As Canadian as Hockey: Examining the Cultural Mosaic Approach to Multicultural Work Groups

17 Pages Posted: 20 May 2010

See all articles by Susan Brodt

Susan Brodt

Smith School of Business

Wendi L. Adair

University of Waterloo - Department of Psychology

Pylin Chuapetcharasopon

University of Waterloo

Terri R. Lituchy

Concordia University, Quebec - John Molson School of Business

Michelle Lowe

Smith School of Business

Abstract

The term “cultural mosaic” reflects Canadian social ideology regarding multiculturalism. Unlike a “melting pot” that emphasizes blending and abandonment of cultural heritage, a cultural mosaic describes a society in which cultural groups live and work together maintaining their unique heritages while being included in the larger fabric of society. This study empirically examines the meaning of this term extending it to the work group setting and exploring implications for group conflict and performance. Drawing on relevant literature, we define cultural mosaic as a characteristic of culturally diverse work groups in which members' distinct cultural heritages, values, and practices are mutually recognized and accepted by the group, and utilized in the group's activities. A survey of 85 Canadians working in multicultural groups tested their understanding, awareness, and preference for a mosaic (versus melting pot or homogenous groups) when given a choice, and the evidence of a mosaic in their work groups. Results show high awareness of the concept and strong preference for mosaic groups, particularly among those who are satisfied with their current multicultural work groups; those least satisfied were less aware of the mosaic concept and strongly preferred homogenous groups. Although respondents expressed positive attitudes toward their preferred type of group, and anticipated least interpersonal conflict in those groups, across the board respondents expected significantly higher levels of conflict in melting pot groups compared to either mosaic or homogenous groups. We discuss implications for research and theory on intra-group conflict and diversity, and for the practice of managing multicultural groups.

Suggested Citation

Brodt, Susan and Adair, Wendi L. and Chuapetcharasopon, Pylin and Lituchy, Terri R. and Lowe, Michelle, As Canadian as Hockey: Examining the Cultural Mosaic Approach to Multicultural Work Groups. IACM 23rd Annual Conference Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1611894 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1611894

Susan Brodt (Contact Author)

Smith School of Business ( email )

Smith School of Business - Queen's University
143 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Canada
613-533-3231 (Phone)
613-533-6847 (Fax)

Wendi L. Adair

University of Waterloo - Department of Psychology ( email )

200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1
Canada
519-888-4567 ext. 38143 (Phone)
519-746-8631 (Fax)

Pylin Chuapetcharasopon

University of Waterloo ( email )

Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1
Canada

Terri R. Lituchy

Concordia University, Quebec - John Molson School of Business ( email )

1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8
Canada
514-848-2924 (Phone)

Michelle Lowe

Smith School of Business ( email )

Smith School of Business - Queen's University
143 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Canada

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