Management International Review

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 697–720 | Cite as

Building bridges, windows and cultures: Mediating mechanisms between team heterogeneity and performance in global teams

  • Mary M. Maloney
  • Mary E. Zellmer-Bruhn


Abstract and Key Results
  • While research on teams shows evidence that heterogeneous composition and global dispersion creates difficulties, it has yet to holistically address how to over-come those difficulties without losing the intended benefits.

  • We describe four mechanisms to mediate the difficulties created by heterogeneous composition and global dispersion on global teams.

Key Words

Team Heterogeneity Performance Global Teams Global Dispersion 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adler, N. J., International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior, Boston: Kent Publishing 2002.Google Scholar
  2. Ancona, D. G./ Caldwell, D. F., Bridging the Boundary: External Activity and Performance in Organizational Teams, Administrative Science Quarterly, 37,4, 1992, pp. 634–661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Athanassiou, N./ Nigh, D., The Impact of the Top Management Team’s International Business Experience on the Firm’s Internationalization: Social Networks at Work, Management International Review, 42,2, 2002, pp. 157–181.Google Scholar
  4. Bartlett, C. A./ Ghoshal, S., Managing Across Borders: The Transnational Solution, Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press 1989.Google Scholar
  5. Begley, T. M./ Boyd, D. P., The Need for a Corporate Global Mind-Set, Sloan Management Review, 44,2, 2003, pp. 25–32.Google Scholar
  6. Birkinshaw, J./ Hood, N., Multinational Subsidiary Evolution: Capability and Charter Change in Foreign-Owned Subsidiary Companies, Academy of Management Review, 23,4, 1998, pp. 773–796.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, S. L./ Eisenhardt, K. M., Product Development: Past Research, Present Findings, and Future Directions, Academy of Management Review, 20,2, 1995, pp. 343–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Canney Davison, S., Creating a High Performance International Team, Journal of Management Development, 13,2, 1994, pp. 81–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cascio, W. F., Managing a Virtual Workplace, The Academy of Management Executive, 14,3, 2000, pp. 81–90.Google Scholar
  10. Chatman, J. A./ Polzer, J. T./ Barsade, S. G./ Neale, M. A., Being Different yet Feeling Similar: The Influence of Demographic Composition and Organizational Culture on Work Processes and Outcomes, Administrative Science Quarterly, 43,4, 1998, pp. 749–780.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cohen, S./ Gibson, C., Virtual Teams That Work, San Francisco, California: John Wiley and Sons 2003.Google Scholar
  12. Cramton, C. D., The Mutual Knowledge Problem and Its Consequences for Dispersed Collaboration, Organization Science, 12,3, 2001, pp. 346–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Denison, D. R./ Hart, S. L./ Kahn, J. A., From Chimneys to Cross-Functional Teams: Developing and Validating a Diagnostic Model, Academy of Management Journal, 39,4, 1996, pp. 1005–1024.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. DiStefano, J. J./ Maznevski, M. L., Creating Value with Diverse Teams in Global Management, Organizational Dynamics, 29,1, 2000, pp. 45–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dougherty, D., Interpretive Barriers to Successful Product Innovation in Large Firms, Organization Science, 3,2, 1992, pp. 179–202.Google Scholar
  16. Earley, P. C./ Mosakowski, E., Creating Hybrid Team Cultures: An Empirical Test of Transnational Team Functioning, Academy of Management Journal, 43,1, 2000, pp. 26–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Edmondson, A., Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Teams, Administrative Science Quarterly, 44,2, 1999, pp. 350–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Elron, E./ Shamir, B., Why Don’t They Fight Each Other? Cultural Diversity and Operational Unity in Multinational Forces, Armed Forces and Society, 26,1, 1999, pp. 73–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gibson, C. B./ Zellmer-Bruhn, M. E., Metaphors and Meaning: An Intercultural Analysis of the Concept of Teamwork, Administrative Science Quarterly, 46,2, 2001, pp. 274–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gupta, A. K./ Govindarajan, V., Cultivating a Global Mindset, Academy of Management Executive, 16,1, 2002, pp. 116–126.Google Scholar
  21. Hackman, J. R., Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances, Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press 2002.Google Scholar
  22. Hambrick, D. C./ Davidson, S. C./ Snell, S. A./ Snow, C. C., When Groups Consist of Multiple Nationalities: Towards a New Understanding of the Implications, Organization Studies, 19,2, 1998, pp. 181–205.Google Scholar
  23. Handy, C., Trust and the Virtual Organization, Harvard Business Review, 73,9, 1995, pp. 40–48.Google Scholar
  24. Jarvenpaa, S. L./ Knoll, K./ Leidner, D. E., Is Anybody out There? Antecedents of Trust in Global Virtual Teams, Journal of Management Information Systems, 14,4, 1998, pp. 29–64.Google Scholar
  25. Jarvenpaa, S. L./ Leidner, D. E., Communication and Trust in Global Virtual Teams, Organization Science, 10,6, 1999, pp. 791–815.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jehn, K. A./ Northcraft, G. B./ Neale, M. A., Why Differences Make a Difference: A Field Study of Diversity, Conflict, and Performance in Workgroups, Administrative Science Quarterly, 44,4, 1999, pp. 741–763.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lau, D. C./ Murnighan, J. K., Demographic Diversity and Faultlines: The Compositional Dynamics of Organizational Groups, Academy of Management Review, 23,2, 1998, pp. 325–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lau, D. C./ Murnighan, J. K., Interactions within Groups and Subgroups: The Effects of Demographic Faultlines, Academy of Management Journal, 48,4, 2005, pp. 645–659.Google Scholar
  29. Li, J./ Hambrick, D. C., Factional Groups: A New Vantage on Demographic Faultlines, Conflict, and Disintegration in Work Teams, Academy of Management Journal, 48,5, 2005, pp. 794–813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Marquardt, M. J./ Horvath, L., Global Teams, Palo Alto: Davies-Black Publishing 2001.Google Scholar
  31. Maznevski, M. L., Understanding our Differences: Performance in Decision-Making Groups with Diverse Members, Human Relations, 47,5, 1994, pp. 531–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Maznevski, M. L./ Chudoba, K. M., Bridging Space over Time: Global Virtual Team Dynamics and Effectiveness, Organization Science, 11,5, 2000, pp. 473–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Maznevski, M. L./ DiStefano, J. J., Global Leaders Are Team Players: Developing Global Leaders through Membership on Global Teams, Human Resource Management, 39,2/3, 2000, pp. 195–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McDonough, E. F. I./ Kahn, K. B./ Griffin, A., Managing Communication in Global Product Development Teams, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 46,4, 1999, pp. 375–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Meyerson, D./ Weick, K. E./ Kramer, R., Swift Trust and Temporary Groups, in Kramer, R. M./ Tyler, T. R. (eds.), Trust in Organizations, Thousand Oaks, California: Sage 1996, pp. 166–195.Google Scholar
  36. Murtha, T. P./ Lenway, S. A./ Bagozzi, R. P., Global Mind-Sets and Cognitive Shift in a Complex Multinational Corporation, Strategic Management Journal, 19,2, 1998, pp. 97–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Nkomo, S. M./ Cox, T. J., Diverse Identities in Organizations, in Clegg, S. R./ Hardy, C./ Nord, W. R. (eds.), Handbook of Organizational Studies, London: Sage 1996, pp. 338–356.Google Scholar
  38. Pelled, L. H./ Eisenhardt, K. M./ Xin, K. R., Exploring the Black Box: An Analysis of Work Group Diversity, Conflict, and Performance, Administrative Science Quarterly, 44,1, 1999, pp. 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schein, E. H., Organizational Culture and Leadership, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass 1985.Google Scholar
  40. Sherif, M., Superordinate Goals in the Reduction of Intergroup Conflict, American Journal of Sociology, 63,1, 1958, pp. 349–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Snell, S. A./ Snow, C. C./ Davison, S. C./ Hambrick, D. C., Designing and Supporting Transnational Teams: The Human Resource Agenda, Human Resource Management, 37,2, 1998, pp. 159–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Snow, C. C./ Davison, S. C., Use Transnational Teams to Globalize Your Company, Organizational Dynamics, 24,4, 1996, pp. 50–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Subramaniam, M./ Rosenthal, S. R./ Hatten, K. J., Global New Product Development Processes: Preliminary Findings and Research Propositions, Journal of Management Studies, 35,6, 1998, p. 773.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Swann Jr., W. B., Self-Verification: Bringing Social Reality into Harmony with the Self, in Suls, J./ Greenwald, A. G. (eds.), Social Psychological Perspectives on the Self, Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum 1983, pp. 367–383.Google Scholar
  45. Swann Jr., W. B., Self-Traps: The Elusive Quest for Higher Self-Esteem, New York: Freeman 1996.Google Scholar
  46. Swann Jr., W. B./ Kwan, V. S. Y./ Polzer, J. T./ Milton, L. P., Fostering Group Identification and Creativity in Diverse Groups: The Role of Individuation and Self-Verification, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29,11, 2003, pp. 1396–1406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Swann Jr., W. B./ Polzer, J. T./ Seyle, D. C./ Ko, S. J., Finding Value in Diversity: Verification of Personal and Social Self-Views in Diverse Groups, Academy of Management Review, 29,1, 2004, pp. 9–27.Google Scholar
  48. Tsui, A. S./ O’Reilly III, C. A., Beyond Simple Demographic Effects: The Importance of Relational Demography in Superior-Subordinate Dyads, Academy of Management Journal, 32,2, 1989, pp. 402–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Turner, J. C., Social Categorization and Self-Concept: A Social Cognitive Theory of Group Behavior, in Lawler, E. J. (eds.), Advances in Group Process: Theory and Research, Greenwich, Connecticut: JAI Press 1985, pp. 77–121.Google Scholar
  50. Watson, W. E./ Kumar, K./ Michaelsen, L. K., Cultural Diversity’s Impact on Interaction Process and Performance: Comparing Homogeneous and Diverse Task Groups, Academy of Management Journal, 36,3, 1993, pp. 590–602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Williams, K. Y./ O’Reilly III, C. A., Demography and Diversity in Organizations, in Staw, B. M./ Sutton, R. M. (eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior, Stamford, Connecticut: JAI Press 1998, pp. 77–140.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Gabler Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary M. Maloney
    • 1
  • Mary E. Zellmer-Bruhn
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ManagementUniversity of St. ThomasMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Strategic Management & Organization, Carlson School of ManagementUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

Personalised recommendations