The concept of fault-lines as a way of determining the nature of diversity has been defined by Lau & Murnighan (1998). Fault-lines divide a group’s members into subgroups on the basis of one or more attributes. Gender is an example of a factor that divides a group into male and female subgroups. If particular members are separated from other members by more than one fault-line, the fault-line is claimed to be stronger. Lau and Murnighan argue that whereas diversity in general can add the benefits of increased creativity, strong fault-lines within a group will increase the level of subgroup conflict and lower performance.
Lau & Murnighan (1998) has explained the notion of fault-lines as a means of ascertaining the nature of diversity. On the basis of one or more than one characteristics, fault lines categorizes members of a group into sub groups for instance gender is an example which can be used to categorize a group into subgroups of male and female. A fault line is stated to be much stronger if more than one fault line is present to distinguish particular members from the others. According to Lau and Murnighan, strong fault lines present for a group increases the level of conflict within the sub group as well as resulting in lower performance, even though in general diversity does tend to bring benefits of enhanced creativity levels.