National Diversity and Conflict in Multinational Workgroups: The Moderating Effect of Nationalism
41 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2006
In this article, we develop a theory to explain how national diversity within a workgroup can lead to intra-group conflict, and how this effect may be exacerbated in the presence of nationalistic attitudes. We define and discuss what national diversity is and why it is relevant to multinational organizations. We then construct a multi-level, theoretical framework to propose the conditions under which national diversity may lead to high levels of conflict. We describe and explain the role of nationalism (i.e., individuals' attitude towards their and others' nationalities) in diverse workgroups and explore the moderating effect of nationalism on the relationship between national diversity and intra-group conflict. We propose that in nationally diverse workgroups the presence of workgroup members with strong nationalistic attitudes (e.g., ingroup favoritism and outgroup rejection) will exacerbate the likelihood that national diversity may lead to relationship conflict and process conflict, and that it will weaken the likelihood that national diversity leads to task conflict. The model demonstrates the necessity of examining national diversity and the factors and conditions, such as the presence of nationalistic attitudes that may hinder the potential of a nationally diverse workgroup.
Keywords: National Diversity, Nationalism, Conflict, Workgroups
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