Undergraduate Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 4-7-2017




Natalie J. Allen


Among researchers who examine team composition, the cognitive diversity construct has received considerable attention. There is little agreement, however, as to what the “cognitive” in cognitive diversity actually refers. Within this literature, researchers have examined variation in team members’ backgrounds and experiences, their knowledge, skills, and abilities, their cognitive styles, their attitudes and perspectives, or a combination of these characteristics. These varying conceptualizations have led to different operationalizations and measures of cognitive diversity, calling into some question the validity of these measures. In this research, we examined the convergent validity of three cognitive diversity measures that have been used in the literature: Van der Vegt and Janssen’s (2013) measure of cognitive group diversity, the Cognitive Styles Indicator (Cools & Van den Broeck, 2007), and team conscientiousness diversity (Hua, 2013). Five hundred fifty-two undergraduate engineering students in 148 project teams (3-6 members each) completed these measures, with none of the measures’ intercorrelations meeting the minimum requirement for evidence of convergent validity. Implications for existing literature and future research will be discussed.