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Team performance in cross cultural project teams: The moderated mediation role of consensus, heterogeneity, faultlines and trust

Merce Mach (Faculty of Economics & Business, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)
Yehuda Baruch (Southampton Business School, Southampton, United Kingdom.)

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Article publication date: 3 August 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to test the conditional effect of team composition on team performance; specifically, how collective team orientation, group consensus, faultline configurations and trust among team members explain the objective performance of project teams in cross-cultural contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

Employing path analytical framework and bootstrap methods, the authors analyze data from a sample of 73 cross cultural project teams. Relying on ordinary least-squares regression, the authors estimate the direct and indirect effects of the moderated mediation model.

Findings

The findings demonstrate that the indirect effect of collective team orientation on performance through team trust is moderated by team member consensus, diversity heterogeneity and faultlines’ strength. By contrast, high dispersion among members, heterogeneous team configurations and strong team faultlines lead to low levels of trust and team performance.

Research limitations/implications

The specific context of the study (cross-cultural students’ work projects) may influence external validity and limit the generalization of the findings as well as the different compositions of countries-of-origin.

Practical implications

From a practical standpoint, these results may help practitioners understand how the emergence of trust contributes to performance. It will also help them comprehend the importance of managing teams while bearing in mind the cross-cultural contexts in which they operate.

Social implications

In order to foster team consensus and overcome the effects of group members’ cross-cultural dissimilarities as well as team faultlines, organizations should invest in improving members’ dedication, cooperation and trust before looking to achieve significant results, specially in heterogeneous teams and cross-cultural contexts.

Originality/value

The study advances organizational group research by showing the combined effect of team configurations and collective team orientation to overall team performance and by exploring significant constructs such as team consensus, team trust and diversity faultline strength to examine their possible moderated mediation role in the process.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the senior editor of the Cross-Cultural Management: An International Journal, as well as two anonymous reviewers for providing invaluable comments in finalizing this manuscript. Portions of this manuscript were completed while the first author was a visiting research fellow at John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. This research was supported by the Grants: BP2007-A00158 and BE2-00211.

Citation

Mach, M. and Baruch, Y. (2015), "Team performance in cross cultural project teams: The moderated mediation role of consensus, heterogeneity, faultlines and trust", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 464-486. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCM-10-2014-0114

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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