Bringing Worlds Together: Cultural Brokerage in Multicultural Teams
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CitationJang, Sujin. 2014. Bringing Worlds Together: Cultural Brokerage in Multicultural Teams. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractThis dissertation introduces and illuminates the phenomenon of cultural brokerage-- the act of managing cross-cultural interactions in multicultural teams. Across four studies, I develop and test a theoretical model of cultural brokerage, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. I find that members of multicultural teams who have relatively more cross-cultural experience actively engage in cultural brokerage, even without being appointed to do so. Specifically, cultural insiders (those who have deep knowledge of the culture of the other members on the team) and cultural outsiders (those who have deep knowledge of multiple cultures other than the ones represented in the rest of the team) both engage in cultural brokerage, albeit in different ways. Insiders are more likely than outsiders to broker by directly resolving cultural issues; outsiders are more likely to broker by facilitating interactions. Both types of brokerage enhance team effectiveness. A key insight of this dissertation is that while cultural outsiders are generally perceived as being far less valuable than cultural insiders, they are actually equally effective in improving team performance, and even outperform insiders when it comes to enhancing certain aspects of team viability. This work contributes to the literatures on global teams, multicultural individuals, and creativity. In addition, it provides practical implications for effectively composing and managing multicultural teams.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:12274592
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