The effects of diversity on intragroup conflict and performance in the U.S. Army Reserve Officer['s] Training Corps (ROTC)
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Research on the effects of diversity on intragroup conflict and group performance has yielded mixed results. Recent research has shown diversity to be detrimental to group performance when it is based on superficial aspects of the group members such as gender, age or ethnicity but beneficial when diversity is based on members' task relevant aspects such as education or work experience (e.g., Jehn, Northcraft & Neale, 1999; Pelled, Eisenhardt, & Xin, 1999). Intragroup conflict has been found to be detrimental to group performance when the conflict is focused on emotional interactions among group members but beneficial when the conflict is focused on different opinions of how to solve the groups' problems (e.g., Jehn et al, 1999; Pelled et al, 1999). However, most of the studies on diversity, conflict and performance have been conducted in business setting and the findings have not been evaluated in other settings. The current study investigated the effects of social category diversity, academic ability diversity, prior military experience diversity and value diversity on intragroup conflict (relationship, task and process) and performance in groups composed of ROTC cadets during Advanced Camp 2001, a five-week assessment course for Army cadets. Confirmatory factor analysis revealed that for this sample, there were only two factors, relationship and task conflict. Regression analyses revealed that value diversity was positively related to intragroup conflict and social category diversity was positively related to group performance.