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Cultural Diversity and Team Performance: The Role of Team Member Goal Orientation

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As workforce diversity increases, knowledge of factors influencing whether cultural diversity results in team performance benefits is of growing importance. Complementing and extending earlier research, we develop and test theory about how achievement setting readily activates team member goal orientations that influence the diversity-performance relationship. In two studies, we identify goal, orientation as a moderator of the performance benefits of cultural diversity and team information elaboration as the underlying process. Cultural diversity is more positive for team performance when team members' learning approach orientation is high and performance avoidance orientation is low. This effect is exerted via team information elaboration.
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Cultural Diversity and Team Performance:
The Role of Team Member Goal Orientation
ANNE NEDERVEEN PIETERSE
Assistant Professor of HRM & Organizational Behavior
Department of Management & Organization
Faculty of Economics and Business Administration
VU University Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands,
E-mail: a.nederveenpieterse@vu.nl
and
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Rotterdam School of Management
Organization and Personnel Management
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Fax: +31 10 4089015
e-mail: anne_np@hotmail.com
DAAN VAN KNIPPENBERG
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Rotterdam School of Management
Organization and Personnel Management
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 10 4082538
Fax: +31 10 4089015
e-mail: dvanknippenberg@rsm.nl
DIRK VAN DIERENDONCK
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Rotterdam School of Management
Organization and Personnel Management
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 10 4089569
Fax: +31 10 4089015
e-mail: dvandierendonck@rsm.nl
We would like to thank Daan A. Stam for offering useful insights during the development of the manuscript.
Finally, we would like to thank Bennett J. Tepper and the reviewers for their valuable feedback.
CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND TEAM PERFORMANCE: THE ROLE OF TEAM
MEMBER GOAL ORIENTATION
ABSTRACT
As workforce diversity increases, knowledge of factors influencing whether cultural
diversity resultsin team performance benefits is of growing importance. Complementing and
extending earlier research, we develop and test theory about how the achievement setting
readily activates team member goal orientations that influence the diversity-performance
relationship. In two studies we identify goal orientation as a moderator of the performance
benefits of cultural diversityand team information elaboration as the underlying process.
Cultural diversity is more positive for team performance with higher learning approach
orientation and lower performance avoidance orientation. This effect is exerted via team
information elaboration.
Throughout the world the workforce is becoming more diverse in cultural background.
Because many organizations make use of teams as their basic structure, this has spawned
great attention to the effects of cultural diversity on team performance (Milliken & Martins,
1996; Jackson, Joshi, & Erhardt, 2003; Williams & O’Reilly, 1998). This research identified
cultural diversity as a double-edged sword (Milliken & Martins, 1996; Phillips, Northcraft, &
Neale, 2006), and suggested that identifying when teams are able to benefit from cultural
diversity a nd when cultural diversity may be detrimental is of great importance. Increasingly,
research has therefore called for theories that take into account contingencies of (cultural)
diversity’s effects (e.g., Joshi & Roh, 2009; Pelled, Eisenhardt, & Xin, 1999;van
Knippenberg & Schippers, 2007).To address these issues, the Categorization-Elaboration
Model (CEM; van Knippenberg, De Dreu, & Homan, 2004)was developed. TheCEM
proposes that the performance benefits of (cultural)diversity arise to the extent that diversity
engenders information elaboration the exchange, discussion, and integration of task-relevant
information and perspectives. The CEM also identifies a double challenge in this respect,
however. First, information elaboration does not automatically follow from cultural diversity,
but is contingent on team members’ motivated effort to mobilize the team’s diverse
informational resources. Second, cultural diversity may also engender intergroup biases that
invite a closing of the mind to the contributions of culturally different others, and thus disrupt
information elaboration. Viewed through the conceptual lens of the CEM, the challenge in
realizing the performance benefits of cultural diversity thus is to identify moderating
influences that motivate elaboration of diverse informational resources and prevent intergroup
biases that may stand in the way of elaboration.
Complementing and extending research in the moderators of the performance effects of
(cultural) diversity, we develop and test theory about team member goal orientations in the
relationship between cultural diversity and performance. Goal orientations capture
individuals’ motivational focus and self-regulatory strategies in achievement settings (Dweck,
1986). Because goal orientations are inherently tied to achievement situations, goal
orientations may play out in any setting in which cultural diversity’s effects on performance
may be relevant. They constitute a fundamental and universal influence in achievement
settings, and thus also an influence that may be broadly relevant to our understanding of the
diversity-performance relationship. As we argue in the following, goal orientation theory
suggests that team member goal orientations may speak to both the likelihood that members
are motivated to pursue the informational benefits of cultural diversity a nd the likelihood that
cultural diversity will give rise to intergroup biases thatdisrupt information elaboration.
Our goal orientation analysis is positioned within the framework of the CEM, but makes
a unique contribution within this framework and within the study o f the moderators of the
performance effects of diversity m ore broadly. Avariety of moderating influences has been
proposed and studied in this respect (Joshi & Roh, 2009; van Knippenberg & Schippers,
2007), but an underdeveloped aspect of these perspectives is the role of the achievement
context in which the diversity-performance relationship plays out. Research has recognized
that the performance benefits of diversity are more likely to emerge on more complex tasks
with stronger creative, problem-solving, and decision-making requirements (Jehn, Northcraft,
& Neale, 1999; van Knippenberg et al., 2004; cf. Joshi & Roh, 2009). Missing from this
perspective, however, is a recognition that not only relatively objective task characteristics
may play a role here, but also the motivational orientations that are invited by the
achievement situation. The basic fact that task performance is required can be expected to
trigger team member goal orientations, and different goal orientations invite different
approaches to task performance. This goal orientation perspective constitutes a shift in focus
that complements and extends earlier diversity research in an important way by a focus on the
motivational orientations and self-regulation strategies associated with achievement
situations. Because this analysis is firmly rooted in the CEM, the present study can also be
seen as a further development and test of the propositions advanced in the CEM and thus as a
further step in developing an integrative theory of the performance effects of team diversity.
THEORY AND HYPOTHESES
The Double-Edged Sword of Cultural Diversity
Team diversity offers a complex challenge because it has both the potential to benefit
and to disrupt team performance (van Knippenberg & Schippers, 2007; Williams & O’Reilly,
1998). Consistent with this broader perspective the CEM recognizes that at the basis of the
performance benefits of diversity lies the fact that it may form an informational resource.
Diverse backgroundsare associated with diverse information, knowledge, and perspectives,
and accordingly more diverse teams may bring together a larger and more diverse pool of
task-relevant informational resources for the team to draw from. Realizing the performance
benefits of diversity requires an effortful information elaboration process to integrate diverse
task-relevant information and perspectives. Information elaboration does not automatically
follow from team diversity, however. Diverse informational resources often remain “hidden”
because team members are insufficiently aware of the benefits of the exchange and integration
of information or insufficiently motivated to pursue this (Stasser, 1999; van Ginkel & van
Knippenberg, 2008). Developing an understanding of the conditions under which diversity
can be expected to yield performance benefits thus includes developing theory about factors
that motivate elaboration of diverse informational resources.
One influence here in particular is associated with diversity: differences between people
may invite social categorization distinguishing similar (ingroup) others from dissimilar
(outgroup)others, which may result in intergroup biases attitudinal and behavioral favoring
of ingroup over outgroup (van Knippenberg et al., 2004). Of particular relevance to the
performance benefits of diversity, intergroup biases may disruptinformation elaboration.
Theyma y invite a closing of the mind to dissimilar others, reducing the willingness to share
and discuss information and diverse perspectives, as well as a tendency to see diverse others
as less trustworthy and knowledgeable sources of information,and thus lead members to pay
less attention to diverse viewpoints even if they are shared. According to the CEM, these
intergroup biases do not automatically follow from differences between team members, but
are contingent on other factors (van Knippenberg et al., 2004). Thus, in understanding the role
of social categorization processes in disrupting information elaboration, identifying the
contingencies of these processes is highly relevant.
The CEM is not limited to any particular diversity attribute. One and the same diversity
attribute may both be associated with valuable informational resources that invite information
elaboration and engender intergroup biases that hamper information elaboration, and this in
principle holds for all diversity dimensions. In support of the CEM, evidence from the lab and
the field has established the key mediating role of information elaboration in the diversity-
performance relationship and the disruptive influence of social categorization processes on
this process for a range of diversity attributes (Homan, Hollenbeck, Humphrey, van
Knippenberg, Ilgen, & Van Kleef, 2008; Homan, van Knippenberg, Van Kleef, & De Dreu,
2007a; Kearney & Gebert, 2009; Kearney, Gebert, & Voelpel, 2009; Kooij-de Bode, van
Knippenberg, & van Ginkel, 2008).
Even so, diversity’s potential to both stimulate and disrupt team performance may hold
stronger for some diversity attributes than for others, and cultural diversity may b e the
diversity attribute for which the double-edged sword of diversity is most salient. Members of
cultural identity groups share certain worldviews, sociocultural heritage, norms, and values
(Cox, 1993; Ely & Thomas, 2001; Worchel, 2005). People from different cultural
backgrounds may therefore have different belief structures, priorities, perceptions,
assumptions about future events, beliefs about the role of information, and information
processing methods (Cox & Blake, 1991; Ely & Thomas, 2001; Hall, 1976; Maznevski, 1994;
Tsui & O’Reilly, 1989; cf. Hambrick & Mason, 1984; Pelled et al., 1999). These differences
may translate into different perspectives on the task and a focus on different information,
which may p roduce corresponding differences in knowledge. In line with the notion of
diversity as an informational resource, these differences in perspectives and information may
be a valuable resource for the team. However, the negative side of diversity may be salient in
culturally diverse teamstoo. People often hold well-developed stereotypes about people from
different cultural backgrounds that may invite intergroup biases favoring culturally similar
over dissimilar team members and invite a closing of the mind to the diverse perspectives
associated with cultural backgrounds. Cultural diversity may thus result in both the positive
and negative outcomes capturedin the CEM (Stahl, Maznevski, Voigt, & Jonsen, 2010).
It is a truism that the performance effects of diversity occur in contexts where
performance is on the agenda. Perhaps as a consequence of the obviousness of this fact,
diversity research to date has not engaged with the possibility that motivational orientations
associated with achievement contexts may play a role in the performance effects of diversity.
There has been attention to the moderating influence of task characteristics in the notion that
diversity is more likely to yield performance benefits the more the task is complex and has
strong requirements for creativity, problem-solving, and decision-making (Jehn et al., 1999;
van Knippenberg et al., 2004; cf. Joshi & Roh, 2009; van Knippenberg & Schippers, 2007).
Yet, one and the same achievement context may invite different task approaches contingent
on team member motivational orientations, and such orientations may thus affect the
influence of diversity o n performance. The analysis of such influences inherent to
achievement contextsis unexplored in diversity research. Outside of the diversity domain,
however, there is a prospering tradition of studying such motivational orientations through the
lens of the goal orientation framework (Payne, Youngcourt, & Beaubien, 2007; Porath &
Bateman, 2006;VandeWalle, Brown, Cron, & Slocum, 1999). Some goal orientations may be
particularly relevant to the role of diversity, because they can be expected to speak to
information elaboration directly as well as indirectly via their influence on intergroup biases.
Team Member Goal Orientations
Goal orientations reflect goal preferences in achievement contexts that affect
individuals’ actions and reactions (Dweck, 1986; Dweck & Leggett, 1988; VandeWalle, Cron,
& Slocum, 2001). Goal orientations are relatively stable individual differences even when
they ma y alsobe influenced by t he environment (Button, Mathieu, & Zajac, 1996; Murayama
& Elliot, 2009). As individual difference variables, goal orientations reflect four related but
distinct dispositions. The primary distinction here is between learning and performance
orientations. The secondary distinction is between approach and avoidance variants of these
orientations (Dweck, 1986; Elliot & Church, 1997; Elliot & Harackiewicz, 1996; Elliot &
McGregor, 2001; VandeWalle, 1997). Learning approach orientation is associated with a
focus on developing knowledge and increasing competence and performance evaluation
revolves around self-improvement or some absolute standard (i.e., one desires to improve in
comp arison with one’s earlier level of knowledge, expertise, or skills, or to obtain mastery of
a specific task). Learning avoidance orientation also has su ch a self-referent or absolute norm
for performance evaluation, but is a focus on avoiding a loss of knowledge and competence
(i.e., to avoid a decrease of one’s level of accomplishment compared to one’s earlier level of
knowledge, expertise, or skills, or avoid not mastering a task; e.g., avoid forgetting what one
has learned). Performance approach orientation is a focus on demonstrating competence by
outperforming others. Thus, the norm for performance evaluation is external comparison
with others. Performance avoidance orientation also reflects this other-referent performance
norm, but here the focus is on avoiding to perform worse than others the motivation here is
to avoid looking incompetent.
These four orientations can be expected to be moderately correlated because they share
communalities either in the focus on learning or performance, or in the focus on approach or
avoidance. Even so, they can exist independently from each other. Research has related
learning orientation to the belief that competence can be developed (incremental theory) and
has mainly related it to positive outcomes (e.g.,Payne et al., 2007). Most prior research on
learning orientation did not explicitly refer to approach or avoidance dimensions, but
consistently had an approach focus. Todate, little is known about the effects of learning
avoidance orientation as it is a relatively new conc ept and little examined (Cury, Elliot, Da
Fonseca, & Moller, 2006). Performance (approach and avoidance) orientationshave been
associated with the belief that ability is fixed (entity theory). Research has shownthat
performance avoidance orientation is dysfunctional for numerous outcomes, because it relates
to negative avoidance motivations such as fear of failure (e.g., Elliot & McGregor, 1999;
Kaplan & Maehr, 2007; Payne et al., 2007; Porath & Bateman, 2006). Performance approach
orientation reflects a focus on positive events in that it revolves around the motivation to
demonstrate one’s competence. Performance approach orientation is not so consistently linked
to positive outcomes as learning approach orientation, however, and may have positive as
well as negative effects (e.g., Elliot & McGregor, 1999; Harackiewicz, Barron, Pintrich,
Elliot, & Thrash, 2002; Kaplan & Maehr, 2007; Payne et al., 2007; Porath & Bateman, 2006).
The reason for this presumably is that the focus on demonstrating competence may also imply
a reduced motivation to engage with situations (and behaviors) in which the likelihood of
performing well is not particularly high (Elliot & Church, 1997).
Goal orientation theory has received substantial research attention at the individual
level, demonstrating its relevance for outcomes like task approach, motivation, and
performance (e.g., Elliot & Church, 1997; Payne et al., 2007; Phillips & Gully, 1997), and
establishing its applicability in organizational settings (Janssen & van Yperen, 2004; Payne et
al., 2007; Porath & Bateman, 2006; Sujan, Weitz, & Kumar, 1994; VandeWalle et al., 1999).
In line with a broader tradition in studyi ng personality and individual differences as team
composition variables (Bell, 2007) and in recognition of the fact that much of the work in
organizations is structured in teams, research has started to explore the effects of team
composition in terms of team member goal orientationson team functioning. These studies
have shown that team composition in goal orientation is related to team efficacy (Porter,
2005), backing up behavior (Porter, 2005), team commitment (Porter, 2005), team adaptation
(LePine, 2005) and performance (Nederveen Pieterse, van Knippenberg, & van Ginkel, 2011).
In the current study, we build on these earlier extensionsof goal orientation theory to
the team level as well as on individual level research that speaks to the present analysis in
terms of the information elaboration and social categorization processes associated with
cultural diversity. Based on an integration of this work with insights from the CEM, we
advance the proposition that team composition in terms of learning approach and performance
avoidance orientations moderatesthe relationship between cultural diversity a nd performance,
because these goal orientations speak to the relationship between diversity and information
elaboration directly as well as indirectly through their influence on the relationship between
diversity a nd intergroup biases. In our analysis we consider all four orientations, however, to
more firmly establish that the relationships we propose should be attributed to the unique
comb inations of learning and approach, and of performance and avoidance.
For individual differences as team composition variables, an important question is what
the appropriate aggregation model is (Barrick, Stewart, Neubert, & Mount, 1998). There
seems to be some consensus that the nature of the team task (disjunctive, conjunctive,
comp ensatory, or additive; Steiner, 1972) is a key consideration in this respect (Barrick et al.,
1998; Beersma, Hollenbeck, Humphrey, Moon, Conlon, & Ilgen,2003; LePine, 2003;
Neuman & Wright, 1999). The process of interest underlying the effects of cultural diversity,
information elaboration, at heart is an additive task in which the contributions of all team
members are required to achieve the highest levels of information elaboration. Accordingly,
an additive (i.e., mean) composition model is most appropriate to study the role of team
member goal orientation in the diversity-performance relationship (cf. van Knippenberg,
Kooij-de Bode, & van Ginkel, 2010). The issue we address here, thus,is how team
composition in terms of the average goal orientation of members affects the relationship
between cultural diversity and performance. We first consider the potential moderating
influence of learning approach and learning avoidance orientation, and subsequently consider
performance approach orientation and performance avoidance orientation.
Cultural Diversity and Learning Approach and Avoidance Orientation
Team members higher in learning approach orientation are interested in developing
their competence on tasks. As a result, they are inclined to put more effort into getting a
thorough understanding of the task (Fisher & Ford, 1998), and they make more use of deep-
level information processing (Dupeyrat & Mariné, 2005; Elliot, McGregor, & Gable, 1999;
Ford, Smith, Weissbein, Gully, & Salas, 1998; Harackiewicz, Barron, Tauer, Carter, & Elliot,
2000;Meece, Blumenfeld, & Hoyle, 1988; Phan, 2009; Radosevich, Vaid ya nathan, Yeo, &
Radosevich, 2004). The focus on gaining an in-depth understanding reflected in learning
approach orientation motivates team members to explore different perspectives within a team
and renders them more open-minded and more accepting of diverse points of view (Gully &
Phillips, 2005;Kroll, 1988). Learning approach oriented team members may also be
motivated by the challenges posed by working in culturally diverse teams where social
interaction and coordination may prove to be less self-evident, because challenging situations
are viewed as opportunities for learning and development (Ames, Ames, & Felker, 1977;
Ames & Archer, 1988; cf. Farr, Hofmann, & Ringenbach, 1993; LePine, 2005; Porter, 2005).
Thus, teams with members higher in learning approach orientation may be more likely to
engage in information elaboration when confronted with cultural diversity as members are
more motivated to explore the more diverse pool of information inherent in cultural diversity.
Because of the innate tendency t o engage in more deep-level information processing,
team members higher in learning approach orientation may throughout their lives also have
been less inclined to use superficial information processing heuristics such as categorizations
(cf. Chen & Chaiken, 1999; Fiske & Neuberg, 1990; Smith & DeCoster, 2000). Thus, for
these team members social categorizationsmay be less cognitively salient, and they may be
less likely to rely on social stereotypes in reacting to dissimilar others (Dweck, 1999; Levy,
Stroessner, & Dweck, 1998). This conclusion is corroborated by r esearch showing that
information-processing goals related to a target may diminish stereotyping of that target
(Pendry & Macrae, 1996). Moreover, research has shown that the basis of learning
orientation, the belief that people can change (incremental theory), is related to diminished
stereotyping (Dweck, 1999; Levy et al., 1998). As team members are higher in learning
approach orientation, intergroup biases may thus also be less likely to disrupt information
elaboration in culturally diverse teams.
In sum, individual-level goal orientation research suggests that individuals higher in
learning approach orientation may both be more likely to engage in in-depth information
processing and less prone to develop stereotypesand intergroup biases. These insights
integrated with the analysis advanced in the CEM thus suggest that the relationship between
cultural diversity and performance is more positive in teams with members higher in learning
approach orientation, because theyare more likely to engage in team information elaboration.
Hypothesis 1: The relationship of cultural diversity with team performance is
moderated by learning approach orientation, such that culturaldiversity is more
positively related to team performance for teams with members higher in learning
approach orientation.
The focus of learning avoidance orientation is on avoiding loss in terms of knowledge,
skills, and expertise (Elliot & McGregor, 2001). This focus may for instance motivate practice
to maintain skill levels, and to avoid “not learning”, but it is not clearly associated with an
intrinsic motivation to explore potential opportunities for learning and an eagerness for new
information and insights. The opportunities to expand one’s knowledge and perspectives
inherent to cultural diversity are more “hidden” (i.e., people often do not recognize that they
are there; cf. van Ginkel & van Knippenberg, 2008). As a result, in diverse teams learning
avoidance orientation is unlikely to motivate information elaboration to explore this
informational resource. At the same time, exploring the informational value of cultural
diversity is not a challenge actively avoided by learning avoidance oriented team members;
learning avoidance can not be expected to either motivate or reduce team elaboration of the
diverse perspectives associated with cultural diversity. In line with this argument, prior
individual level research showslittle impact of learning avoidance orientation on information
processing strategies (Elliot & McGregor, 2001; Kaplan & Maehr, 2007). Moreover, we do
not expect that team members’ learning avoidance orientation affects information elaboration
through intergroup bias. Learning avoidance orientation invites a focus on task mastery rather
than a concern with the social environment and thus neither invites individuals to look beyond
surface differences (i.e., which would reduce social categorization) nor to overly focus on
such differences (i.e., which would invite social categorization). In sum, we do not expect
learning avoidance orientation to moderate the role of cultural diversityin teams.
Cultural Diversity and Performance Avoidance and Approach Orientation
Team members higher in performance avoidance orientation are focused on avoiding
that others perceive them as incompetent. This invites team members with high performance
avoidance orientation to rely on true and tested routines and to stay clear of challenging tasks
that would offer the opportunity for learning and development, but also hold the risk of
appearing to fail (cf. LePine, 2005). Indeed, developing a thorough understanding of the task
is not their aim, which makes team members higher in performance avoidance orientation less
inclined to use deep-level information processing (e.g., Elliot & McGregor, 2001; Elliot et al.,
1999; Radosevich et al., 2004). Also, because of their concern with their relative
(in)competence, they m ay be more prone to feel threatened by differing perspectives and
therefore less motivated to explore them. Faced with the challenges introduced by working in
a culturally diverse team,members high in performance avoidance orientation may focus their
attention on these difficulties and on task-irrelevant thoughts such as concerns about ability
perceptions, instead of putting extra effort into the task (Dweck & Leggett, 1988; Elliot &
McGregor, 1999; Farr et al., 1993; cf. LePine, 2005). This may further result in defensive
behaviors such as task withdrawal or self-handicapping (Midgley & Urdan, 1995). This may
not only cause decreased performance due to a decline in task effort, but also due to decreased
utilization of diverse perspectives. Thus, groups with members high in performance avoidance
orientation are less inclined to elaborate on task-relevant information when working in a
diverse team and therefore the positive effects of cultural diversity are more likely in teams
with members lower in performance avoidance orientation.
Performance avoidance orientation may also feed into stereotyping and intergroup bias
that may d isrupt information elaboration in diverse groups. Team memberswith high
performance avoidance orientation are more likely to use superficial information processing
strategies (Elliot & McGregor, 2001; Elliot et al., 1999) such as categorization-based
heuristics (cf. Chen & Chaiken, 1999; Fiske & Neuberg, 1990; Smith & DeCoster, 2000).
Stereotypes may thus be more subjectively meaningful and salient to them.Because
performance avoidance orientation is associated with a fear of failure, intergroup bias may
also be more readily activated due to feelings of threat induced by t he challenges of working
in a culturally diverse team. Performance avoidance orientation is also related to
comp etitiveness. Due to the higher salience of social categories, this competitiveness may
shift from an individual focus to a subgroup focus, and intergroup competition has been
related to increased intergroup bias (Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000; Sassenberg, Moskowitz,
Jacoby, & Hansen, 2007). Moreover, the belief that people’s attributes are fixed is related to
performance orientation and has also been shown to relate to increased stereotyping (Dweck,
1999; Levy et al., 1998).
Thus, individual level goal orientation research suggests that individuals higher in
performance avoidance orientation may both be less likely to engage in in-depth information
processing and more likely to rely on stereotype-based perceptions. Integrating these insights
with the perspective provided by t he CEM, we propose the following hypothesis.
Hypothesis 2: The relationship of cultural diversity with team performance is
moderated by performance avoidance orientation, such that cultural diversity is more
positively related to team performance for teams with members lower in performance
avoidance orientation.
Performance approach orientation is not clearly associated with motivation to elaborate
on information or stereotyp ing and intergroup biases. The issue here is that the motivation to
demonstrate one's competence cannot be equated with the motivation for information
elaboration. Particularly relevant here is research in team’s use of diverse informational
resources that suggests that team members often do not recognize the importance of
information elaboration and as a result underuse their diverse informational resources (van
Ginkel & van Knippenberg, 2008, 2009). Where learning approach orientation motivatesteam
information elaboration through an intrinsic interest in new knowledge, performance approach
orientation thus does not. At the same time, a focus on performing well would not discourage
information elaboration either – the point is that the importance of elaboration to high-quality
performance often is insufficiently recognized, not that elaboration would be seen as a bad
thing (cf. van Ginkel & van Knippenberg, 2008, 2009). Corroborating this analysis, individual
level research shows that performance approach orientation is not related to deep-level
information processing (Elliot et al., 1999; Phan, 2009; Radosevich et al., 2004).
Performance approach orientation should also not affect information elaboration
because of increased or decreased stereotyping and intergroup biases. On the one hand,team
members high in performance orientation are more competitive and this may render them less
open to diverse perspectives. On the other hand, however,performance approach orientation
is associated with a focus on positive outcomes and high need for achievement. This may lead
team members to see challenges as opportunities (Porath & Bateman, 2006),which may be
beneficial to diverse teams. We expect that these effects counterbalance each other and
therefore performance approach orientation will not strongly affect the extent to which
information elaboration is hampered by stereotyping and intergroup bias in diverse teams.
Thus, we do not expect that performance approach orientation affects information elaboration
and thus performance of culturally diverse teams.
Even though we do not expect moderation by learning avoidance orientation and
performance approach orientation, we have included these aspects in our model to provide a
more co mprehensive test of the role of goal orientation in the effects of cultural diversity.
This also allows us to establish that the effect of performance avoidance orientation is specific
to performance avoidance and not to performance orientation or avoidance orientation more
generally and similarly that the effect of learning approach orientation is specific to learning
approach and not to learning orientation or approach orientation more generally.
METHODS STUDY 1
Sample and Procedure
Respondents in this study were students of a Dutch business school working on a
business simulation for aHuman Resource Management class. At the start of the course
students formed 4–person teams based on their own choice. These teams worked together
intensively over a period of three weeks. Each team represented a company and was to make
several decisions on how to run the company on a daily basis. At the start of the simulation
the teams wrote a business plan for their company. As a second assignment the teams were to
give extensive rationales for their decisions. Halfway through the simulation they wrote a
management audit on their performance and after the simulation they wrote an evaluation
report.
Before the simulation started surveys were sent out by email. Three hundred seventy six
usable questionnaires were returned (94% response rate). Twenty t wo teams with incomplete
data were deleted from the study, because team composition in goal orientation and culture
can only be reliably measured when all members of the team participate. Thus, only teams
with 100% response rate were included in the analyses. The remaining sample contained 79
teams and 312 students. Seventy three percent were male and mean age was 22.57 (SD =
2.06). Seventy five percent were Dutch, 5 % had a Surinamese background, 5 % Chinese, 3 %
Indonesian, 3 % Antillean, and the remaining 8 % were from various cultural backgrounds
(e.g., Moroccan, Serb, Vietnamese, etc.).
Measures
Goal orientation. Goal orientation was measured with an adjustment of the 12-item
questionnaire by Elliot and McGregor (2001), with 3 items for each goal orientation. Sample
items are “I want to learn as much as possible from studying at college” (learning approach),
“I am often concerned that I may not learn all that there is to learn in class(learning
avoidance), “It is important for me to do better than other students” (performance approach),
“My goal in my schoolwork is to avoid performing poorly” (performance avoidance) rated on
a 7-point scale ranging from 1 (totally disagree) to 7 (totally agree). Confirmatory factor
analysis showed that the intended four-factor structure fitted the data satisfactorily, •2=
127.09, df = 48, CFI = .94, GFI = .94, RMSEA = .07, p< .001. This model had a better fit
than a 2-factor solution with learning versus performance or approach versus avoidance, •2=
534.09, df = 53, CFI = .65, GFI = .75, RMSEA = .17, p< .001; ••2= 407.00, p< .001; 2=
384.35, df = 53, CFI = .76, GFI = .81, RMSEA = .14, p< .001; ••2= 257.26, p< .001.
Cultural diversity.Participants indicated their cultural background. The recommended
index for calculating diversity of categorical variables is Blau’s index of heterogeneity (Blau,
1977; Harrison & Klein, 2007): 1 • (Pi)2, where Pi is the proportion of a team’s members in
the ith category.51% of the teams were homogeneous, 29% had one member from a different
culture, 3% were half from one culture and half from another, 10% had two members from
one culture, one from another, and one from yet another, 8% were completely heterogeneous.1
Team performance.All assignments were graded on a 10-point scale based on strict
criteria by three human resource management experts employed by the school blind to the
teams and unaware of the research purpose. The rating criteria were carefully drafted by the
raters in close collaboration with the lead faculty of the course, until they were sufficiently
clear to reach perfect agreement on a subsample of assignments. Team performance was
determined by t he team’s performance on the four group assignments and the simulation. Z-
scores were calculated for each assignment and the simulation, and averaged into an overall
performance score.
Control variables.Member familiarity may affect team performance and diversity
effects (Gruenfeld, Mannix, Williams, & Neale, 1996; Phillips, Mannix, Neale, & Gruenfeld,
2004). In the present study member familiarity was also related to team performance.
1As in most demographic research our diversity measure was positively skewed. Therefore,
we tested our model with a log transformation to correct for skewness (following Tabachnick
& Fidell, 2001, we first added a constant so all values were above 0). This resulted in similar
findings. For reasons of comparability, we report the results for the uncorrected Blau’s index.
Therefore, we used member familiarity as a control variable. Respondents were to judge how
well they knew each team member on a scale from from 1 (not at all) to 5 (very well). These
scores were added together and aggregated to the team level to create a team familiarity score.
Some teams consisted of 3 members instead of 4. Therefore, we examined team size as
a control variable. Incorporating team size in our model did not alter our findings, and team
size was not related to performance. Therefore, we did not incorporate team size in our final
model. Variationsin goal orientation may affect team functioning (Nederveen Pieterse et al.,
2011). In the present study, however, the team SDs for each dimension of goal orientation did
not affect team performance, nor did it alter our findings. As these variables are beyond the
scope of the present studyand substantially enlarge our model, we decided to leave them out
of our final model. Even though cultural diversity is the most relevant diversity dimension to
test our theoretical rationale, this rationale is not specific to cultural diversity and may apply
to other typesof diversity. Therefore, one might argue for testing our model with other types
of diversity, such as age, gender, and functional background. In the present study this is not a
viable option for age and educational background, because our sample was very homogeneous
in these aspects. There is variation in gender, but gender issues play s uch a different role in
student populations that researchers have argued against studying gender diversity in these
populations (Kooij-de Bode et al., 2008). Because there is no reason to expect gender
diversity t o affect findings for cultural diversity, we did not control for gender diversityin our
final model, but controlling for gender diversity d oes not alter our findings.
RESULTS STUDY 1
Preliminary Analyses
Two outliers with extremely divergent combinations of scores on multiple variables
(multivariate outliers) were identified using mahalanobis distances,2= 29.86, p< .001; • 2=
30.06, p< .001.Mahalanobis distance is the distance of a case from the centroid of the
remaining cases and is recommended to identify multivariate outliers (Tabachnick & Fidell,
2001). As these cases may distort statistics, they were removed from analyses. The remaining
sample consisted of 77 teams.
Table 1 displays correlations among all variables. Only member familiarity was found
to correlate significantly with team performance. As expected the goal orientation dimensions
that overlap in overarching dimensions (approach versus avoidance or learning versus
performance)were moderately correlated. In addition, learning approach and performance
avoidance and learning avoidance and performance approach were positively correlated.2
Hypothesis Testing
We used hierarchical multiple regression to test our hypotheses. In the first step the
regression model included member familiarity, cultural diversity, and the aspects of goal
orientation. In the second step the interactions of each aspect of goal orientation with cultural
diversity were added. The second step had a significant added value over step 1.
The interaction between cultural diversity and learning approach orientation was
significant (see Table 2; Figure 1). To establish the nature of this interaction, we performed
simple slopes analysis (Aiken & West, 1991). When learning approach orientation was high
(plus 1 SD),cultural diversity was positively related to team performance,b= .96, = .45, p
< .05. Cultural diversity was negatively r elated to team performance when learning approach
orientation was low (minus 1 SD), b= -1.11, = -.52, p< .01. Hypothesis 1 is thus supported.
In support of Hypothesis 2 an interaction was found between cultural diversity and
mean performance avoidance orientation (see Table 2; Figure 2). Simple slopes analysis
showed that with low performance avoidance orientation cultural diversity was positively
related to team performance,b= .80, = .38, p< .05. Cu ltural diversity was negatively
2This may be caused by t he overarching goal-directed focus in achievement situations
inherent in all goal orientations which may be stronger in some people than in others.
related to team performance when performance avoidance orientation was high,b= -.95, = -
.45, p< .05. No interactions between cultural diversity and learning avoidance orientation or
performance approach orientation were found (see Table 2).3
DISCUSSION STUDY 1
Study 1 establishedmean goal orientations as moderatorsof theeffects of cultural
diversity in teams. As expected, the relationship of cultural diversity to team performance was
moderated byboth (mean) learning approach orientation (H1) and (mean) performance
avoidance orientation (H2). Cultural diversity was more positively related to team
performance for teams with high learning approach orientation or low performance avoidance
orientation. Building on the CEM, we argued that in these teams (high in learning approach
orientation or low in performance avoidance orientation) members are more motivated and
less hampered (by a tendency to employ i ntergroup bias) to elaborate on the enlarged pool of
information present in diverse teams. Although the results of Study 1 were in line with our
hypotheses, an important limitation of this study is that we were unable to test this underlying
process. Therefore, we conducted a Study2 to extend Study 1 findings with process evidence.
Study 2 used the same set-up as Study 1, with student teams in a business simulation,
because this again allowed us to ensure the very high response levels needed for the valid
study of diversity and team composition in individual differences. However, we were now in
the position to add a measure of team information elaboration to a small evaluation survey at
the end of the simulation. This allowed us to test the following hypotheses.
Hypothesis 3: Information elaboration mediates the interaction of cultural diversity and
3Bunderson and Sutcliffe (2003)found that collective learning orientation (as an attribute of
the team; see also DeShon, Kozlowski, Schmidt, Milner, & Wiechmann, 2004) was
curvilinearly related to team performance. Therefore, we also tested for a curvilinear effect of
mean learning approach orientation. However, this effect was not significant.
learning approach orientation on team performance, such that a positive relationship
between diversity and performance mediated by information elaboration only obtains
with higher learning approach orientation.
Hypothesis 4: Information elaboration mediates the interaction of cultural diversity and
performance avoidance orientation on team performance, such that a positive
relationship between diversity and performance mediated by information elaboration
only obtains with lower performance avoidance orientation.
METHODSSTUDY 2
Sample and Procedure
As in Study 1 respondents were students of a Dutch business school working worked
intensively for a period of three weeks in teams of four on a HRM business simulation. Before
the simulation surveys were sent by email to the students. Five hundred sixty six usable
questionnaires were returned (94 %response rate). At the end of the simulation another short
survey was administered to measure team information elaboration. Five hund red forty nine
usable questionnaires were returned (96 %response rate). Only teams with a 100 % response
rate for both surveyswere included in the analyses, resulting in the deletion of 41 teams. The
remaining sample consisted of 109 complete 4-person teams. 72.5 percent were male and
mean age was 21.5 (SD = 2.17). Seventy seven percent were Dutch, 5% had a Surinamese
background, 4% Chinese, 2% Indonesian, 2 % Moroccan, 1 % Antillean; the remaining 9%
were from various cultural backgrounds (e.g., Serb, Vietnamese, etc.).
Measures
Team information elaboration. A 3-item scale for team information elaboration was
used based on van Dick,van Knippenberg, Hägele, Guillaume,and Brodbeck (2008)and
Homan et al. (2007b).An example item is: “Team members discussed the rationales
underlying their ideas and viewpoints.”.
Goal orientation. Again, we measured goal orientation with the 12-item Elliot and
McGregor (2001) scale, and the team average for each dimensions was used as measure of
team goal orientation. CFA showed that the intended four-factor structure fitted the data
satisfactorily, •2= 127.45, df = 48, CFI = .96, GFI = .95, RMSEA = .06, p< .001, and better
than a 2-factor solution with learning versus performance or approach versus avoidance, 2=
880.22, df = 53, CFI = .53, GFI = .71, RMSEA = .19, p< .001; ••2= 752.77, p< .001; 2=
492.41, df = 53, CFI = .75, GFI = .84, RMSEA = .14, p< .001; ••2= 364.96, p< .001.
Cultural diversity. Blau’s index of heterogeneity was used for cultural diversity. 53% of
the teams were homogeneous, 25% had 1 member from a different culture, 2% were half from
one culture and half from another, 13% had 2 from one culture, 1 from another, 1 from yet
another, 7 % had each member from different culture.4
Team performance.Team performance was measured in the same way as in Study 1. It
was determined by the team’s performance on the four group assignments rated on the same
strict criteria by 3 experts, and the simulation. Z-scores were calculated for each assignment
and the simulation, and averaged into an overall performance score.
Control variables.As in Study 1 we added the same measure of member familiarity as a
control variable. Again variation in goal orientation and gender diversity were not added as
controls, but adding them did not alter our findings.
RESULTS STUDY 2
Preliminary Analyses
Table 3 displays correlations among all variables. Member familiarityand team
information elaboration were positively correlatedwith team performance. As expected, the
goal orientation dimensions that overlap in the overarching approach or avoidance dimensions
4As in Study 1, we tested our model with a log transformation to correct for skewness. This
again resulted in similar findings.
or overarching learning or performance dimensions were moderately correlated, except for
performance approach and performance avoidance orientation. We again also found a positive
correlation between performance avoidance and learning approach orientations.
Hypothesis Testing
We used the bootstrapping method of Preacher, Rucker, and Haye s (2007) to test the
conditional indirect effect of cultural diversity through team information elaboration with high
learning approach orientation and low performance avoidance orientation on team
performance. Table 4 displays the regression coefficients for our first stage moderation model
(Edwards & Lambert, 2007) and the results of our hypothesis testing. Because we tested
directional hypotheses firmly rooted in Study 1 findings and interactions are underestimated
in survey research, we relied on one-sided testing (cf. Harrison, Price, & Bell, 1998). With
high learning approach orientation a positive conditional indirect effect was found of cultural
diversity o n team performance through team information elaboration, in line with Hypothesis
3. With low learning approach orientation the conditional indirect effect of cultural diversity
through information elaboration was not significant (see Table 4, Figure 3). In line with
Hypothesis 4, we also found a positive conditional indirect effect through team information
elaboration with low performance avoidance orientation.No indirect effect on team
performance was found with high performance avoidance orientation (see Table 4, Figure 4).
Next, we usedthe Preacher and Hayes (2008) method to test the indirect effect of the
interaction of cultural diversity with learning approach orientation and performance avoidance
orientation on team performance through information elaboration. The model had significant
variance explained (R2= .21, p= .01). The indirect effect of the interaction of learning
approach orientation with cultural diversity on performance through information elaboration
was significant (see Table 4), in support of Hypothesis 3. Also the indirect effect through
information elaboration of the interaction of performance avoidance orientation with cultural
diversity was significant (see Table 4), in support of Hypothesis 4.
Graphical depictions of the effects with high and low learning approach orientation and
high and low performance avoidance orientation can be found in Figure 5a, 5b, 6a, and 6b.
Only with high learning approach orientation and low performance avoidance orientation was
diversity p ositively related to elaboration, which in turn was related to performance.
GENERAL DISCUSSION
Goal orientations are inherently triggered by achievement settings and may thus be quite
universal influencesin the relationship between cultural diversity and team performance.
Building on the conceptual framework provided by the CEM, we developed theory to capture
the moderating influences of these motivational orientations in the diversity performance
relationship, and found that cultural diversity is more positively related to team performance
when members have higher learning approach orientation, and when members have lower
performance avoidance orientation. In line with the key role the CEM accords to information
elaboration in mobilizing diversity as an informational resource, we also established that these
influences are mediated by team information elaboration. These findings complement and
extend research in team diversity, and the CEM in particular, and moreover hold clear
implications for the management of the double-edged sword of cultural diversity.
Theoretical Implications
The evidence for the moderating role of goal orientation in the effects of cultural
diversity mediated by information elaboration provides further support for the CEM as an
integrative framework to understand the performance effects of team diversity. At the same
time, the current study also is an important extension of this perspective by adding a focus on
the motivational orientations and associated self-regulatory strategies that are inherently
triggered by achievement situations. An understanding of the influence of the achievement
context is underdeveloped in diversity research, and the goal orientation perspective suggests
that there is value in further development of this element of the analysis.
In this respect, one particularly interesting and relevant aspect of the goal orientation
framework is that goal orientations not only are traits, but also have a state aspect that can be
triggered by contextual influences. These influences could thusexert a moderating effect in
the relationship between cultural diversity a nd performance. Research has shown that several
variables may affect an individual’s goal orientation. For example, normative feedback
(performance relative to others) may heighten performance orientation of employees relative
to self-referent feedback systems (Farr et al., 1993). A similar argument can be made for
reward systems. In addition, leaders may instigate higher learning approach or lower
performance avoidance orientationsthrough goal setting or creating learning (approach)
oriented work group climates or preventing performance avoidance climates (Dragoni, 2005).
Viewed from this perspective of contextual influences on goal orientations, it may also
be fruitful to extend the goal orientation perspective by d eveloping bridges with related
literatures. Future research may for example study whether an error management culture as
opposed to error prevention culture (Frese, 1991; Van Dyck, Frese, Baer, & Sonnentag, 2005)
may help reap the benefits of cultural diversity, as the former type of culture reflects a focus
on learning from errors (cf. learning approach), whereas the latter reflects a focus on
preventing errors (cf. performance avoidance). Thus, a team’s or organization’s perspective
on errors may moderate the diversity-performance relationship because it impacts team goal
orientations. These suggestions for future research illustrate the wide applicability o f the goal
orientation perspective on the diversity-performance relationship.
We focused our analysis on cultural diversity because of the great relevance to
organizations and because cultural diversity perhaps most strongly represents the double-
edged sword of diversity. Even so, our analysis with its strong roots in the CEM builds theory
that should also apply to other diversity attributes. Thus, in further developing the goal
orientation perspective on the diversity-performance relationship it would be valuab le to also
address other diversity dimensions than cultural diversity.
The current studyis not only relevant to diversity, but also to team composition in goal
orientations. The present study was the first to examine team composition in the full four-
factor model of goal orientation. Previous studies only examined the broader categories of
learning and performance orientation (LePine, 2005; Nederveen Pieterse et al., 2011; Porter,
2005). Furthermore, the finding that goal orientationscan affect the way groups deal with
diversity is an important extension of our understanding of the impact of goal orientationsin
teams. Previous research has shown that mean goal orientation can affect team processes such
as team efficacy and commitment, but did not find effects on team performance (e.g.,
Nederveen Pieterse et al., 2011; Porter, 2005). The present study suggests that the latter
relationship may be contingent on other factors such as team diversity. Learning orientation
may only be useful for teams to the extent that deep information processing is valuable, which
corresponds to arguments made by previous authors that learning orientation may be mainly
beneficial for new and relatively complex tasks or when individuals need to adapt to changing
circumstances (LePine, 2005; Seijts, Latham, Tasa, & Latham, 2004; VandeWalle et al.,
2001). The impact of performance avoidance orientation on team performance may also
depend on the need for extensive information processing or on the harmfulness of
comp etitiveness and fear of failure. This opens up interesting research opportunities. For
example,performance avoidance may be more harmful in situations where intense
cooperation between team members is needed. Learning orientation may be more
advantageous for teams working on tasks with distributed information where information
elaboration is particularly important (cf. van Ginkel & van Knippenberg, 2008).
Most goal orientation research has focused on individuals and how they deal with their
task. However,people often function in social environments and the way people respond to
othersmay also be affected by goal orientations(Darnon, Butera, & Harackiewicz, 2007).
This has led researchers to argue that not enough attention has been paid to the role of goal
orientation in social contexts (Darnon et al., 2007; Janssen & van Yperen, 2004). The present
study contributes to this relatively unexplored area in the literature by demonstrating that goal
orientationsmay affect the impact of team members’ social environment (i.e., team cultural
diversity), on team functioning. Integrating these insights with earlier findings that in dyadic
relationships learning oriented individuals have higher quality relationships with their leaders
(Janssen & van Yperen, 2004), future research may for instance examine whether this effect is
more pronounced when the leader has a different cultural background.
The present study shows that individual differences may play an important role in the
effects of cultural diversity. Only recently research started to explore the role of individual
differences in the effects of team diversity b y s howing that mean openness to experience and
need for cognition may help improve the effects of age, gender, and educational diversity
(Homan et al., 2008; Kearney et al., 2009). We extend these prior findings as we show that
individual differences may also affect the role of cultural diversity. More importantly though,
goal orientation theory is more specific to achievement settings as organizations and may
therefore be more relevant to diversity’s performance effects. Also, goal orientation theory
has a more comprehensive theoretical framework that allows us to bridge dispositional and
situational influences, which opens up interesting research and management opportunities
(Button et al., 1996). We also extendthis earlier work by showing that individual differences
may also be detrimental for diverse teams (i.e., performance avoidance orientation).
Practical Implications
The present findings corroborate arguments that limiting diversity is not only unfair and
unwise through missing out on valuable employees, but may also cause organizations to pass
up on the competitive advantage cultural diversitymay hold. The present study suggests that
for this purpose it may be valuable to select employees based on their goal orientations.
Previous research has argued that selection based on low performance avoidance orientation
or high learning (approach) orientation may be useful (e.g., VandeWalle et al., 1999). We
show that this may hold more strongly for culturally diverse teams.
Managing how teams deal with diversity m ay determine whether organizationsrealize
the benefits of adiverse workforce. Because goal orientation can be influenced by situational
factors (Button et al., 1996), the present study points to options for dealing with diversity that
differ from the more commonly proposed methods. Within the literature cultural diversity is
argued to be more positively related to performance when a team has a shared superordinate
identit yor sees itself as separate individuals (Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000). However, these
strategies have disadvantages. They may be difficult to apply, induce identity threat, or may
only be able to negate the detrimental effects of diversity b ut no t to stimulate its positive
effects, and thus may be suboptimal or even counter-productive (Swann, Polzer, Seyle, & Ko,
2004). Our findings indicate that to stimulate positive and preventing negative consequences
of cultural diversity, it is not necessary to focus on social or cultural identities directly:
organizations can focus on the goal orientationsof the members of culturally diverse teams.
Inducing high learning approach orientation and preventing performance avoidance
orientation may help teams deal with cultural diversity. Possible ways to do this may be
emphasizing the importance of team and personal development, de-emphasizing competition,
and creating an environment where employees feel secure and mistakes are seen as learning
opportunities and are not punished. This can be highlighted by training and appropriate
comp ensation and feedback systems (Farr et al., 1993, VandeWalle et al., 1999). In addition,
leaders may be made aware of the role of goal orientation in teams through training as well as
learn how to influence goal orientations.
Limitations and Future Research
Alimitation of our study is the use of student samples. This had the clear and crucial
advantage of enabling us to achieve the very h igh response rates needed to validly study
effects of team composition in trait variables.For diversity and team composition in terms of
individual differences, scores of one team member cannot be expected to converge with
scores of another, which means that any missing response is a threat to the validity. Despite
its limitations, the student team context provides us with the opportunity to work with 100%
response per team, and thus measures of team composition of very high validity.
To maximize generalizability to organizations, we useda task similar to work in
organizations for which performance is personally relevant (significant part of course grade).
Furthermore, it is unlikely that students differ from other populations in their behavior in
achievement settings (e.g., Brown & Lord, 1999; Dipboye, 1990; Locke, 1986), and previous
research has shown that both goal orientation theory (e.g., Janssen & van Yperen, 2004;
Porath & Bateman, 2006; VandeWalle et al., 1999) and the CEM (Kearney & Gebert, 2009;
Kearney et al., 2009) applyto organizational settings. Moreover, research has shown that goal
orientation effects should be even more pronounced with older samples (Utman, 1997). Even
so, replicating the current findings in an organizational setting would be valuable.
Another limitation of our study is inherent to the study of cultural diversitywhere
minority groups have low representation in research populations. This may cause restriction
of range in diversity. In our study too a large part of the sample consisted of majority
members and there were more teams at the lower end of the diversity spectrum. However,
there was no restriction of range in our samples; both studies includedfully diverse teams.
Testing our model with a correction for skewness also did not alter our findings. Thus,
although the distribution for diversity was not perfectly normal, it did not bias our results.
In both studies performance avoidance orientation had a relatively low Cronbach alpha.
A possible explanation for this is the small number of items. While we acknowledge that
higher alphas would have been better, a lower alpha enlarges error variance and thus yields
more co nservative tests. Thus, the lower alpha should pose no threat to the validity of our
conclusions (i.e., it might more plausibly explain the absence of a relationship). Therefore,
we conclude the reliability w as sufficiently high to warrant our conclusions.
We also note that whereas we did assess the primary mediating process identified in the
CEM (information elaboration), we did not assess intergroup biases as an influence standing
in the way of elaboration. This means that the evidence can only indirectly speak to
intergroup biases (i.e., as implied by elaboration data). Inclusion of a measure of intergroup
bias (e.g., interpersonal liking) would have been added value for the current analysis.
Finally, because we useda survey design we cannot draw conclusions about causality.
However, the reversed pattern is unlikely in the present study, because cultural background is
a demographic variable and goal orientations were measured as a trait variable before teams
started. Even so, future experimental research would be valuable in this respect.
Conclusion
With today’s increasingly diverse workforce, the ability to manage the double-edged
sword of cultural diversity is of ever greater importance to organizations. The finding that
team members’ goal orientations play a role in how culturally diverse teams profit from their
diversity b y elaborating on their enhanced pool of information is particularly interesting from
that perspective. Not only does it allow us to build new theory by linking the effects of
diversity t o the orientations team members take in engaging with the job at hand, it also points
to what is arguably an aspect of teams that is more manageable than many of the other factors
implicated as moderators of the influence of diversity. Developing our understanding of the
role of goal orientations in the effects of team diversity ma y thus be a particularly worthwhile
avenue of research both from a theoretical and an applied perspective.
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TABLE 1
Descriptive Statistics and Correlations Among the Variables Study 1
Variable MSD 123456
1Familiarity2.85 0.91 -
2Cultural diversity 0.24 0.27
-
.25*-
3Learning approach 5.30 0.50 .03 .11
(
.76)
4Learning avoidance 4.16 0.72
-
.07 .18 .25*
(
.86)
5Performance approach 4.29 0.73 .11
-
.03 .54** .26*
(
.85)
6Performance avoidance 4.37 0.61 .15 .07 .39** .56** .32**
(
.60)
7Team Per formance 0.00 0.57 .26*
-
.10
-
.05
-
.10 .13 .03
Note. Cronbach alphas are reported on the diagonal between brackets
N= 77
*p< .05
**p< .01
TABLE 2
Hierarchical Regressions Study 1
Step 1 Step 2
Variable bSE b t b SE b t
Familiarity.14 .08 .22 1.79 .16 .07 .25 2.10 *
Cultural diversity -.01 .25 -.01 -.05 -.08 .23 -.04 -.32
Learning approach -.19 .16 -.16 -1.16 -.06.15 -.06 -.41
Learning avoidance -.11 .11 -.14 -1.02 -.17 .11 -.21 -1.53
Performance approach .16 .11 .21 1.51 .25 .11 .32 2.39 *
Performance avoidance .07 .14 .08 .51 .04 .13 .04 .32
Learning approach * cultural diversity 2.05 .58 .43 3.52 **
Learning avoidance * cultural diversity -.05 .46 -.02 -.11
Performance approach * cultural diversity .45 .38 .17 1.20
Performance avoidance * cultural diversity -1.43 .50 -.40 -2.86 **
= . 11 for Step 1; •R² = .33* for Step 2
N= 77
p< .10
* p< .05
** p< .01
TABLE 3
Descriptive statistics and correlations among the variables Study 2
Variable
M
SD 123456 7
1Familiarity 3.28 0.91 -
2Cultural diversity 0.24 0.27
.13 -
3
M
Learning approach 5.21 0.50 .06 .13
(
.73)
4
M
Learning avoidance 4.19 0.65
.09 .30** .24 *
(
.85)
5
M
Performance approach 4.47 0.61 .22*-.14 .30** .10
(
.84)
6
M
Performance avoida nce 4.44 0.65
.03 .28** .26** .38** .13
(
.63)
7Team information elaboration 3.46 0.54 .04 .15 .22*.16 .02 .17
(
.70)
8Team performance 0.00 0.52 .22*-.06 .12
-
.03 .06
-
.08 .30**
Note. Cronbach alphas are reported on the diagonal between brackets
N= 109
*p< .05
**p< .01
TABLE 4
Mediation analysis Study 2
aXaZ1 aZ2 aXZ1aXZ2aMR2
Team information elaboration ac .07 .11*.00 .07-.12*.13
Team performance bc -.04 .29** .14
Indirect effect of interaction with
cultural diversity on performance
through information elaboration
Conditional indirect effect of cultural
diversity on performance through
information elaboration
BC CIeBC CIe
Point
estimate SE Lower Upper
Point
estimate SE Lower Upper
Low .00 .03 -.0423 .0411Learning approach .02 .01 .0002 .0483
High .04 .03 .0063 .0926
Learning avoidance -.00 .02 -.0357 .0289
Performance approach -.01 .01 -.0395 .0060
Low .05 .03 .0054 .1191Performance avoidance -.03 .02 -.0725
-
.0051
High -.01 .02 -.0521 .0206
aBased on the regression equation for the first stage moderation model (Edwards & Lambert, 2007) M = a + aFF + aXX + aZ1Z1+ aXZ1XZ1+
az2Z2+ aXZ2XZ2+ az3Z3+ aXZ3XZ3+ az4Z4+ aXZ4XZ4+ eM. Where F is Familiarity, X is cultural diversity, Z1is Learning approach orientation,
Z2 isPerformance avoidance orientation, Z3is Learning avoidance orientation, and Z4 is Performance approach orientation.
bBased on the regression equation for the first stage moderation model (Edwards & Lambert, 2007) Y = a+ aFF+ aXX + aMM + eY4. M is team
information elaboration.
c Only those estimates relevant for our mediation analyses are portrayed. Other values can be requested from the authors. When cells are empty
they are not part of the respective equation.
N= 109
p< .10
*p< .05
**p< .01
e90% confidence interval
FIGURE 1
The interaction between cultural diversity and learning approach orientation on
team performance
-0,8
-0,6
-0,4
-0,2
0
0,2
0,4
0,6
0,8
homogeneous diverse
Team performance
Cultural background
low learning approach high learning approach
FIGURE 2
The interaction between cultural diversity and performance avoidance
orientation on team performance
-0,8
-0,6
-0,4
-0,2
0
0,2
0,4
0,6
0,8
homogeneous diverse
Team performance
Cultural background
low performance avoidance high performance avoidance
FIGURE 3
The interaction between cultural diversity and learning approach orientation on
team information elaboration
3,1
3,2
3,3
3,4
3,5
3,6
3,7
3,8
3,9
homogeneous diverse
Team information elaboration
Cultural background
low learning approach high learning approach
FIGURE 4
The interaction between cultural diversity and performance avoidance
orientation on team information elaboration
3,1
3,2
3,3
3,4
3,5
3,6
3,7
3,8
3,9
homogeneous diverse
Team information elaboration
Cultural background
low performance avoidance high performance avoidance
FIGURE 5a
Indirect effect with low learning approach orientation
N= 109
*p< .05
**p< .01
FIGURE 5b
Indirect effect with high learning approach orientation
N= 109
*p< .05
**p< .01
.29
**
Cultural diversityTeam information
elaboration Team performance
.00
Cultural diversityTeam information
elaboration
Team performance
.14
*
.29
**
FIGURE 6a
Indirect effect with low performance avoidance orientation
N= 109
*p< .05
**p< .01
FIGURE 6b
Indirect effect with high performance avoidance orientation
N= 109
*p< .05
**p< .01
Cultural diversityTeam information
elaboration
Team performance
.19
*
.29
*
*
Cultural diversity Team information
elaboration
Team performance
-.05 .29
**
Anne Nederveen Pieterse (a.nederveenpieterse@vu.nl) is assistant professor of Human
Resource Managementand Organizational Behavior at the VU UniversityAmsterdam (as of
Augu st 2012; she is assistant professor of Organizational Behavior at the Rotterdam School of
Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam). She has a Ph.D. from Rotterdam School of
Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her research interests include teams, goal
orientation, diversity, innovation, and leadership.
Daan van Knippenberg (dvanknippenberg@rsm.nl) is professor of organizational behavior,
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. He has a Ph.D. from Leiden
University. His research interests include leadership, diversity, creativity, and social identity.
Daan is Editor-in-Chief of Organizational Psychology Review and Associate Editor of Journal
of Organizational Behavior.
Dirk van Dierendonck (DvanDierendonck@rsm.nl) is Associate Professor of Organizational
Behavior at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. He received his PhD in
organizational psychology from the Utrecht University. His current research focuses on servant
leadership, human resource management and positive organizational scholarship.
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