Journal of International Business Studies (2010) 41, 690–709. doi:10.1057/jibs.2009.85
Unraveling the effects of cultural diversity in teams: A meta-analysis of research on multicultural work groups
- 1Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria
- 2INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France
- 3IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland
- 4Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine, USA
Correspondence: GK Stahl, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Augasse 2–6, 1090 Vienna, Austria. Tel: +43 (1) 31336 4434; Fax: +43 (1) 31336 776; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received 29 August 2006; Revised 16 July 2009; Accepted 22 July 2009; Published online 26 November 2009.
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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.
diversity; culture; multicultural teams; team performance; meta-analysis
Journal of International Business Studies - Abstract of article: Unraveling the effects of cultural diversity in teams: A meta-analysis of research on multicultural work groups