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Wilfrid Laurier University School of Business & Economics
April 21, 2014
 
 
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Business: Organizational Behaviour/Human Resource Management (OB/HRM) Area

Research Tidbit: Cultural Intelligence Helps Culturally Heterogeneous Teams, But It Hurts Culturally Homogeneous Teams!

New Research from Dr. Ivona Hideg (OB/HRM)

May 24/13

As business and society become increasingly diverse, the multicultural team has become a reality of everyday work life and understanding what predicts success of such teams has been of ultimate importance. Cultural intelligence (CQ), a cultural competence defined as a personís capacity to function effectively in settings characterized by cultural diversity, has emerged as an important predictor in cross-cultural interactions. Is CQ important for team work and does it always lead to positive outcomes?

To answer this question, new research from Dr. Ivona Hideg (Wilfrid Laurier University), Dr. Wendi Adair (University of Waterloo), and Dr. Jeffrey Spence (University of Guelph) examined the effect of CQ on the development of shared team values in culturally heterogeneous and homogeneous teams. In culturally heterogeneous teams, high CQ of team members facilitated the development of shared values and understanding within the team. By contrast, in culturally homogeneous teams, high CQ of team members undermined the development of shared values. Thus, in contrast to popular belief and past research that CQ leads to universally positive outcomes, this research suggests that high levels of CQ may be detrimental in culturally homogeneous teams. This research has important implications for group work, cross-cultural interactions, and cross-cultural training. 

For more information about this research, please contact Dr. Ivona Hideg (ihideg@wlu.ca).

The full article is forthcoming at Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology

Adair, W. L., Hideg, I., & Spence, J. R (forthcoming). The culturally intelligent team: The impact of team cultural intelligence and cultural heterogeneity on team shared values. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.

Abstract:
This study examines how the cultural heterogeneity of work teams moderates the way in which team cultural intelligence (CQ) affects the development of team shared values.  Utilizing the four-factor model of CQ, we predict how each facet of CQ will impact the development of shared values in relatively early stages of team development differently for culturally homogeneous versus culturally heterogeneous work teams.  We operationalize team shared values as the degree to which a broad set of cultural values are similarly endorsed by team members as guiding principles when working in their team.  Results show that both behavioral and metacognitive CQ had a positive effect on shared values in culturally heterogeneous teams, however motivational and metacognitive CQ had a negative effect on shared values in culturally homogeneous teams.  All effects were observed in the early stages of team development.  Having uncovered both positive and negative effects of CQ for shared values in work teams, we discuss implications for theory and practice around this form of cultural competence.

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