This Journal Article studies the benefits and disadvantages that multicultural teams provide when involved in decision making processes.
The article explores the theory that although having a multi cultural team can improve the team’s performance, it can also have a negative effect on the team’s communication if not managed correctly.
The author researched the idea of constructive conflict and the positive effects it can have on a multicultural team’s decision making abilities.
Constructive conflict is the idea of using the team’s different backgrounds, ideas and opinions in a positive way to enhance decision making. In order to be successful with this you need to create an environment in which employees feel comfortable to express their views and beliefs. The aspiration is that the constructive conflict will enhance the levels in which minority members contribute to the team. The manager plays a key role in achieving constructive conflict within the team.
The researcher began with seven hypotheses, the two significant of them being ‘Ethnic minorities will contribute less to group decision making than nonminority groups and greater use of constructive conflict will be associated with higher quality decision making in culturally diverse groups’ (Cohen 1992:156-157) to test these theories he used a group of 180 undergraduate students from a western Canadian university, of these 96 were men and 84 women and 47 were classified as racially or ethnically distinct from others. (Cohen 1992)
The students were put into groups of 4 based on sex and ethnic status. They were given a task in which they had to come to a decision about possible layoffs. The students were required to read the task alone and form their own opinions for ten minutes, and then they were given forty minutes to discuss the task as a group and agree on a decision.
The study measured constructive conflict, decision quality, contribution to the decision, commitment to the decision and the...