Fluidity and Performance in Intercultural Workplace Interactions: The Role of Behavioral Mirroring and Relational Attunement
56 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2006
Date Written: September 2006
This article examines the perceptual and behavioral dynamics underlying intercultural interactions at work. Specifically, this paper studies how culture-based differences in relational attunement differentially affect how U.S. Anglos and U.S. Latinos perceive workplace interactions. In a field experiment conducted at a Fortune 500 headquarters, Anglo and Latino managers interacted with a confederate in a business interview who did (or did not) engage in behavioral mirroring unbeknownst to the participant. Results show that the level of mirroring affected participants' experiences and actual performance (evaluated via videotape by third-party experts) and that these effects were moderated by cultural group membership. Stronger effects were observed across mirroring conditions for Latinos than for Anglos. A second laboratory experiment provides evidence that culture based differences in relational attunement is a causal mechanism underlying these effects. These results demonstrate how performance in intercultural workplace interactions can be compromised even in the absence of overt prejudice.
Keywords: Intercultural Interactions, Relational Attunement, Diversity, Culture, Cultural Psychology, Prejudice, Discrimination, Lations, Mimicry, Mirroring
JEL Classification: M00, M10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation