Doctoral Student

Sujin Jang

Sujin Jang is a Ph.D. Candidate in the joint Organizational Behavior and Social Psychology Program at Harvard. Her research examines the dynamics of cross-cultural interactions, particularly in the context of multicultural teams. In her dissertation, she develops and tests theory on cultural brokerage, the act of facilitating cross-cultural interactions. 

Sujin has taught and facilitated courses on Leadership and Organizational Behavior in the Harvard Psychology Department and at Harvard Business School, and as an invited lecturer in the International Spark Program (Republic of Georgia) and at Dubrovnik International University (Croatia). 

Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Sujin graduated with highest honors from Yonsei University with a B.A. in Business Administration. She also studied at New York University’s Stern School of Business as a member of the International Business Exchange Program. She holds an M.A. in Social Psychology from Harvard University, and is expected to obtain her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior in May, 2014.

Sujin Jang is a Ph.D. Candidate in the joint Organizational Behavior and Social Psychology Program at Harvard. Her research examines the dynamics of cross-cultural interactions, particularly in the context of multicultural teams. In her dissertation, she develops and tests theory on cultural brokerage, the act of facilitating cross-cultural interactions. 

Sujin has taught and facilitated courses on Leadership and Organizational Behavior in the Harvard Psychology Department and at Harvard Business School, and as an invited lecturer in the International Spark Program (Republic of Georgia) and at Dubrovnik International University (Croatia). 

Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Sujin graduated with highest honors from Yonsei University with a B.A. in Business Administration. She also studied at New York University’s Stern School of Business as a member of the International Business Exchange Program. She holds an M.A. in Social Psychology from Harvard University, and is expected to obtain her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior in May, 2014.

  1. Overview

    My research examines the dynamics of cross-cultural collaboration. As organizations, teams, and networks become more global, understanding cross-border collaboration is becoming increasingly crucial. I explore the fascinating and consequential dynamics that emerge when collaboration involves people from different cultures coming together. In doing so, I utilize the pairing of qualitative and quantitative methods, particularly interviews and experiments, to yield a richer and more rigorous understanding of cross-cultural collaborations. My research agenda can be broadly categorized into two streams: one that examines cross-cultural collaboration at the team level, and another that focuses on the experience of working across cultures at the individual level.

    Keywords: organizational behavior; global collaboration; individuals and teams; creativity;

  2. Bringing Worlds Together: Cultural Brokerage in Multicultural Teams (Dissertation)

    Multicultural teams are becoming increasingly prevlaent and crucial for organizational success, yet they face many challenges that stem from their cultural differences. How can multicultural teams mitigate the risks of working across cultures and harness the creative benefits of cultural diversity? 

    In my dissertation, I take a unique approach to answering this question by introducing the concept of "cultural brokerage", the act of facilitating cross-cultural interactions. 

    In an inductive interview study, I find that culturally experienced members of multicultural teams actively engage in cultural brokerage, without formal appointment. 
    Further, I find that both cultural insiders (those with deep knowledge of the specific cultures involved) and cultural outsiders (those with little knowledge of the specific cultures involved) engage in cultural brokerage, but that they enact this role in different ways.

    In an online experiment of global teams, I examine the antecedents and outcomes of cultural brokerage in a creative team task. I find that cultural insiders are more likely to engage in compensating, managing cultural differences on behalf of other members, while cultural outsiders are more likely to broker by empowering, enabling other members to understand and manage cultural differences. I find that both types of cultural brokerage enhance team creativity under different conditions.

    Keywords: cultural brokerage; multicultural teams; cross-cultural collaboration; creativity;

  3. When Cultural Worlds Collide: Investigating the Cross-Cultural Multiple Audience Problem

    Today, many individuals have social networks that span cultural boundaries. For example, you may have a network of colleagues in China, friends and family in the U.S., and a group of childhood friends in Greece. Chances are, you are probably comfortable interacting with each of these groups separately. But what happens when your different cultural worlds come together? 

    In this project, I examine the behavioral and affective responses to the collision of cultural worlds. I find that this is an anxiety-provoking situation that causes many individuals to become paralyzed or withdraw. Since individuals adjust their behavior (and in some cases, their identities) in the presence of others from different cultural groups, the simultaneous presence of multiple cultural groups makes it difficult to adhere to one cultural schema and raises concerns about being perceived as inconsistent or even inauthentic. 

    Using qualitative and quantitative methods, I explore this phenomenon across various contexts, including social gatherings (e.g., multicultural wedding receptions), professional collaborations (e.g., cross-cultural joint ventures), and in online platforms (e.g., Facebook).

    Keywords: cross-cultural networks; multiple audience problem; managing multiple identities;

  4. Fitting In Without Giving In: Addressing the Effectiveness-Authenticity Dilemma in Cross-Cultural Interactions

    In this project, Andy Molinsky and I examine the process of adapting to a new culture as it unfolds in specific episodes. A common assumption in practice and research is that when faced with a new cultural context, one needs to either adopt the cultural scripts of the new culture (i.e., the “When in Rome” approach) or abide by the cultural scripts of their own culture (i.e., the “To Thine Own Self be True” approach). 

    In this paper, we question this assumption and explore different and novel ways of recombining elements of one’s own culture with a foreign culture, such that one can be both effective and authentic in a new cultural environment. 

    Keywords: cultural adaptation; cross-cultural dynamics; Authenticity;