Affective diversity and emotional intelligence in cross-functional sourcing teams

Research paper by Lutz Kaufmann, Claudia M. Wagner

Indexed on: 04 Aug '16Published on: 03 Aug '16Published in: Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management


In cross-functional sourcing teams, differences in goals and personality traits can lead to tensions and reduced effectiveness. Diversity in teams can be conceptualized as surface-level diversity (e.g., gender, nationality) or as deep-level diversity (e.g., personality, attitudes). This study investigates the potentially negative effects of one category of deep-level diversity – namely, affective trait diversity – on sourcing team performance and how such negative effects might be mitigated through team members' emotional intelligence. The study analyzes a sample of 88 sourcing teams (234 team members) using moderated regression analyses. Sourcing team cohesion is found to fully mediate the relationship between affective diversity and team performance, while the collective emotional intelligence of the sourcing team positively moderates the diversity-cohesion relationship (moderated mediation). Thus, this study provides insights into both the mechanics of team diversity and the critical role of collective emotional intelligence in sourcing teams and thereby enables supply managers to better understand cross-functional team setups and effectiveness.

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