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Poisoned apples: How project team experiential diversity impacts project performance and voluntary turnover - 22 May 2024

We welcomed Professor Fabrizio Salvador from IE University for a research seminar at the House of Innovation.

Paper title and abstract

Poisoned apples: How project team experiential diversity impacts project performance and voluntary turnover

Abstract: Despite the burgeoning research on diversity in project teams, it remains unclear clear whether firms should actively promote team experiential diversity or, instead, assign employees to clients and teams they are familiar with, thereby capitalizing on the benefits of specialization. Furthermore, promoting learning by exposing employees to a diverse project teams may not only motivate them in their work, but also enrich their background and curricula, paradoxically increasing the possibility that they attract competitive job offers and end up leaving the firm. We investigate the effect of team experiential diversity on project performance and team members’ voluntary turnover using a data from 810 project teams involving 3,139 employees from a multinational consulting and IT services firm that draws its workforce from a highly competitive job market. We find that both team experiential diversity working with the focal client and working together increase performance, while have an inverted U-shaped relationship with voluntary turnover. These findings suggest that when firms staff project teams they should be cognizant that increasing experiential diversity can support project margins, but it may represent a liability for talent retention.

About Fabrizio Salvador

Fabrizio Salvador is a Professor of Operations and Technology Management and Adjunct Vice-Rector for Applied Research at IE Business School, IE University. He received his Ph.D in Operations Management from the University of Padova, where he also graduated in Industrial Engineering. Dr. Salvador has also served as a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Shanghai University and as an adjunct Faculty Research Associate at Arizona State University. He has been included in the prestigious Thinkers50 Radar ranking of management thought leaders.

Dr. Salvador's research lies at the intersection of operations management and strategic human capital management. He pioneered the use of people analytics methodologies to explore how organizations can build flexibility at the individual, team, project and organizational levels, foster performance in knowledge-intensive work, and build resilience in core processes. More recently, Dr. Salvador broadened his focus on human centric operations to include sustainability by investigating the relationship between organizational design practices and employee well-being and fulfillment.

Dr. Salvador has been recognized as a thought leader in the field and has received several awards for his research. His work has been published in top-tier academic journals, including Organization Science, Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, Journal of Operations Management, Production and Operations Management, and Decision Sciences. Dr. Salvador has also held leadership positions in several academic outlets, including serving as the founding Department Editor for the Journal of Operations Management, Senior Editor for Production and Operations Management, and Associate Editor for the Decision Sciences Journal. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Salvador has collaborated with numerous companies to help them improve operational performance through training, proof of concepts and field experiments. Among these companies are AstraZeneca, DHL, Ernst&Young, IBM, John Deere, Johnson&Johnson, Nokia, Telefonica, Xerox, Tetra Pak, Unilever, CAP Gemini, Sener, Permasteelisa, PriceWaterhousCoopers, and WeCare. (Source: IE University). 

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