The study of diversity in work groups and organizations has become a significant domain of inquiry. However, the overall consensus in this literature seems to be that a direct relationship between diversity and performance-based outcomes is tenuous at best. To break this impasse, we propose a structural-emergence model that emphasizes how the embedding structural context has substantial implications for the very meaning, salience, and content of diversity in teams. We then discuss how emergent processes that are a function of the structural context can take symmetric and asymmetric forms at the level of dyads within the team. In this way we provide a framework that takes into account both top-down and bottom-up effects of diversity in teams. The structural-emergence model also has important implications for how teams may be led and team tasks designed, and it provides avenues to build an actionable agenda for theory and research.


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