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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2004

Alexei V. Matveev and Richard G. Milter

Managers working in multinational companies carry out their organizational goals through multicultural teams. Performance of multicultural teams can be examined from an…

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Abstract

Managers working in multinational companies carry out their organizational goals through multicultural teams. Performance of multicultural teams can be examined from an intercultural communication perspective. Executives, managers, management consultants, and educators interested in improving multicultural team performance need to know about intercultural competence and how it affects team performance. This article provides a working definition of high‐performance multicultural teams and outlines the challenges multicultural teams face. These definitions along with extensive interview data and detailed self‐reports of American and Russian managers working in multicultural teams emphasize the high importance of intercultural competence in improving the performance of these teams. This article also serves to highlight the characteristics of high‐performance multicultural teams, the common challenges of multicultural teams, and the sources of these challenges.

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Team Performance Management: An International Journal, vol. 10 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7592

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2021

Mike Szymanski, Ilan Alon and Komal Kalra

In this study, micro-foundations of strategy as the theoretical framework to study the effect of managers’ individual characteristics on multinational team performance are…

Abstract

Purpose

In this study, micro-foundations of strategy as the theoretical framework to study the effect of managers’ individual characteristics on multinational team performance are adopted. In particular, the purpose of this paper is to study managers’ multilingual communication abilities and multicultural background, and their role in, respectively, effectively reconfiguring team human assets and sensing cognitively distant opportunities and threats.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses national football teams competing in national and international competitions and their coaches’ characteristics as the data set to test the theory. Using random coefficient modeling and ordinary least square regression, this paper analyzes two samples of 222 and 79 teams and found that both these characteristics contribute to team performance; however, their effects differ depending on the team environment.

Findings

Multicultural managers contribute positively to team performance only when the team is operating in a highly diverse environment, their effect is not statistically significant in homogeneous environments. In less diverse environments, it is the multilingual manager who can improve team performance through more efficient communication and greater effects of leadership on the team.

Originality/value

Managers’ characteristics such as their multicultural background and multilingual capabilities affect team performance. In particular, these effects come into play in highly diverse and international settings. Micro-foundation literature is advised to focus on the internationalization and multicultural backgrounds of managers as a precursor for organizational international performance.

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Book part
Publication date: 19 September 2012

Raphael Silberzahn and Ya-Ru Chen

Purpose – Existing research in organizational behavior and social psychology focuses on comparisons in behaviors and attitudes across national groups, instead of studies…

Abstract

Purpose – Existing research in organizational behavior and social psychology focuses on comparisons in behaviors and attitudes across national groups, instead of studies on interactions among individuals with different national cultural backgrounds. In this chapter, we hope to motivate efforts within cross-national literatures to address some largely unexamined questions regarding dynamics in multicultural diverse teams.

Design/approach – Through a review of the prior perspectives on multicultural teams and a summary of findings in a recent meta-analysis study on multicultural teams in both single nation and multinational settings, we critique the limitations of the current perspectives and propose a new theoretical framework that draws on status perspectives in sociological and ethological research.

Findings – Drawing from status literatures, we explore how the status construction process and the status differential hierarchy of the team may affect trust, psychological safety, and creative problem solving of complex tasks in multicultural teams.

Originality/value – We propose a new theoretical angle of status for future research on interaction dynamics in multicultural teams, and diverse teams in general.

Details

Looking Back, Moving Forward: A Review of Group and Team-Based Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-030-7

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Article
Publication date: 29 April 2021

Aurelia Engelsberger, Jillian Cavanagh, Timothy Bartram and Beni Halvorsen

In this paper, the authors argue that multicultural skills and relational leadership act as enablers for open innovation, and thereby examine the process through which…

Abstract

Purpose

In this paper, the authors argue that multicultural skills and relational leadership act as enablers for open innovation, and thereby examine the process through which teams can utilize multicultural skills to support the development of relational leadership and knowledge sourcing and sharing (KSS) through individual interaction and relationship building. The authors address the following research question: How does relational leadership enable open innovation (OI) among employees with multicultural skills?

Design/methodology/approach

This paper applies a multi-level approach (team and individual level) and builds on interviews with 20 employees, middle and senior managers with multicultural experiences, working in open innovation environments.

Findings

The authors’ findings shed light on the process through which social exchange relationships among team members (e.g. R&D teams) and knowledge exchange partners are enhanced by the use of multicultural skills and support the development of relational leadership to facilitate KSS and ultimately OI. The decision for participants to collaborate and source and share knowledge is motivated by individual reward (such as establishing network or long-lasting contacts), skill acquisition (such as learning or personal growth in decision-making) and a sense of reciprocity and drive for group gain. The authors encourage greater human resource (HR) manager support for relational leadership and the development and use of multicultural skills to promote KSS.

Research limitations/implications

Despite the value of our findings, this paper is not without limitations. The authors explained that the focus of this study design was on the work activities of the participants and their skill development and not specific projects or organizations. It was outside the scope of this study to examine variations across organizations and individuals as the authors wanted to focus on multicultural skills and relational leadership as enablers for OI. The authors recommend that future studies extend our research by unpacking how various boundary conditions including relational leadership and multicultural skills impact KSS and OI over the life cycle of innovation teams within large multinational organizations, across countries and ethnicities.

Practical implications

The study’s findings provide managers with improved understandings of how to enable an individual's willingness and readiness to source and share knowledge through multicultural skills and relational leadership. Managers need to ensure that human resource management (HRM) practices celebrate multicultural skills and support relational leadership in innovation teams. The authors suggest managers engaged in OI consider the components of social exchange as described by Meeker (1971) and utilize reciprocity, group gain, rationality and status consistency to support the emergence relational leadership and KSS in innovation teams.

Originality/value

In this paper, the authors contribute to the dearth of literature on the boundary conditions for OI by examining the role of relational leadership and characteristics/skills of the workforce, namely multicultural skills and contribute to the scarce research on the role of employees with multicultural skills and their impact on OI and present multicultural skills/experiences and relational leadership as enablers for OI.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Book part
Publication date: 26 January 2022

Karina R. Jensen

The rapidly evolving competitive global marketplace with its culturally diverse customers has increased demand for multinational corporations (MNCs) to accelerate global…

Abstract

The rapidly evolving competitive global marketplace with its culturally diverse customers has increased demand for multinational corporations (MNCs) to accelerate global innovation. Leaders increasingly face the challenge of facilitating global and local team knowledge in order to improve strategic planning and execution for new products and services worldwide. An unresolved question in this regard is how global leaders can facilitate multicultural team collaboration aimed at improving performance of global innovation initiatives? Addressing this research question, a qualitative study was conducted focusing on the role of global leadership in facilitating multicultural collaboration and global innovation performance. The study included interviews with 105 global project leaders at 36 MNCs with headquarters based in Europe, Asia, and North America. These exploratory findings demonstrate how global leadership behaviors can facilitate cross-cultural collaboration for international project performance.

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Book part
Publication date: 2 December 2019

Frank Fitzpatrick

Abstract

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Understanding Intercultural Interaction: An Analysis of Key Concepts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-397-0

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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2015

Malgorzata Rozkwitalska and Beata Aleksandra Basinska

Since prior research into the effects of multiculturalism on job satisfaction in multinational corporations (MNCs) is rather scant and inconclusive, the purpose of this…

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Abstract

Purpose

Since prior research into the effects of multiculturalism on job satisfaction in multinational corporations (MNCs) is rather scant and inconclusive, the purpose of this paper is to review the literature and explain why these results are inconsistent as well as propose a new model aimed at responding to these irregularities.

Design/methodology/approach

In the narrative review of the prior research and the proposed model the authors discuss how multicultural settings influence job satisfaction. A Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) lens is applied to the model.

Findings

The effect of multiculturalism on job satisfaction is inconsistent, i.e. the authors concluded that multiculturalism may be positively related to the cognitive component, yet it appears to be negatively associated with the affective one. By applying a POS lens, the proposed model broadens the view on job satisfaction and its links with multiculturalism.

Practical implications

The authors’ model suggests that managers in MNCs should both enhance employees’ positive attitudes towards their job as well as foster positive emotions at work. They should exhibit more concern for employees’ affective states and how they affect cross-cultural interactions. Managers of MNCs need to boost thriving as it benefits both employees themselves and their organizations.

Social implications

Since today’s societies are becoming more and more multicultural, there is a need to increase individuals’ awareness of plausible positive outcomes flowing from multiculturalism, exchange views and experience among diverse individuals and ensure the conditions in which individuals can thrive.

Originality/value

By applying a POS lens to the analysis, the authors attempt to intertwine the positives experienced at work that appear to be associated with MNCs’ multicultural settings, namely job satisfaction and emotional balance. The results may contribute to the literature on job satisfaction in MNCs with regard to multiculturalism.

Details

Baltic Journal of Management, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5265

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Book part
Publication date: 25 August 2006

Efrat Shokef and Miriam Erez

As part of the globalizing work environment, new forms of organizations have emerged, ranging from international to multinational and transnational organizations. These…

Abstract

As part of the globalizing work environment, new forms of organizations have emerged, ranging from international to multinational and transnational organizations. These forms of organizations require high levels of cross-national interdependence, and often the formation of multicultural teams (MCTs), nested within multinational organizations. Employees who operate in the global multinational context should share common meanings, values, and codes of behaviors in order to effectively communicate with each other and coordinate their activities. What helps global multicultural team members create the social glue that connects them to each other, above and beyond the national cultures to which they belong? We propose that a more macro-level meaning system of a global work culture, which is the shared understanding of the visible rules, regulations, and behaviors, and the deeper values and ethics of the global work context, that is formed outside of the level of national cultures, binds members of MCTs. At the individual level, the representation of these global work values in the self leads to the emergence of a global identity, which is an individual's sense of belonging to and identification with groups (such as MCTs), operating in the global work environment of multinational organizations. The chapter focuses on the potential influence of a global work culture, and of a global identity on the effectiveness of MCTs.

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National Culture and Groups
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-362-4

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Book part
Publication date: 9 August 2016

Jordyn Hrenyk, Mike Szymanski, Anirban Kar and Stacey R. Fitzsimmons

Multicultural individuals are those who identify with two or more cultures, such as Chinese-Canadians, Turkish-Germans, or Arab-Americans. They are more likely to see…

Abstract

Multicultural individuals are those who identify with two or more cultures, such as Chinese-Canadians, Turkish-Germans, or Arab-Americans. They are more likely to see multiple sides of an ethical dilemma than monocultural individuals, who identify with one culture. This tendency toward ethical relativism – where ethics are seen to be relative to the context – could help multicultural individuals excel as ethical global leaders. Global leaders must manage the ethical tensions inherent in their multinational operations by understanding multiple ethical perspectives. Multiculturals’ inclination toward relativism may be driven by the structure or content of their cultural identities. The identity structure argument is based on the patterns in which individuals mentally organize their cultural identities, while the identity content argument is based on the degree to which individuals endorse relativism as a result of having internalized cultural schemas with relativist norms. We offer an exploratory test of these dual hypotheses, and find evidence to support the identity structure, but not the identity content argument. Specifically, multicultural individuals who separate their cultures are more likely to exhibit relativism in decision-making than those who integrate them. This indicates that identity patterns can drive relativism. In contrast, individuals who identify with high relativism cultures are not more likely to endorse relativism than those who identify with low relativism cultures, indicating a lack of evidence for identity content driving relativism. These findings have implications for hiring or placement managers who seek global leaders who are likely to see more than one side of an ethical issue.

Details

Advances in Global Leadership
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-138-8

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Malgorzata Rozkwitalska, Michal Chmielecki, Sylwia Przytula, Lukasz Sulkowski and Beata Aleksandra Basinska

The purpose of this paper is to show how individuals perceive the quality of intercultural interactions at work in multinational subsidiaries and to address the question of

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show how individuals perceive the quality of intercultural interactions at work in multinational subsidiaries and to address the question of what actually prevails in their accounts, i.e., “the dark side” or “the bright side.”

Design/methodology/approach

The authors report the findings from five subsidiaries located in Poland and interviews with 68 employees of these companies.

Findings

The “bright side” dominated the interviewees’ accounts. The phenomenon of high social identity complexity or common in-group identity can help explain the findings. The results also shed some new light on the associations between the context of subsidiaries and the perception of the quality of intercultural interactions.

Research limitations/implications

The paper contributes to the literature on cultural diversity and intercultural interactions in multinational subsidiaries. As the “bright side” of interactions was emphasized in the interviews, it particularly supports positive cross-cultural scholarship studies. Yet the explorative research does not allow for a broader generalization of the results.

Practical implications

Managers of multinational corporations (MNCs) should do the following: shape the context of MNCs to influence the dynamics of intercultural interactions and the way they are seen by their employees; emphasize common in-group identity to help their employees to adopt more favorable attitudes toward intercultural interactions; look for individuals with multicultural identity who display more positive approaches to intercultural contacts; place emphasis on recruiting individuals fluent in the MNC’s functional language; offer language training for the staff; and recruit employees with significant needs for development who will perceive more opportunities in intercultural contacts.

Social implications

The research demonstrates that the multicultural workplace of MNCs may be recognized by employees as activating the positive potential of the individuals and organizations that make up a society.

Originality/value

The accounts of intercultural interactions are analyzed to illuminate some significant foundations of how individuals perceive such interactions. The study provides a qualitative lens and highlights the positive approach to intercultural interactions. It may redress the imbalance in prior research and satisfy the need for positive cross-cultural scholarship.

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