Roy Y.J. Chua

Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Roy Chua is an Assistant Professor in the Organizational Behavior unit at the Harvard Business School. He teaches the first-year Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD) course in the MBA program.

Professor Chua's research draws on human psychology in an effort to understand important social processes in business organizations. In his primary stream of research, he studies how multicultural interactions in a globalized workplace influence creativity and innovation. Does multiculturalism at the workplace facilitate or inhibit creative performance? What are the key determinants and how can managers better harness a multicultural workforce for greater creative breakthroughs? Professor Chua also has a keen interest in understanding Chinese organizational behavior and management processes and more specifically social networking dynamics in China. He has published or has articles forthcoming in leading periodicals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, and Research in Organizational Behavior.

A native of Singapore, Professor Chua received a BSc with First Class Honors in Computer and Information Sciences from the National University of Singapore and a PhD in Management, focusing on Organizational Behavior, from Columbia Business School. Prior to his academic career, he was a Management Associate at PSA Corporation, working on strategic human resources issues such as talent development, recruitment, compensation, and training.

Journal Articles

  1. The Costs of Ambient Cultural Disharmony: Indirect Intercultural Conflicts in Social Environment Undermine Creativity

    Intercultural tensions and conflicts are inevitable in the global workplace. This paper introduces the concept of ambient cultural disharmony—indirect experience of intercultural tensions and conflicts in individuals' immediate social environment—and demonstrates how it undermines creative thinking in tasks that draw on knowledge from multiple cultures. Three studies (a network survey and two experiments) found that ambient cultural disharmony decreased individuals' effectiveness at connecting ideas from disparate cultures. Beliefs that ideas from different cultures are incompatible mediated the relationship between ambient cultural disharmony and creativity. Alternative mechanisms such as negative affect and cognitive disruption were not viable mediators. Although ambient cultural disharmony disrupted creativity, ambient cultural harmony did not promote creativity. These findings have theoretical and practical implications for research in workplace diversity and creativity.

    Keywords: creativity; culture; Creativity; Culture;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J. "The Costs of Ambient Cultural Disharmony: Indirect Intercultural Conflicts in Social Environment Undermine Creativity." Academy of Management Journal (forthcoming).
  2. Building Effective Business Relationships in China

    Keywords: China; China;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J. "Building Effective Business Relationships in China." MIT Sloan Management Review 53, no. 4 (Summer 2012).
  3. Finding the Right Mix: How the Composition of Self-managing Multicultural Teams' Cultural Value Orientation Influences Performance Over Time

    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.
  4. Collaborating Across Cultures: Cultural Metacognition and Affect-Based Trust in Creative Collaboration

    We propose that managers' awareness of their own and others' cultural assumptions (cultural metacognition) enables them to develop affect-based trust in their relationships with people from different cultures, enabling creative collaboration. Study 1, a multi-rater assessment of managerial performance, found that managers higher in metacognitive cultural intelligence (CQ) were rated as more effective in intercultural creative collaboration by managers from other cultures. Study 2, a social network survey, found that managers lower in metacognitive CQ engaged in less sharing of new ideas in their intercultural ties but not intracultural ties. Study 3 required participants to work collaboratively with a non-acquaintance from another culture and found that higher metacognitive CQ engendered greater idea sharing and creative performance, so long as they were allowed a personal conversation prior to the task. The effects of metacognitive CQ in enhancing creative collaboration were mediated by affect-based trust in Studies 2 and 3.

    Keywords: Management; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Relationships; Trust; Social and Collaborative Networks; Creativity;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., Michael W. Morris, and Shira Mor. "Collaborating Across Cultures: Cultural Metacognition and Affect-Based Trust in Creative Collaboration." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 118, no. 2 (July 2012): 116–131.
  5. Perceiving Freedom Givers: Effects of Granting Decision Latitude on Personality and Leadership Perceptions

    A perennial question facing managers is how much decision latitude to give their employees at work. The current research investigates how decision latitude affects employees' perceptions of managers' personalities and, in turn, their leadership effectiveness. Results from three studies using different methods (two experiments and a survey) indicate an inverted-U shaped relationship between degree of decision latitude and leadership effectiveness perceptions. The increase in leadership effectiveness perception between low and moderate decision latitude was explained by an increase in perceived agreeableness; the decrease in leadership effectiveness perception between moderate and high decision latitude was explained by a decrease in perceived conscientiousness. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

    Keywords: Decisions; Leadership; Perception; Employees; Performance Effectiveness; Personal Characteristics;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., and Sheena Iyengar. "Perceiving Freedom Givers: Effects of Granting Decision Latitude on Personality and Leadership Perceptions." Leadership Quarterly 22 (2011): 863–880.
  6. Effects of Cultural Ethnicity, Firm Size, and Firm Age on Senior Executives' Trust in Their Overseas Business Partners: Evidence from China

    We investigate trust relationships between senior business executives and their overseas partners. Drawing on the similarity-attraction paradigm, social-categorization theory, and the distinction between cognition- and affect-based trust, we argue that executives trust their overseas partners differently depending on the partners' cultural ethnicity. In a field survey of 108 Chinese senior executives, we found that these executives have higher affect-based trust in overseas partners of the same cultural ethnicity as themselves; cognition-based trust is associated with affect-based trust differently when overseas partners are of the same or different cultural ethnicity. We also examine the role of relative firm size and age in shaping intra- and inter-cultural trust. Relative firm size has a stronger negative effect on executives' cognition-based trust if their partners were of a different cultural ethnicity. Although firm age does not have a negative effect on executives' affect-based trust as hypothesized, we found firm age to be positively associated with affect-based trust for partners of the same cultural ethnicity. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of this pattern of inter- and intra-cultural trust on international business and networking (guanxi) dynamics in China.

    Keywords: Ethnicity Characteristics; Culture; Management Teams; Cognition and Thinking; Networks; Globalized Firms and Management; Partners and Partnerships; Business Growth and Maturation; Size; Trust; China;

    Citation:

    Jiang, Crystal, Roy Y.J. Chua, Masaaki Kotabe, and Janet Murray. "Effects of Cultural Ethnicity, Firm Size, and Firm Age on Senior Executives' Trust in Their Overseas Business Partners: Evidence from China." Journal of International Business Studies 42, no. 9 (2011): 1150–1173. (Equal Authorship Among All Authors.)
  7. Embeddedness and New Idea Discussion in Professional Networks: The Mediating Role of Affect-Based Trust

    This article examines how managers' tendency to discuss new ideas with others in their professional networks depends on the density of shared ties surrounding a given relationship. Consistent with prior research which found that embeddedness enhances information flow, an egocentric network survey of mid-level executives shows that managers tend to discuss new ideas with those who are densely embedded in their professional networks. More specifically, embeddedness increases the likelihood to discuss new ideas by engendering affect-based trust, as opposed to cognition-based trust. Implications for network and creativity research are discussed.

    Keywords: Information; Networks; Trust;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., M.W. Morris, and P. Ingram. "Embeddedness and New Idea Discussion in Professional Networks: The Mediating Role of Affect-Based Trust." Journal of Creative Behavior 44, no. 2 (Second Quarter 2010): 85–104.
  8. Guanxi versus Networking: Distinctive Configurations of Affect- and Cognition-based Trust in the Networks of Chinese and American Managers

    This research investigates hypotheses about differences between Chinese and American managers in the configuration of trusting relationships within their professional networks. Consistent with hypotheses about Chinese familial collectivism, an egocentric network survey found that affect- and cognition-based trust were more intertwined for Chinese than for American managers. In addition, the effect of economic exchange on affect-based trust was more positive for Chinese than for Americans, whereas the effect of friendship was more positive for Americans than for Chinese. Finally, the extent to which a given relationship was highly embedded in ties to third parties increased cognition-based trust for Chinese but not for Americans. Implications for cultural research and international business practices are discussed.

    Keywords: Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Managerial Roles; Relationships; Cognition and Thinking; Emotions; Social and Collaborative Networks; Trust; China; United States;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., M.W. Morris, and P. Ingram. "Guanxi versus Networking: Distinctive Configurations of Affect- and Cognition-based Trust in the Networks of Chinese and American Managers." Journal of International Business Studies 40, no. 3 (2009): 480–508.
  9. Compelled to Help: Effects of Direct and Indirect Exchange on Perceived Obligation in Professional Networks

    This research examines felt obligation to help others in employees' and managers' professional networks using a social exchange perspective. We hypothesize that obligation toward others would follow the norms of both direct and indirect reciprocity. Direct reciprocity predicts that obligation toward network members increases to the extent that one receives resources directly from others. In the case of socio-emotional resources, such as friendship and mentorship, this obligation is mediated by affective closeness. Indirect reciprocity predicts that obligation is felt toward others simply as a function of their inclusion in one's network, implying that obligation increases with the others' degree of embeddedness in the network. Results from two network surveys supported these hypotheses.

    Keywords: Perspective; Conflict of Interests; Research; Surveys; Networks; Forecasting and Prediction; Social Issues;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., Billian Sullivan, and Michael W. Morris. "Compelled to Help: Effects of Direct and Indirect Exchange on Perceived Obligation in Professional Networks." Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings (2009).
  10. From the Head and the Heart: Locating Cognition- and Affect-based Trust in Managers' Professional Networks

    Keywords: Cognition and Thinking; Trust; Management; Networks;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., P. Ingram, and M. Morris. "From the Head and the Heart: Locating Cognition- and Affect-based Trust in Managers' Professional Networks." Academy of Management Journal 51, no. 3 (June 2008): 436–452.
  11. Creativity As a Matter of Choice: Prior Experience and Task Instruction As Boundary Conditions for the Positive Effect of Choice on Creativity

    Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Creativity; Information; Outcome or Result;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., and S. Iyengar. "Creativity As a Matter of Choice: Prior Experience and Task Instruction As Boundary Conditions for the Positive Effect of Choice on Creativity." Journal of Creative Behavior 42, no. 3 (2008): 164–180.
  12. Do I Contribute More When I Trust More?: Differential Effects of Cognition- and Affect-based Trust

    Keywords: Trust; Cognition and Thinking; Outcome or Result;

    Citation:

    Ng, K. Y., and Roy Y.J. Chua. "Do I Contribute More When I Trust More?: Differential Effects of Cognition- and Affect-based Trust." Management and Organization Review 2, no. 1 (March 2006): 43–66.
  13. Empowerment through Choice? A Critical Analysis of the Effects of Choice in Organizations

    Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Theory; Organizations;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., and S Iyengar. "Empowerment through Choice? A Critical Analysis of the Effects of Choice in Organizations." Research in Organizational Behavior 27 (2006): 41–79.

Book Chapters

  1. Building Intercultural Trust at the Negotiating Table

    This chapter examines the challenges of intercultural negotiation with a focus on the critical role of trust. Building trust is crucial for successful negotiations between cultures, yet intercultural negotiations are often characterized by a lack of trust. We discuss what trust is, why it matters, and why it is so difficult to establish in intercultural negotiations. We then offer guidelines for building trust in intercultural negotiations with an emphasis on cultural intelligence-the capacity to adapt effectively across cultures.

    Keywords: Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Negotiation; Trust; Adaptation;

    Citation:

    Jang, Sujin, and Roy Y.J. Chua. "Building Intercultural Trust at the Negotiating Table." In Negotiation Excellence: Successful Deal Making, edited by Michael Benoliel. World Scientific, 2011.
  2. Dynamics of Trust in Guanxi Networks

    Keywords: Trust; Social and Collaborative Networks; Family and Family Relationships; China;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., and M. Morris. "Dynamics of Trust in Guanxi Networks." In National Culture and Groups. Vol. 9, edited by Ya-Ru Chen. Research on Managing Groups and Teams. JAI Press, 2006.
  3. Training and Developing Cultural Intelligence

    Keywords: Culture; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Training; Learning;

    Citation:

    Tan, J. S., and Roy Y.J. Chua. "Training and Developing Cultural Intelligence." In Cultural Intelligence: Individual Unteractions across Cultures, edited by P. C. Earley and S. Ang. CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Transitions Asia: Managing Across Cultures

    The director of an interim executive research firm, Chee Lung Tham, faced a clash of culture and management styles when his mainland China client threatened to fire the American interim manager that Tham had assigned. The client, Wong Lung, ran a family-owned garment manufacturing business along with his younger brother, as well as his two overseas-educated children. While Wong needed the American manager's technology expertise, his own brother and his team of middle managers were showing resistance to the new changes. Meanwhile, the American manager found himself caught in the web of family and company politics, and completing his assignment without the cooperation of the middle management was impossible. How should Tham approach the conflict and bring all sides into a productive working relationship?

    Keywords: China; family business; Cross-cultural Management; Family Business; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Management Style; Service Industry; China;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., Sharon Mozgai, and Dawn Lau. "Transitions Asia: Managing Across Cultures." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 414-045, September 2013. (Revised September 2013.)
  2. Transitions Asia: Managing Across Cultures

    The director of an interim executive search firm, Chee Lung Tham, faced a clash of culture and management styles when his mainland Chinese client threatened to fire the American interim manager that Tham had assigned. The client, Wong Lung, ran a family-owned garment manufacturing business along with his younger brother, as well as his two overseas-educated children. While Wong needed the American manager's technology expertise, his own brother and his team of middle managers were showing resistance to the new changes. Meanwhile, the American manager found himself caught in the web of family and company politics, and completing his assignment without the cooperation of the middle management was impossible. How should Tham approach the conflict and bring all sides into a productive working relationship?

    Keywords: China; family business; Cross-cultural Management; Management Style; Conflict Management; Family Business; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Service Industry; China;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., and Dawn H. Lau. "Transitions Asia: Managing Across Cultures." Harvard Business School Case 413-099, April 2013. (Revised May 2013.)
  3. CDG: Managing in China's Economic Transformation (TN)

    Keywords: Economy; Transformation; China;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., and Sharon Mozgai. "CDG: Managing in China's Economic Transformation (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 412-085, November 2011. (Revised March 2012.)
  4. Managing Creativity at Shanghai Tang

    Shanghai Tang is a luxury brand that focuses on Chinese-inspired fashion, accessories, and home decoration products. In fall 2008, amidst a growing global economic crisis, Raphael Ie Masne, executive chairman of Shanghai Tang, had to decide what to do with the recently vacant creative director position. Did Shanghai Tang need to hire a new creative director at this uncertain economic time? Or could he take on the role of the creative director himself? In addition, Ie Masne had to grapple with balancing the perennial tensions between business imperatives and the creative aspirations of his designers. How could he better manage employees who see themselves as artists?

    Keywords: Talent and Talent Management; Financial Crisis; Employee Relationship Management; Selection and Staffing; Creativity; Apparel and Accessories Industry;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., and Robert G. Eccles. "Managing Creativity at Shanghai Tang." Harvard Business School Case 410-018, August 2009. (Revised November 2010.)
  5. CDG: Managing in China's Economic Transformation

    China Data Group (CDG) is a leading business processes outsourcing company based in Beijing, China. Roc Yang, chairman of CDG, had to confront a dilemma when he discovered that one of his senior managers gave a gift to a potential client in an effort to win a large business deal. Although this practice was pervasive in the China business context characterized by heavy reliance on personal relationships or guanxi, it went against the founding principles of CDG—professionalism and service quality. Yang had to decide where to draw the line between adherence to principles of professionalism and local norms in a country caught in the midst of rapid economic transformation.

    Keywords: Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Management Practices and Processes; Emerging Markets; Negotiation Deal; Relationships; Networks; Societal Protocols; China;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., Shaohui Chen, and Lisa Kwan. "CDG: Managing in China's Economic Transformation." Harvard Business School Case 411-067, October 2010.
  6. Managing Creativity at Shanghai Tang (TN)

    Teaching Note for 410018.

    Keywords: Creativity; Brands and Branding; Financial Crisis; Selection and Staffing; Leadership; Luxury; Arts; Fashion Industry; Apparel and Accessories Industry;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., and Lisa Kwan. "Managing Creativity at Shanghai Tang (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 411-026, July 2010.

Presentations

  1. With my Head or with my Heart? A Study of How Chinese Executives Trust Overseas Chinese and Non-Chinese Business Partners

    Keywords: Trust; Partners and Partnerships; China;

    Citation:

    Jiang, C., and Roy Y.J. Chua. "With my Head or with my Heart? A Study of How Chinese Executives Trust Overseas Chinese and Non-Chinese Business Partners." Paper presented at the Workshop on Trust Within and Between Organizations, Madrid, Spain, January 01, 2010.
  2. Compelled to Help:Effects of Direct and Indirect Exchange on Perceived Obligation in Professional Networks

    Keywords: Networks; Perception; Communication;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., Bilian Sullivan, and Michael W. Morris. "Compelled to Help:Effects of Direct and Indirect Exchange on Perceived Obligation in Professional Networks." Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Chicago, August 07–11, 2009.
  3. Cultural Intelligence, Trust and the Sharing of New Ideas in Multicultural Networks

    Keywords: Networks; Trust; Knowledge Sharing; Demographics;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., and M. W. Morris. "Cultural Intelligence, Trust and the Sharing of New Ideas in Multicultural Networks." Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Anaheim, CA, August 08–13, 2008.
  4. Why Diversify: The Link Between Diversity and Team Innovativeness

    Keywords: Diversity Characteristics; Innovation and Invention; Groups and Teams;

    Citation:

    Cheng, C. Y., D. Hsu, J. Martz, and R. Y.J. Chua. "Why Diversify: The Link Between Diversity and Team Innovativeness." Lecture at the Association for Psychological Science Annual Convention, May 22–25, 2008.
  5. The Devil Wears Prada: The Effect of Exposure to Luxury Goods on Ethical Decision Making

    Keywords: Luxury; Ethics; Decision Making;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., and X. Zou. "The Devil Wears Prada: The Effect of Exposure to Luxury Goods on Ethical Decision Making." Lecture at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, NM, February 01, 2008.
  6. Strong leaders empower less? The curvilinear effects of empowerment through choice on leadership perceptions

    Keywords: Leadership; Decision Choices and Conditions; Perception;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., and S. S. Iyengar. "Strong leaders empower less? The curvilinear effects of empowerment through choice on leadership perceptions." Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, August 03–08, 2007.
  7. The Tao of Choice in Leading: How empowerment through choice affects leadership perceptions

    Keywords: Leadership; Decision Choices and Conditions; Perception;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., and S. S. Iyengar. "The Tao of Choice in Leading: How empowerment through choice affects leadership perceptions." Paper presented at the Transatlantic Doctoral Conference, London Business School, May 01, 2007.
  8. Differential effects of affect, perceived newness, and perceived usefulness on creativity judgment

    Keywords: Creativity; Perception; Judgments;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., and S. S. Iyengar. "Differential effects of affect, perceived newness, and perceived usefulness on creativity judgment." Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, August 11, 2006–August 15, 2008.
  9. The effects of choice, goal, and creative self-efficacy on divergent thinking and creative outcomes

    Keywords: Goals and Objectives; Decision Choices and Conditions; Creativity; Outcome or Result;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., and S. S. Iyengar. "The effects of choice, goal, and creative self-efficacy on divergent thinking and creative outcomes." Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Honolulu, August 05–10, 2005.
  10. The effects of culture and network density on trust in Chinese vs American managerial networks

    Keywords: Culture; Networks; Management; Trust; China; United States;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., M. W. Morris, and P. Ingram. "The effects of culture and network density on trust in Chinese vs American managerial networks." Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Honolulu, August 05–10, 2005.
  11. Trust in the face of competitive and cooperative rewards

    Keywords: Trust; Motivation and Incentives; Cooperation; Competition;

    Citation:

    Ng, K. Y., Roy Y.J. Chua, and M. L. Chan. "Trust in the face of competitive and cooperative rewards." Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Honolulu, August 05–10, 2005.
  12. Dynamics of trust in guanxi networks

    Keywords: Trust; Networks;

    Citation:

    Chua, Roy Y.J., and M. W. Morris. "Dynamics of trust in guanxi networks." Paper presented at the National Culture and Groups Conference, January 01, 2005. (Published as a chapter in National Culture and Groups, edited by Ya-Ru Chen. Vol. 9 of the Research on Managing Groups and Teams series, Elsevier, July 2006.)
  13. Do I contribute more when I trust more? A study on two boundary conditions of trust

    Keywords: Trust; Decision Choices and Conditions;

    Citation:

    Ng, K. Y., and Roy Y.J. Chua. "Do I contribute more when I trust more? A study on two boundary conditions of trust." Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Seattle, August 01–06, 2003.