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Give me a reason to stay: an examination of multicultural individuals’ ability and willingness to contribute to culturally diverse teams

Raheem, Salma (2018) Give me a reason to stay: an examination of multicultural individuals’ ability and willingness to contribute to culturally diverse teams. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Multicultural individuals, because of their multiple identity affiliations, have access to different cultural knowledge sets. Studies have shown them to have greater cognitive and behavioural flexibility compared to monocultural individuals. They are often claimed to be uniquely positioned to contribute to culturally diverse teams because of their access to multiple cultural schemas. However, there are limited empirical studies, especially using field data, that have tested this assertion. Addressing this gap, this thesis uses a mixed methods approach, in the context of a multicultural healthcare organisation in Bahrain, to investigate how multicultural individuals can influence diverse teams’ processes and performance. In the first study, perspective taking behaviour is hypothesised to be a key mediating mechanism by which multicultural individuals can impact diverse teams. Building off the category-elaboration framework, this study uses a longitudinal research design to test a conditional process model. Results highlight the importance of perspective taking as a key mediating mechanism and the moderating effect of organisational inclusive climate. Contrary to what is often theorised, multicultural individuals were not found to impact team dynamics. The second study uses a combination of qualitative methods and adopts an inductive approach to investigate the first-hand accounts of how multicultural individuals negotiate their everyday dynamics in diverse teams. This second study provides novel insights as to how a cultural learning orientation (not access to cultural schemas) becomes an integral part of a multicultural individual’s identity and influences their ability and willingness to contribute to diverse teams. Analysis of multiculturals’ experiences indicate the criticality of a learning organisational culture. As one of the key contributions of this thesis, I propose that future research on multiculturals’ potential impact in organisations needs to consider not just their ability to contribute to organisations, but also the conditions under which they are willing to do so.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Salma Raheem
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Management
Supervisor: Soane, Emma and Marsden, David

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