This case highlights key elements in Pelled’s (1996) model of diversity, and is based on real life interactions of an actual grounds crew in intercollegiate baseball. The small work group of three individuals collectively prepares the grounds of a new collegiate ballpark for opening day. In the course of daily facility maintenance, the staff encounters both affective and substantive conflict according to Pelled’s model. This leads to both destructive and constructive performance outcomes. Also of issue in the case is the differential relationship that the supervisor shares with each of his subordinates, or leader member exchange (LMX). Together with the teaching notes, the case is designed to highlight (1) elements of group conflict arising from demographic diversity and (2) the nature of LMX within sport organizations. An overview of theory, student applications, and discussion questions and answers are provided to aid instructors in teaching this case.
Todd is with the Faculty of Sport Management, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA. Christie is with Dept. of Athletics, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA. Magnusen is an assistant professor with Dept. of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, Baylor University, Waco, TX. Harris is with the Faculty of Management, Indiana University Southwest, New Albany, IN.