Diversity in social context: A multi-attribute, multilevel analysis of team diversity and sales performance

Susan E. Jackson, Aparna Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

220 Scopus citations


Prior research on demographic diversity in work teams has yielded mixed results, with the effects of team diversity ranging from positive to neutral to negative. This article shows that an improved understanding of the relationship between team diversity and team performance can be reached by considering the combined effects of team diversity and demographic social context. We hypothesized that three aspects of the social context would moderate the effects of demographic diversity on performance: the combination of diversity dimensions within a team, the demographic characteristics of the team manager, and the demography of the work unit. In a study of 365 sales teams distributed across 42 sales districts in a large U.S. company, we found support for the general proposition that the demographic social context moderates relationships between team diversity and team performance. We discuss the practical implications of these results as well as the research implications for future studies of team diversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-702
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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