Making a Difference
Edited by Lena Zander
Chapter 7: Making a difference: managing identities and emotions in multicultural teams
This chapter investigates the complex dynamics of multiple identities in multicultural teams. We explore how these identities are associated with positive and negative emotions, conflicts and team-level outcomes such as identity, safety, trust and communication. Our review of the literature and preliminary empirical data indicate that the presence and salience of multiple identities in multicultural teams (especially identities related to ethnicity, nationality and country of origin) may trigger negative emotions and conflicts in teams, which in turn prevent teams from performing at their optimal capability. Team identity, safety and trust may mitigate the association between salient identities and negative outcomes. We hence advance three critical roles of global leaders to make a difference in multicultural teams. Specifically, global leaders should consciously craft identity, manage emotions, ensure psychological safety and build trust in teams. We further discuss theoretical implications of our work and offer directions for future research on the impact of identities and emotions in multicultural teams.
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