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When birds flock too close together: Work style differences among socially-similar members disrupt team performance
We adopt a micro-dynamics approach to teams and suggest that relational disruptions between socially-similar members are more harmful than disruptions between socially-dissimilar members. We focus on the emergence of work style differences among team members as a potential source of relationship disruption. We suggest that socially-similar dyads exhibit less information exchange than socially-dissimilar dyads when their work styles differ, but not when they align. Furthermore, we emphasize the role of expectations and theorize that socially-similar dyads will only exhibit less information exchange than socially-dissimilar dyads when work style differences are inconsistent with expectations of work style alignment. Finally, we suggest that levels of dyadic information exchange have implications for team processes and performance. We test our hypotheses across an experiment manipulating levels of social similarity (i.e., college major) and a two-wave field investigation of dyadic interactions examining the effect of social similarity (i.e., gender) in audit teams.