James Kitts

Cultural Integration and Differentiation in Groups and Organizations

Coauthor(s): Michael Mäs, Andreas Flache.


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Experimental and field research has demonstrated a pervasive tendency toward pairwise conformity among individuals connected by positive social ties, and work using formal models has shown that connected influence networks should thus converge toward uniformity. Observing that diversity persists even in small scale groups and organizations, we investigate two empirically validated mechanisms of social diff erentiation that may account for this persistence: First, actors may dislike or disrespect peers who diverge too much from their own views, and may change their opinions or behaviors to distance themselves further from those negative referents. Second, when surrounded by similar others, actors may try to maintain a sufficient sense of uniqueness by exploring new opinions or behaviors. Using computational experiments, we demonstrate that these two forces lead to diff erent patterns of polarization, radicalization, and factionalism and also investigate the conditions under which integration occurs.In closing, we discuss the implications for cultural dynamics in organizations.

Source: Working Paper
Exact Citation:
Mäs, Michael, Andreas Flache, and James Kitts. "Cultural Integration and Differentiation in Groups and Organizations." Working Paper, Columbia Business School, December 30, 2010.
Date: 30 12 2010