implications for future research.