Creativity in Cross-Cultural Innovation Teams: Diversity and Its Implications for Leadership

  • Ricarda Bouncken
Part of the Knowledge and Space book series (KNAS, volume 2)

Firms are increasingly in need of their employees' creativity for delivering novel products to the global marketplace (West, 2002; Westwood & Low, 2003). Creative employees experiment with new ideas and concepts and thus contribute to the firms' success. Prior research has demonstrated that the diversity of team participants' knowledge, behavior, and values can promote creativity (Craig & Kelly, 1999; Kurtzberg, 2005; Milliken & Martins, 1996). Creativity through diversity can be amplified by team members' different national cultures as well. Such national cultural diversity also increases through improved market knowledge about the match between expectations and products delivered to customers of global markets. Thus, culturally diverse innovation teams are an option for coping with the challenge of globalizing markets. Despite these advantages of heterogeneity, however, firms are confronted with the negative consequences experienced in international teams whose members come from differing educational backgrounds. The diversity of national background can cause problems in interpersonal understanding and the work atmosphere—precipitating excessive disagreement, for instance—and can thereby adversely affect team moral and efficiency (Jehn et al., 1999), possibly dampening creativity.

In short, it is important to understand how cross-cultural diversity influences creativity and the innovation process. Yet research has sorely neglected these aspects. Comparative research on cross-cultural teams has focused on discovering intercultural differences within teams (Kirkman & Shapiro, 2005; Sagie & Aycan, 2003; Westwood & Low, 2003). One also finds studies on how one cultural dimension (e.g., collectivism) relates to competition between groups (Triandis et al., 1988) or to self-efficacy for teamwork (Eby & Dobbins, 1997). However, it has not been analyzed how a given constellation of cultural profiles affects creativity, innovativeness, and effectiveness.


Team Member Innovation Process Cultural Dimension Transformational Leadership National Culture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ricarda Bouncken
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für ABWL und OrganisationErnst-Moritz-Arndt UniversitätGreifswaldGermany

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