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To Disclose or Not to Disclose: The Ironic Effects of the Disclosure of Personal Information About Ethnically Distinct Newcomers to a Team

Abstract

Recently, scholars have argued that disclosure of personal information is an effective mechanism for building high-quality relationships. However, personal information can focus attention on differences in demographically diverse teams. In an experiment using 37 undergraduate teams, we examine how sharing personal information by ethnically similar and ethnically distinct newcomers to a team affects team perceptions, performance, and behavior. Our findings indicate that the disclosure of personal information by ethnically distinct newcomers improves team performance. However, the positive impact on team performance comes at a cost to the newcomers, who are perceived as less competent by others and experience heightened social discomfort in team interactions. Ironically, what benefits the ethnically diverse team may undermine its ethnically distinct members. This study highlights how the management of diversity may sometimes require making trade-offs between individual interests and those of the team.

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Crane, B., Thomas-Hunt, M. & Kesebir, S. To Disclose or Not to Disclose: The Ironic Effects of the Disclosure of Personal Information About Ethnically Distinct Newcomers to a Team. J Bus Ethics 158, 909–921 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-017-3714-0

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Keywords

  • Teams
  • Diversity
  • Newcomer
  • Ethnicity
  • Intervention
  • Social dilemma
  • Public good