Heidi K. Gardner

3 Results


Customer Experts Lose Influence When Teams are Pressured

Group dynamics can take a bad turn when a team feels heightened pressure from stakeholders. In this Q&A, HBS professor Heidi K. Gardner explains why performance pressure makes team members do what seems irrational: defer to high-status "generalist" experts while ignoring colleagues close to the client. Read More

Disagreement about the Team’s Status Hierarchy: An Insidious Obstacle to Coordination and Performance

What happens when team members disagree about how much status each of the other members actually deserves? Does it matter that members might not even be aware that they disagree with one another? Published research on status conflict has so far focused primarily on the effects of overt status challenges, often originating from high-status members jockeying for top positions to attain valuable resources such as power, credit, and a better reputation. Yet new research by HBS professor Heidi K. Gardner explores how small differences, even latent ones, in team members' perceptions about their group's status hierarchy can undermine group collaboration, heighten team conflict, and lower performance. Read More

Performance Pressure as a Double-Edged Sword: Enhancing Team Motivation While Undermining the Use of Team Knowledge

Why do teams often fail to use their knowledge resources effectively even after they have correctly identified the experts among them? Project teams are a prominent feature of the knowledge-based economy, and member expertise has long been recognized as an important resource that can greatly affect team performance, but only to the extent that it is accurately recognized and used to accomplish the objective. The step between recognizing others' expertise and then actually applying it to achieve a collective outcome, however, is highly problematic: Even when individuals know who holds relevant task expertise, they are often unwilling or unable to give the experts appropriate influence over the group process and outcomes. HBS professor Heidi K. Gardner takes a multidisciplinary approach to develop theory explaining how interpersonal dynamics in teams affect members' use of each other's distinct knowledge, ultimately leading to differential performance outcomes. Read More