Journal Article | Journal of Organizational Behavior | April 2012

Finding the Right Mix: How the Composition of Self-managing Multicultural Teams' Cultural Value Orientation Influences Performance Over Time

by Chi-Ying Cheng, Roy Y.J. Chua, Michael W. Morris and Leonard Lee

Abstract

This research investigates a new type of team that is becoming prevalent in global work settings, namely, self-managing multicultural teams. We argue that challenges that arise from cultural diversity in teams are exacerbated when teams are leaderless, undermining performance. A longitudinal study of multicultural MBA study teams found that in the early stage of team formation, teams with a low average level of, but moderate degree of variance in, uncertainty avoidance performed best. Four months post formation, however, teams with a high average level of relationship orientation performed better than teams with a low average level of relationship orientation. Furthermore, a moderate degree of variance in relationship orientation among team members produced better team performance than a low or high degree of variance. These findings suggest that different cultural value orientations exert different patterns of effects on the performance of self-managing multicultural teams, depending on the stage of team formation. Implications for the composition of self-managing multicultural teams and its influence on team processes and performance are discussed.

Keywords: Management Practices and Processes; Performance; Problems and Challenges; Groups and Teams; Risk and Uncertainty; Culture; Value;

Citation:

Cheng, Chi-Ying, Roy Y.J. Chua, Michael W. Morris, and Leonard Lee. "Finding the Right Mix: How the Composition of Self-managing Multicultural Teams' Cultural Value Orientation Influences Performance Over Time." Journal of Organizational Behavior 33 (April 2012): 389–411.