Social category diversity promotes premeeting elaboration: The role of relationship focus

Denise Lewin Loyd, Cynthia S. Wang, Katherine W. Phillips, Robert B. Lount

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Apurported downside of social category diversity is decreased relationship focus (i.e., one's focus on establishing a positive social bond with a coworker). However, we argue that this lack of relationship focus serves as a central mechanism that improves information processing even prior to interaction and, ultimately, decision-making performance in diverse settings. We introduce the construct of premeeting elaboration (i.e., the extent to which individuals consider their own and others' perspectives in the anticipation of an interaction) and explore its link with social category diversity and relationship focus. Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrate that when disagreement occurs, social category diversity increases premeeting elaboration, with relationship focus as a central causal mechanism. Experiment 3 shows that premeeting elaboration has important implications for performance: disagreeing dyads with social category diversity elaborate more prior to meeting and, as a result, perform better on a decision-making task than those with social category homogeneity. We discuss the value of studying early-stage interaction and propose a reconsideration of the "downside" of social category diversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)757-772
Number of pages16
JournalOrganization Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision-making performance
  • Disagreement
  • Premeeting elaboration
  • Relationship focus
  • Social category diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'Social category diversity promotes premeeting elaboration: The role of relationship focus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this