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The Effects of Coworker Heterogeneity on Firm-Level Output: Assessing the Impacts of Cultural and Language Diversity in the National Hockey League

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  • L H Kahane
  • N Longley
  • R Simmons

Abstract

We use a publicly available data set drawn from the professional sport industry to test for the impacts of coworker heterogeneity on firm performance. We focus particularly on the National Hockey League (NHL). NHL teams are truly global firms - they employ workers (players) from a variety of non-English-speaking countries, all of whom are integrated into a single work group (i.e. team). Players from different countries not only bring different languages and cultures, but also bring different playing styles - styles which must be effectively integrated into a cohesive playing unit. We use a panel data set that spans the seasons 2001-02 to 2007-08, and we control for a wide variety of variables that may affect a team's output. The question we pose is: all else equal, does the specific nationality mix on a team matter? In other words, for a given number of foreign players on a team, is it better to have all foreign players from a single country, or should teams attempt to employ foreign players from a variety of countries? Our results indicate that teams that are made up of mostly homogeneous European players appear to gain an advantage in team performance. Also, it appears that NHL teams perform better when their European players tend to come from the same country, rather than being spread across many European countries. We suggest that firms need to be cognizant of the way in which they diversify since the gains from diversity may be greatest when the foreign component of the workforce has, within itself, a higher degree of homogeneity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department in its series Working Papers with number 599378.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:lan:wpaper:599378

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  1. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2004. "The Economic Value of Cultural Diversity: Evidence from US Cities," NBER Working Papers 10904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dawson, Peter & Dobson, Stephen & Gerrard, Bill, 2000. "Estimating Coaching Efficiency in Professional Team Sports: Evidence from English Association Football," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 47(4), pages 399-421, September.
  3. Frederick Wiseman & Sangit Chatterjee, 2003. "Team payroll and team performance in major league baseball: 1985-2002," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 1(2), pages 1-10.
  4. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:1:y:2003:i:2:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Zak, Thomas A & Huang, Cliff J & Siegfried, John J, 1979. "Production Efficiency: The Case of Professional Basketball," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(3), pages 379-92, July.
  6. Leo Kahane, 2005. "Production Efficiency and Discriminatory Hiring Practices in the National Hockey League: A Stochastic Frontier Approach," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 47-71, 08.
  7. Stefan Szymanski, 2000. "A Market Test for Discrimination in the English Professional Soccer Leagues," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 590-603, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Michaela Trax & Stephan Brunow & Jens Suedekum, 2012. "Cultural diversity and plant‐level productivity," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2012029, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
  2. Berger, Allen N. & Kick, Thomas & Schaeck, Klaus, 2012. "Executive board composition and bank risk taking," Discussion Papers 03/2012, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  3. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez & Kerry L. Papps, 2010. "Heterogeneous Worker Ability and Team-Based Production: Evidence from Major League Baseball, 1920-2009," CEP Discussion Papers dp1015, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

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