Advertisement

The Double-Edged Sword of Ethnic Similarity

Chapter
  • 901 Downloads
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Chinese Management book series (PSCMan)

Abstract

In this chapter, we focus on how ethnic identity affects interactions between expatriates and local employees when they share an ethnicity. A large number of overseas Chinese are working in China; yet how they view their shared ethnicity might be different from how local employees view it. Such divergent perspectives are one cause of the challenges ethnic Chinese expatriates face when interacting with local employees. We propose the concept of ethnic identity confirmation, defined as the level of agreement between how one party views the importance of his/her ethnic identity and how his/her ethnic identity is viewed by other people, as a key factor in expatriate-local employee interactions. We provide detailed analyses of how expatriates might perceive their own ethnic identity and why their view might diverge from that of local employees. Three studies were conducted to test the role of ethnic identity confirmation. Study 1 (N = 256) reveals that ethnic identity confirmation matters more among ethnically similar expatriates and local employees than among ethnically different pairs and that this also affects knowledge transfer between them. Study 2 (N = 154) and study 3 (N = 292) investigate local employees’ ethnic identity confirmation and reveal that local employees tend to share more information with ethnically similar expatriates who confirm their views of their own ethnic identity. Finally, we discuss the implications of our findings for expatriates and MNCs.

Bibliography

  1. Ashforth, B. E., & Johnson, S. (2001). Which hat to wear? The relative salience of multiple identities in organizational contexts. In Social identity processes in organizational contexts (pp. 31–48).Google Scholar
  2. Brewer, M. B. (1979). In-group bias in the minimal intergroup situation: A cognitive-motivational analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 86(2), 307–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chung, M. (2008). Shanghaied: Why Foster’s could not survive China. Melbourne: Heidelberg Press.Google Scholar
  4. Colquitt, J. A., Scott, B. A., & LePine, J. A. (2007). Trust, trustworthiness, and trust propensity: A meta-analytic test of their unique relationships with risk taking and job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(4), 909–927. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.92.4.909.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ellemers, N., & Barreto, M. (2006). Categorization in everyday life: The effects of positive and negative categorizations on emotions and self-views. European Journal of Social Psychology, 36(6), 931–942. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fan, S. X., & Harzing, A.-W. (2017). Host country employees’ ethnic identity confirmation: Evidence from interactions with ethnically similar expatriates. Journal of World Business 52(5), 640–652. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jwb.2017.05.001.
  7. Fan, S. X., Cregan, C., Harzing, A.-W., & Köhler, T. (in press). The benefits of being understood: The role of ethnic identity confirmation in knowledge acquisition by expatriates. Human Resource Managementhttps://doi.org/10.1002/hrm.21839.
  8. Gao, G., & Gudykunst, W. B. (1990). Uncertainty, anxiety, and adaptation. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 14(3), 301–317. https://doi.org/10.1016/0147-1767(90)90017-q.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Garnaut, J., & Liu, S. (2010). Stern sentenced to 10 years by Chinese court. Retrieved from http://www.theage.com.au/business/stern-sentenced-to-10-years-by-chinese-court-20100329-r7x0.html
  10. Goodall, K., & Warner, M. (1998). HRM dilemmas in China: The case of foreign-invested enterprises in Shanghai. Asia Pacific Business Review, 4(4), 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn. (2011). Ambassador Locke at residence press gathering. Retrieved from http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn/amb-locke.html
  12. http://www.bbc.co.uk. (2011). Obama names Gary Locke new US ambassador to China. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12672260
  13. http://www.Chinanews.com. (2014). 别了,骆氏家辉! Retrieved from http://www.chinanews.com/gn/2014/02-27/5892576.shtml
  14. http://www.news.ifeng.com. (2011, Auguest 14). 美华裔驻华大使骆家辉低调上任. http://www.news.ifeng.com. Retrieved from http://news.ifeng.com/gundong/detail_2011_08/14/8394740_0.shtml
  15. Lau, D., & Murnighan, J. (1998). Demographic diversity and faultlines: The compositional dynamics of organizational groups. Academy of Management Review, 23(2), 325–340.Google Scholar
  16. Ma, W., Ma, X., & Geng, Y. (2013). “千人计划” 学者回归的动因、学术优势与挑战. Qinghua Journal of Education, 31(1), 5.Google Scholar
  17. Markus, H., & Kunda, Z. (1986). Stability and malleability of the self-concept. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(4), 858–866.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Marques, J. M., & Yzerbyt, V. (1988). The black sheep effect: Judgmental extremity towards ingroup members in inter- and intra-group situations. European Journal of Social Psychology, 18(3), 287–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Oakes, P. J., Haslam, S. A., & Turner, J. C. (1994). Stereotyping and social reality. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  20. Selmer, J., Ling, E. S., Shiu, L. S., & de Leon, C. T. (2003). Reciprocal adjustment? Mainland Chinese managers in Hong Kong vs. Hong Kong Chinese managers on the mainland. Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, 10(3), 58–79. Google Scholar
  21. Shaffer, M. A., Kraimer, M. L., Chen, Y.-P., & Bolino, M. C. (2012). Choices, challenges, and career consequences of global work experiences a review and future agenda. Journal of Management, 38(4), 1282–1327. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206312441834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Swann, W. B., Rentfrow, P. J., & Guinn, J. S. (2003). Self-verification: The search for coherence. In M. R. Leary & J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Handbook of self and identity (pp. 367–383). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  23. Tajfel, H. (1981). Human groups and social categories. Cambridge: University Press Cambridge.Google Scholar
  24. Thite, M., Srinivasan, V., Harvey, M., & Valk, R. (2009). Expatriates of host-country origin: ‘Coming home to test the waters’. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 20(2), 269–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ting-Toomey, S. (2005). Identity negotiation theory: Crossing cultural boundaries. In W. B. Gudykunst (Ed.), Theorizing about intercultural communication (pp. 211–233). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  26. Tsui, A. S., Porter, L. W., & Egan, T. D. (2002). When both similarities and dissimilarities matter: Extending the concept of relational demography. Human Relations, 55(8), 899–929.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tung, R. L. (2008). Do race and gender matter in international assignments to/from Asia Pacific? An exploratory study of attitudes among Chinese and Korean executives. Human Resource Management, 47(1), 91–110. https://doi.org/10.1002/hrm.20199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tung, R. L. (2009). Cross-cultural research diary: A personal odyssey. European Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management, 1, 9–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tung, R. L. (2010). Keynote speech at the annual conference of Australian and New Zealand academy of international conference, Sydney.Google Scholar
  30. Tung, R. L., & Lazarova, M. B. (2006). Brain drain versus brain gain: An exploratory study of ex-host country nationals in Central and East Europe. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 17(11), 1853–1872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Turner, J. C. (1982). Towards a cognitive redefinition of the social group. Social identity and intergroup relations, 1, 15–40.Google Scholar
  32. Xinhua Net. (2011). 海归回国的诱惑——揭秘中国最高级别的人才计划. Retrieved from http://news.xinhuanet.com/overseas/2011-11/22/c_122316121_4.htm
  33. Yuan, W. (2007). Intercultural communication and conflict between American and Chinese colleagues in China-based multinational organizations. Doctoral dissertation, University of Kentucky, from ProQuest Information & Learning.Google Scholar
  34. Yang, Cheng. (2009). 吸引海外留学人才的政策与法律探讨. 太平洋学报, 1, 52–60. https://doi.org/10.3969%2fj.issn.1004-8049.2009.01.009. Retrieved from: http://www.cqvip.com/qk/90397x/200901/29430801.html

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ManagementRoyal Holloway University of LondonEghamUK
  2. 2.Middlesex UniversityLondonUK
  3. 3.RMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations