Being Different, but Close: How and When Faultlines Enhance Team Learning

J. Rupert*, R.J. R.J. Blomme, M. Dragt, K. Jehn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Web of Science)


Although work‐group diversity may have potential positive impact on team learning and performance, the way diversity characteristics are distributed, influences whether teams exploit this potential. In this quantitative field study on 52 teams in two health‐care organizations, we examined the relationship between informational faultlines (the demographic alignment of the informational characteristics of the members in a group, creating relatively homogeneous subgroups) and team learning. We used a moderated‐mediation model to test the interplay between faultline strength (the alignment of characteristics) and distance (between subgroups, based on the characteristics) on task and process learning. We hypothesized and found that strong but close subgroups stimulate task and process learning in teams. This study also provides evidence that transactive memory is a mediator in the relationship between the interaction of faultline strength and distance with task and process learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-290
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Management Review
Issue number4
Early online date16 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2016


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