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Unraveling the effects of cultural diversity in teams: A meta-analysis of research on multicultural work groups

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Author Info

  • G�nter K Stahl

    ([1] Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria[2] INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France)

  • Martha L Maznevski

    (IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland)

  • Andreas Voigt

    (Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine, USA)

  • Karsten Jonsen

    (IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland)

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    Abstract

    Previous research on the role of cultural diversity in teams is equivocal, suggesting that cultural diversity's effect on teams is mediated by specific team processes, and moderated by contextual variables. To reconcile conflicting perspectives and past results, we propose that cultural diversity affects teams through process losses and gains associated with increased divergence and decreased convergence. We examine whether the level (surface-level vs deep-level) and type (cross-national vs intra-national) of cultural diversity affect these processes differently. We hypothesize that task complexity and structural aspects of the team, such as team size, team tenure, and team dispersion, moderate the effects of cultural diversity on teams. We test the hypotheses with a meta-analysis of 108 empirical studies on processes and performance in 10,632 teams. Results suggest that cultural diversity leads to process losses through task conflict and decreased social integration, but to process gains through increased creativity and satisfaction. The effects are almost identical for both levels and types of cultural diversity. Moderator analyses reveal that the effects of cultural diversity vary, depending on contextual influences, as well as on research design and sample characteristics. We propose an agenda for future research, and identify implications for managers.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan in its journal Journal of International Business Studies.

    Volume (Year): 41 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 4 (May)
    Pages: 690-709

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    Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:41:y:2010:i:4:p:690-709

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    Cited by:
    1. Garnero, Andrea & Kampelmann, Stephan & Rycx, François, 2013. "The Heterogeneous Effects of Workforce Diversity on Productivity, Wages and Profits," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1304, CEPREMAP.
    2. Klitmøller, Anders & Lauring, Jakob, 2013. "When global virtual teams share knowledge: Media richness, cultural difference and language commonality," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 398-406.
    3. Bradley, Frank & Gao, Yuhui & Sousa, Carlos M.P., 2013. "A natural science approach to investigate cross-cultural managerial creativity," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 839-855.
    4. Piekkari, Rebecca & Oxelheim, Lars & Randøy, Trond, 2013. "The Role of Language in Corporate Governance: The Case of Board Internationalization," Working Paper Series 974, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    5. Søderberg, Anne-Marie & Krishna, S. & Bjørn, Pernille, 2013. "Global Software Development: Commitment, Trust and Cultural Sensitivity in Strategic Partnerships," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 347-361.
    6. repec:ese:iserwp:2011-19 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Simonetta Longhi, 2011. "Impact of Cultural Diversity on Wages and Job Satisfaction in England," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2011010, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
    8. Zander, Lena & Mockaitis, Audra I. & Butler, Christina L., 2012. "Leading global teams," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 592-603.
    9. Longhi, Simonetta, 2013. "Impact of cultural diversity on wages, evidence from panel data," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 797-807.
    10. Fitzsimmons, Stacey R., 2012. "Women on boards of directors: Why skirts in seats aren’t enough," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 557-566.
    11. Mäkelä, Kristiina & Andersson, Ulf & Seppälä, Tomi, 2012. "Interpersonal similarity and knowledge sharing within multinational organizations," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 439-451.
    12. Wilken, Robert & Jacob, Frank & Prime, Nathalie, 2013. "The ambiguous role of cultural moderators in intercultural business negotiations," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 736-753.

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