The Influence of Cognitive Style Diversity on Relationship Conflict and Organizational Citizenship Behaviors

By: Steven John Armstrong   Meng Qi  

This study investigates the influence of cognitive style diversity on relationship conflict and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). The role of leader-member exchange as a moderating variable is also examined. We used hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) and hierarchical regression analysis (HRA) to analyze results from a sample of 344 members from 83 teams nested within 126 departments in six manufacturing organizations in the People’s Republic of China. Results yielded general support for our hypothesized relationships between cognitive style diversity and relationship conflict. Leader-member exchange was also found to moderate the relationship between these two variables. Contrary to expectations, there were no relationships between these variables and organizational citizenship behaviors. This research addresses calls from the team diversity and conflict literature to address the understudied area of deep-level cognitive diversity. Second, our study addresses previous calls for more team-level and mixed-level theory and methodology to inform OCB research. Third, this is the first study of team-level cognitive style diversity and the moderating influence of leader-member-exchange and provides valuable insights into ways of mitigating some of the negative effects of cognitive diversity on teams.

Cognitive Style Diversity
Organizational Diversity
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Steven John Armstrong

Professor, Business School, University of Lincoln, United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Meng Qi

Associate Professor, Beijing University of Technology, China