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Samer el Barakeh was born in Lebanon, 1973. He completed his Bachelor in Engineering-CCE at Beirut Arab University-Lebanon in 1996 with honours. Samer was granted Masters Degree in Project Management (MPM) from the University of Sydney-Australia with honours. He also gained the Project Management Professional (PMP) Credential from The Project Management Institute (PMI). Samer is a member of the Order of Architects and Engineers in Lebanon since 1996, The Project Management Institute (PMI), Arabian Gulf Chapter (AGC-PMI) and Lebanon Chapter-PMI. During his 13 years of professional experience in Lebanon, Australia and Saudi Arabia, Samer held many positions among them: Telecommunication Site Engineer, Site Manager, Low Current Service Head, and he is currently Senior Systems Analyst at the General Project Construction Division. Samer is a Project Management Consultant and Training Provider for universal organizations like Business Management Consultants (USA) and PMCTQuest (Canada) Samer is a Registered Training Provider for Project Management Professional (PMP), and he provides training in Program Management, Portfolio Management,PMO...
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December 16, 2006

Individual Dissimilarity and Team Work

Dissimilarity is the degree to which individual attributes are/aren’t shared by other team members (Jackson, Stone & Alvarez, 1992). Recent studies examined its effect from different aspects (Pelled et al, 2001; Pelled et al., 1999; Jehn et al., 1997).

Consider Informational, Visible and Value dissimilarities specifically (Harrison et al., 1998; Pelled et al., 1999); Where informational dissimilarity relates to differences in occupancy, profession and working experience and visible dissimilarity refers to being different in a ‘visible’ way like age, skin color and ethnicity whereas value dissimilarity corresponds to distinction in ethics, approaches, methodologies of performing activities.

Elizabeth Hobman (et al,2003) state that perceived dissimilarity results in conflicts associated with the individual’s level of participation in team work. Perception of dissimilarity should be taken into account when managing projects. Value dissimilarity induces beneficial task conflicts but has negative impact on relationships among team members. This impact can be downsized by aligning members to ‘Goals’ while keeping the approach ‘loose’ (Schneider et al, 1999); and by educating teams on importance of commitment to ‘team unity’ (Gelfand et al, 1996). Teams should also be open to diversity so as to motivate dissimilar members’ involvement and explore new approaches even playing the devil’s advocate (Turner et al, 1994). Organizations have a stake here, where processes, procedures and regulations should emphasize on ‘equality’ and team evaluation should be based on achievements.

The case I experienced was an example of how information and value dissimilarities influence team performance। If the committee had the chance to continue with the diversified approaches, the outcome would have been enhanced.

Note: References included in the posting comment

1 comment:

  1. References:
    Gelfand, M. J., Kuhn, K. M., & Radhakrishnan, P. (1996). The effect of value differences
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    work team diversity (pp. 53–71). Washington D.C: American Psychological Association.

    Harrison, D. A., Price, K. H., & Bell, M. P. (1998). Beyond relational demography: Time
    and the effects of surface- and deep-level diversity on work group cohesion. Academy
    of Management Journal, 41(1), 96–107.

    Hobman V.E, Bordia P., Gallois C., 2003, Consequences of Feeling Dissimilar From Others in a Work Team, University of Queensland, Journal of Business and Psychology, Vol. 17, No. 3, Spring 2003

    Jackson, S. E., Brett, J. F., Sessa, V. I., Cooper, D. M., Julin, J. A., & Peyronnin, K. (1991).
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    Jehn, K. A., Chadwick, C., & Thatcher, S. M. B. (1997). To agree or not to agree: The effects
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    Pelled, L. H., Xin, K. R., & Weiss, A. M. (2001). No es como mi: Relational demography and
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    Pelled, L. H., Eisenhardt, K. M., & Xin, K. R. (1999). Exploring the black box: An analysis
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    Schneider, S. K., & Northcraft, G. B. (1999). Three social dilemmas of workforce diversity
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    Turner, M. E., & Pratkanis. A. R. (1994). Social identity maintenance prescriptions for
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