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Effect of team diversity on software project performance

Ting‐Peng Liang (Department of Information Management, National Sun Yat‐sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Republic of China)
Chih‐Chung Liu (Department of Information Management, National Sun Yat‐sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Republic of China)
Tse‐Min Lin (Compal Communications, Inc., Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
Binshan Lin (College of Business Administration, Louisiana State University in Shreveport, Shreveport, Louisiana, USA)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 29 May 2007




This research seeks to investigate the relationship between knowledge diversity (KD) in software teams and project performance. Previous research has shown that member diversity affects team performance; most of that work, however, has focused on diversity in personal or social attributes, such as gender or social category. Current research targets at the knowledge level aim to facilitate the implementation of knowledge management in organizations.


A research framework was developed based on conflict theory and empirically tested on software teams in Taiwan.


It was found that KD increases task conflict, which in turn has significant positive effects on team performance and that value diversity (VD) increases relationship conflict, which in turn negatively affects team performance.

Research limitations/implications

The findings indicate that task conflict can enhance team performance, while relationship conflict can reduce team performance. Therefore, it is important to maintain healthy relationships among team members.

Practical implications

This research concludes that KD is beneficial and that VD is harmful to project outcome in software development. It is, therefore, useful for managers to form teams whose members encompass a broad knowledge base.


This paper proposes a novel way to measure knowledge and VD in teams and reports the effects of these attributes on team performance. The work also shows that a proper level of task conflict in a software team is necessary for achieving high performance.



Liang, T., Liu, C., Lin, T. and Lin, B. (2007), "Effect of team diversity on software project performance", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 107 No. 5, pp. 636-653.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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