The Effects of Team Composition on Multicultural Group Performance

By Jolanta Aritz and Robyn Walker.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Los Angeles and Southern California have become the hub of the United State’s economic, political, and cultural connection to the Pacific Rim. This region comprises large numbers of individuals, businesses, and cultural institutions with international linkages to China, South Korea and Japan. As a result, multicultural work teams of Asian and American origin are increasingly becoming a norm rather than an exception in the modern business climate of Southern California. Our study examines such multicultural teams and compares the interactions of four types of teams: homogenous teams composed of U.S.-born students; homogenous teams composed of Asian-born students; heterogeneous teams composed of a majority of U.S.-born students and a minority of Asian-born students; and heterogeneous teams composed of a majority of Asian-born students and a minority of U.S.-born students. Other studies have shown that personal variables and value diversity predict greater satisfaction and contribution levels than minority status alone. Our research further explores these concepts by looking at the effect of group composition on group performance and examines six non-verbal communication elements that are important for the functioning of multicultural groups. These are number of turns taken, number of words spoken, turn length, number of cooperative overlaps, number of backchannels, and latching per team member. We hope to contribute to the existing body of research in two ways: our study will add to our understanding of the influence of culture on decision making in cross-cultural teams composed of U.S.-born and Asian-born members and will have pedagogical implications regarding the way group work is taught to diverse student bodies and business professionals.

Keywords: Small Group Communication, Multicultural Communication, Intercultural Communication, Group Member Satisfaction, Group Member Contribution, Discourse Analysis

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.225-230. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 506.206KB).

Dr. Jolanta Aritz

Center for Management Communication, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Dr. Jolanta Aritz is an Associate Professor of Clinical Management Communication at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. She teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in business writing, cross-cultural business communication, academic writing and coaches students in the MBA and Ph.D. programs. Her research interests include crosscultural communication, small group interaction, and discourse analysis.

Dr. Robyn Walker

Assistant Professor of Clinical, Center for Management Communication, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Robyn Walker is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Management Communication at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She teaches undergraduate courses in business writing and communication and coaches students in the MBA and Ph.D. programs. Her research interests include cross-cultural communication, small group interaction, and pedagogy. She is the author of Strategic Business Communication: An Integrated, Ethical Approach (Thomson/Southwestern, 2006).

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