Fairness in Diverse Teams and Team Performance

  • Munazzah Iqbal

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


While the impact of diversity on team justice climates and team performance are established, little attention has been given to the effects of perceived deep-level diversity, the behavioural mechanisms that lead to the emergence of justice climates in teams and, in turn, team performance, and the potential moderators of these effects. Drawing on similarity-attraction theory and uncertainty management theory, I propose and test a multi-mediation model in which team deep-level diversity negatively impacts team performance by first impacting their communication openness and, in turn, their perceptions of procedural, interactional, and distributive justice climate. Ethical leadership is identified as a moderator, where low ethical leadership heightens the role of team justice climate on team performance. A mixed-method design was adopted. First, a quantitative survey was conducted with 249 employees nested in 58 teams across two large organizations. The findings confirm that perceived deep-level diversity is negatively related to team perceptions of procedural and interactional justice climates (but not distributive justice), and team communication openness mediates these relationships. In turn, the interactional justice climate was found to be a strong predictor of team cohesion, and these effects were heightened when ethical leadership was low. Against predictions, partial support was found for a relationship between interactional justice climate and team performance when ethical leadership was high (not low). To further illuminate these findings, a qualitative study was carried out using semi-structured interviews with 20 employees. These interviews revealed issues of (a) a lack of respect among team members and leaders, (b) a lack of ability to perform, and (c) unequal reward systems that affect justice in diverse teams. In addition to theoretical contributions, this work informs practitioners on the potential influence of deep-level diversity training and other activities that may provide them with a framework for creating a positive team environment.
Date of AwardJun 2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJonathan Crawshaw (Supervisor), Pawan Budhwar (Supervisor) & Yves Guillaume (Supervisor)


  • Deep-level diversity
  • Team justice climate
  • Team communication openness
  • Ethical leadership
  • Team cohesion
  • Team performance

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