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When Hierarchy Helps: Value Congruence and Creative Performance in Asian-Dominated Multicultural Tea

Published on: March 2010​
Genre: Governance/Public Sector Management​ Category: Research Report/ Research Paper/ White Paper​

Meta-analytic evidence indicates cultural diversity in teams improves creativity, but the same work notes the lack of moderators for the process-performance relationship in such teams. (Stahl, Maznevski, Voigt, & Jonsen, 2010). The present research begins to address these concerns. First, it links process to structure through value congruence (Newman & Nollen, 1996; Robert, Probst, Martocchio, Drasgow, & Lawler, 2000). Second, unlike previous process research that suggests multicultural teams perform best when teamwork is participatory, egalitarian, and accommodating to all members (Canney Davison, 1996; Earley & Mosakowski, 2000; Janssens & Brett, 2006; Homan, Hollenbeck, Humphrey, Knippenberg, Ilgen, & Van Kleef, 2008), this work identifies a context, at least in short-term teams, when this research may not apply, thus expanding on ideas presented by Magee & Galinsky (2008) on the potential positive applications of hierarchical process in teams. In Study 1, 96 U.S. and international undergraduate students, scoring high on Schwartz’s (1992) hierarchy measure was associated with preferences for hierarchical teamwork process. Similarly, in Study 2, which included 315 part-time management students comprising 36 multicultural teams, teams were more creative using a hierarchical teamwork if the majority of team members were older and Asian, a region that the three main cultural value surveys (Hofstede, 1980; House et al., 2004; Schwartz, 1992, 1994) identify as hierarchical/high power distance. In addition, multi-level modeling revealed that, although hierarchical teamwork was generally associated with lower satisfaction, for Asian team members, such a process improved satisfaction.

This paper is a major revision of “"When Hierarchy Helps: Cultural Fit, Teamwork Process, and Creativity," originally published as DSG Working Paper 09-07 in November 2009, and revised as DSG Working Paper 10-05, published under the title of “When Hierarchy Helps: Value Congruence and Creativity in Asian Dominated Multicultural Teams” in March 2010. This paper replaces the second version.

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