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National Culture, Networks, and Individual Influence in a Multinational Management Team

Author(s): Jane E. Salk and Mary Yoko Brannen

Source: The Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Apr., 2000), pp. 191-202
Published by: Academy of Management
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c Academy ManagementJournal
2000, Vol. 43, No. 2, 191-202.





San Jose State University
University of Michigan

Individual influence is thought to shape team performance. However, empirical stud-

ies of its potential determinants in multicultural teams, including national culture, are
lacking. A network study of the management team of a 50-50 German-Japaneseinter-
national joint venture revealed multiple significant determinants, with advice central-
ity the most closely associated with influence. National culture, though not statistically
significant, remained important in explaining patterns of relationships in this team,
but its role was far less direct and deterministic than suggested by prior research.

Internationaljoint ventures (IJVs)often use multi- networks, extant theory and methods developed in
national teams comprisingmanagersfrom the parent the social networks domain to study influence pro-
companies.Cross-culturaland IJVstudies often iden- vide a sound foundation for addressing this question.
tify cultural differences in such teams as causing In incorporating theory and methods from this body
many difficulties,including conflict, misunderstand- of research, our goal was twofold: (1) to enrich cross-
ing, and poor performance(Bivens & Lowell, 1966; cultural and IJVtheory and empirical knowledge con-
Killing, 1983; Shenkar&Zeira,1992). However,high- cerning individual influence and its potential deter-
performingIJVsand organizationswith multinational minants, including national culture and (2) to extend
managementteams, including ABB, Shell, Unilever, a social networks perspective to multinational teams
and ICL-Fujitsu(now merged), suggest that cultural and organizations.
diversity does not necessarily lead to poor perfor-
mance. Culturaldiversity might even confer an ad-
vantage by giving managersa broaderrange of per- CONCEP'TUALFOUNDATIONS
spectives for managing complex cultural systems Our primaryinterestwas in comparingthe role of
(Boyacigiller & Adler, 1991). The purpose of this national origins to the roles of other potential deter-
study was to enable a better understandingof indi- minants of influence in a multinationalmanagement
vidual influence and intergroupinteractionin a mul- team. However, the context of the team studied-a
tinationalteam setting. Specifically, we attemptedto 50-50 shared managementIJV(a joint venture with
answer the question, What are the determinantsof equal parent equity in which individuals from the
individual influence in a well-functioning multina- parent firms are top managers)-has conceptual im-
tional managementteam? portance,reflectingpartnerintentions concerningis-
Thoughnetworksresearchershave paid limited at- sues of influence and control (Killing, 1983; Salk,
tention to individual-level aspects of how social net- 1996). IJVsuse shared staffingto mobilize resources,
works affect influence and even less to multicultural combineknowledge,and balanceinfluence fromboth
parents to enhance performance(Salk, 1996). That
We are indebtedto CIBERat the Fuqua School of said, some researcherssee IJVsengagedin such prac-
tices as particularlyfertile ground for performance
Business, Duke University,and to the University of
MichiganBusiness School for providingresearchsup- problems stemming from cultural differences (Kill-
port. We would also like to thankWayneBaker,Mark ing, 1983; Lane & Beamish, 1990; Salk, 1992, 1996).
Fruin,MarkMizruchi,andAnneTsuifortheircomments Lyles and Salk (1996) found higher averagereported
and JeffreyJohnson,DavidKrackhardt, and Ray Fried- learning from foreign parents and significantly
man for offeringtechnicaladviceearlyin the project. greatersensitivity to cultural conflict for 50-50 IJVs.
192 Academy of ManagementJournal April

They reasoned that the effects of operationalinflu- the members of a group (Schein, 1985) and as the
ence and controlby one group or the other are likely "collective programmingof the mind" (Hofstede,
to be unclearin these IJVs.Sharedmanagementmight 1984: 21). National culture, as an often taken-for-
open the doorformoreconflictbecause neithergroup grantedproduct of primarysocialization, is thought
has a formal mandate to unilaterally control opera- to be particularlypotent, and its effects on individu-
tions. At the same time, the lack of formaldominance als are thoughtto be particularlyresistantto change.
by one group leaves more latitude for individual in- However,Schein (1985)suggestedthatorganizational
fluence patternsto emergeand forthe acquisitionand cultures arise from specific historical events experi-
use of particularknowledge held by individuals. enced by a groupand organizationas well as fromthe
influence of individuals engagedin their routine in-
teractions. Thus, within the same, relatively stable
Nationality, Social Identity, and Influence national culture context, organizationaland group
Social identity theory (Tajfel&Turner,1986) and cultures can vary widely (Brannen,1994).
social categorizationtheory (Turner,1987), two re- Preliminary evidence suggests that certain as-
search streams integrated into the broader cross- pects of national culture represented in IJVteams,
cultural literature by Erez and Earley (1993), both whether or not differences associated with them
suggest that even superficial differences might re- disappear, may at least become less salient over
sult in team members choosing national culture as time. In a comparative study of multinational man-
a primary form of identity. According to social agement teams in three IJVs,Salk (1996) found that
identity theory, individuals are primed by situa- in-group identification according to national ori-
tional and other cues to "enact" primary social gins was strong in the earliest months of the IJVs,
identities as a basis for self-evaluation and en- but that other primary identity boundaries became
hancement of self-images (Erez & Earley, 1993). A more relevant by the end of the first year of opera-
salient social identity leads to accentuation of in- tions in two of the cases. Given that national cul-
traclass similarities and interclass differences (Erez ture is deeply rooted in the socialization of manag-
& Earley, 1993: 151). Social identity theory re- ers, it is plausible that nationality continued to
searchers (Tajfel& Turner, 1986) have created lab- affect team members' preferences and work behav-
oratory experiments that produced in-group/out- iors. Even if members accord less salience to na-
group discrimination, even when subjects were tional identities over time, national identity-based
assigned to groups at random. Social identity the- intergroupdynamics could persist in the absence of
ory and social categorization theory suggest that conflict and performance difficulties.
race, accent, and situational factors might create Researchers have replicated basic differences
and maintain in-group preferences in some types of among national cultures, taken as central tenden-
interactions, despite convergence, or the develop- cies of large populations. However, ethnographic
ment of complementary orientations among indi- studies of multinational teams and organizations
viduals from different national cultures in how have shown that individual expatriates do not nec-
they work together.These preferences could in turn essarily reflect general population tendencies
cause differences in individual influence to be as- (Brannen, 1994; Schneider & Barsoux, 1997; Sumi-
sociated with nationality. However, it should be hara, 1992). Team members might be more homo-
noted that research has yet to link enacted cultural geneous than their respective national populations
identities to how individuals form and participate in terms of education, occupation, and socioeco-
in social networks in organizations. It is important nomic subgroup memberships, while diverging in
to recognize that someone could be anti-Semitic terms of generational, religious, geographic, or
toward Jews as a social category, for example, yet other subgroup affiliations within a national cul-
still include many particularmembers of this social ture. Multilayered participation in diverse sub-
category in work and even friendship networks. groups helps explain the observed variance within
national cultures and why individuals from the
same national cultural group import different nor-
Cultural Identities and Individual Orientations
mative and behavioral expectations and orienta-
and Behavior
tions into a team setting (Brannen, 1994). The lit-
Cross-cultural research (Hall, 1983; Hampden- eratureson social identities and on culture led us to
Turner & Trompenaars, 1993; Hofstede, 1984; Ronen pose the following research questions:
& Shenkar, 1985; Triandis, 1989) has catalogued how
basic assumptions, values, and behavioral norms Research Question 1. Will patterns of in-group
vary across cultures.Culturehas been defined as the bias be revealed, especially in terms of na-
assumptions, values, and artifacts that are shared by tional culture, in multinational teams?
2000 Salk and Brannen 193

Research Question 2. Will there be systematic lationships, but Germanmanagersmight follow the
differences between national subgroups in formal division of responsibility, establishing few
multinational teams in terms of individual in- if any socioemotional bonds with other employees.
fluence and the factors associated with indi- These ideas motivate a question concerning IJV
vidual influence? teams composed of Japaneseand Germannationals:
It is possible that, despite attempts by interna- Research Question 3. Will Japanese managers
tional joint venture parents to avoid operational use a socioemotional logic in developing their
dominance by one group or another, one national task and advice networks,and will Germanman-
group will be more influential. ResearchQuestion 2 agers use a logic of choice based on expertise?
is methodologically as well as substantively impor-
tant as a diagnostic. For example, if the average
scores on measures of explanatory variables for the Position, Orientation to Local Norms, Network
members of two nationalities are systematically dif- Centrality, and Individual Influence
ferent, separate models of influence for each sub- Social network research and theory have primar-
group might need to be developed. ily evolved in uninational settings. But we believe
that network concepts can be applied to enrich
understanding of individual influence in IJV and
Using a Japanese-German IJV as a Research other multicultural settings. Individual influence
in an organization entails being able to induce oth-
Cross-cultural research suggests specific differ- ers to do things and behave in ways that they might
ences between Japanese and German managers if not otherwise (e.g., French & Raven, 1959; Kotter,
they are treated a priori as representative of aggre- 1985). Ibarra's(1993) network-based study of indi-
gate cultural tendencies. Two differences refer- vidual influence and innovation identified three
enced in this literature concern advice seeking and constructs associated with individual influence:
the general importance ascribed to socioemotional formal position, personal characteristics, and net-
relationships. German managers are known for work centrality. Control over resources, rewards
placing a high reliance on expertise and formal, and punishments, authority to exercise influence
individual responsibility, and Japanese managers in particular domains (legitimacy), and perceived
are known for having a generalist and diffuse view expertise often adhere to formal positions in orga-
of responsibility (Brannen&Salk, 2000; Hampden- nizations (French & Raven, 1959; Ibarra, 1993).
Turner & Trompenaars, 1993). Moreover, Hall Social influence also arises from characteristics
(1983: 174) suggested that establishing and main- of an individual that induce identification and in-
taining interpersonal contact and harmony on an teraction with that individual (French & Raven,
emotional level is vital for daily team functioning 1959; Ibarra, 1993; Shah, 1998). Interpersonal at-
for Japanese people but not for Germans.Japanese traction has been linked to demographic similarity
managers spend much time interacting informally between actors. Actors have multiple demographic
during and after work (Brannen, 1994). identities, including age, race, gender, nationality,
Hampden-Turnerand Trompenaars (1993) sug- education, and, in IJVs,parent organizational affil-
gested that both Japanese and German managers iation. Actors also can be similar or different in
were likely to share a group or organizational ori- terms of unit or functional affiliation in an organi-
entation rather than an individualistic orientation. zation (Shah, 1998). As discussed earlier, work in
However, for the Japanesethe operative logic is wa social identity theory and social categorizationthe-
(harmonious aesthetics of relationships), and for ory, as well as cross-culturalstudies (Erez&Earley,
the Germans it is the rule-based logic of Konsens 1993), proposes that individuals choose salient
und Ordnung(consensus and orderliness;Hampden- identities for social comparison that enhance self-
Turner & Trompenaars, 1993: 101). These authors identities and self-efficacy. This suggests that
furthernoted that "the Germanor G-type personal- whether the nationality of managers is a relevant
ity has a large, darkprivate space and a small outer basis for attraction could be a matter of choice.
public space, and even this is relatively inaccessi- Another aspect of personal differences is individ-
ble, meaning that Germans are not easy to get to ual orientationtowardlocally establishednorms.Ac-
know" (1993: 223). Moreover, "[German] co-work- ceptance as a member of a group in an organization
ers may have no social relations outside the work- entails being able to act in ways that are consistent
place. Indeed, this is quite common" (1993: 224). with the normative expectations of other members
Japanese managers might therefore apply a socio- (Van Maanen & Schein, 1979). Such behavior is
emotional choice criterion to different types of re- thoughtto be relatedto influence (e.g., Kotter,1985).
194 Academy of Manage,mentJournal April

Hall (1983) suggestedthat synchronizationin critical Research Question 4b. Will the nationality of a
domains such as decision making is vital but prob- manager be related to individual influence?
lematic for multiculturalteams. Overtime all human
Research Question 4c. Will orientations to lo-
groups develop a common set of precedents and ex- cal, emergent norms (in this particular case,
periences that become the foundation for a context-
adaptation, a preference for consensus, and a
specific, or local, working culture (Brannen& Salk,
belief that decision making is fast and efficient
2000; Schein, 1985). Interviews and participantob- in a given setting) be related to individual in-
servationrevealed convergencearound emergentlo-
cal norms for decision making in a team comprising fluence?
Japanese and German managers (Brannen & Salk, Research Question 4d. Will network centrality
2000).The local normsentailedincluding fewerman- be related to individual influence?
agers in meetings than the Japanese preferredand Research Question 4e. Will network centrality
front-loadingdiscussions with the parent headquar- be more strongly associated with individual
ters in Japanto speed things up. The Japaneseand
Germanmanagersdescribed the norms surrounding influence than other determinants,such as for-
mal position, nationality, or orientation to lo-
emergent decision-making processes in the same cal norms?
way, but the Germans perceived the processes as
slow, while the Japanesesaw them as fast. Certain
decision-making issues-specifically, the values of METHODS
consensus, speed, and efficiency-surfaced in all the Research Setting
open-ended interviews we conducted (Brannen &
Salk, 2000). We identified the organizationthat served as our
To unpack this group's culture, therefore,also re- research setting via contacts with the Japanesepar-
quired taking into account how individual team ent and had preliminary discussions with its co-
membersperceived and reacted to emergentnorms. directors. The Nutech IJV (a pseudonym), located
The degree to which individual members came to in a small town in the Ruhrregion of Germany,was
accept the acknowledgedlocal norms about consen- established in 1990, and production commenced in
sus seeking and fast and efficient decision making late 1991. The Japanese parent, a medium-sized
and the general investment they had made in adap- firm like the Germanparent, was motivated by the
tation could all be seen as indicatorsof comfortand strategic need to have a manufacturing platform
feelings of self-efficacyin this specific group setting. from which to service and expand a market pres-
The centrality of individuals in social networks ence inside the European Community. A commit-
provides a distinct basis for exercising influence ment to keep the plant open, despite changes in the
(e.g., Brass & Burkhardt, 1993; Ibarra, 1993). Social competitive environment, motivated the German
networks reflect patterns of communication and parent. Both parents were in the same industry and
exchange among members of an organizational had had some prior contact via a licensing agree-
group. Individuals who are central in networks can ment in the 1970s and 1980s. Though a few of the
exert influence by being in a position to mediate parents' managershad some prior international ex-
flows of information and resources between others, perience, Nutech was the first joint venture expe-
because others seek them out to communicate or rience for everyone concerned. All parent and IJV
consult with and/or because they are connected to informants considered the IJVto be a strong per-
other powerful actors. Network theorists distin- formerin terms of meeting its business plans and in
guish between instrumental and socioemotional having generally good working relationships
(or, in U.S. settings, friendship) networks; instru- among team members. Participant observation re-
mental networks can further be subdivided into search conducted at the site before data collection
task, advice, and information networks. Ibarra's for this study suggested that the few problems the
(1993) results supported a positive link between IJVhad experienced were related to getting the new
network centrality and influence in organizational production technology up to speed. Historically,
innovation. She also found that network centrality manufacturing and R&D functions had played a
explained significant variance in influence over particularlyimportantrole in the success of the IJV.
and above that explained by formal position and Ownershipand governancewere sharedequally in
personal characteristics. The above discussion the IJV.The Japaneseand Germanparenteach owned
frames the following research questions: 47.5 percent of the IJV'sequity. A Japanesetrading
company, which acted as a distributorof the IJV's
Research Question 4a. Willformal position be products,took a 5 percentownershipshare,but it had
related to individual influence? neithera voting position on the governanceboardnor
2000 Salk and Brannen 195

a mandatefor active oversightof IJVmanagement.As gave this questionnaire, which was written in En-
of the middle of 1994, the IJVemployed 216 individ- glish, to all 16 top team members during a visit in
uals-145 wage earners and 71 salaried managers. May 1995. It was administered in the form of a
Shared governance was confined to the top three structured interview with hard text accompani-
levels of the organization.Of the 16 top team mem- ment for the informants to follow and mark an-
bers, 5 were Japanese,10 were German,and 1 was swers on. Since one author was fluent in Japanese
South African(a juniormanagerin qualitycontrol).A and one was fluent in German, informants could
Japanesecodirectorand a Germancodirectorshared choose whether to give their answers immediately
the top position. or to ask for clarification in English or their native
Of the 9 positions at the top two levels, 4 had language. We had agreed on prepared answers to
Japaneseincumbents, and of the 16 positions at the informant questions in Japanese and Germans to
top three levels, 5 had Japaneseincumbents. How- control for consistency in questionnaire execution.
ever, the greaternumber of Germansin these posi- Network data and measures. In our study, as in
tions should not be viewed as identical with greater many network studies (e.g., Ibarra,1993; Padgett &
formal power. The Japaneseoccupied the top man- Ansell, 1993; Shah, 1998), data from all members of
agementof the sales/marketingand technology areas, a bounded population were collected and ana-
with two-thirds of the top positions in these two lyzed. We determined the boundaries of the team to
functions held by Japanesemanagers,and the Ger- be studied in two ways: first, by asking the co-
mans dominated production and administrative directors of the targeted IJVto define these bound-
functions. The preponderanceof Germansin the lat- aries (they named the first three hierarchical levels)
ter two functions reflected the need to operateeffec- and, second, by leaving a blank space at the bottom
tively with a German workforce and in a German of each question about networks to allow infor-
legal and business context. English was the business mants to add missing individuals. One member of
languageof the IJV;only one of the Japanesemanag- the third level was eliminated because of the nature
ers spoke more than a few words of German,and only of his role and other team members' reporting next
one German manager (a junior team member, two to no interaction with him. Only a few people in-
levels below the top) spoke a little Japanese. The serted additional names, and no name appeared
Japanesewere somewhat older on the average(since more than twice, further confirming that the
age-basedseniority is practicedin Japan),but the age boundary established for the top team was valid.
rangeswere quite wide on both sides. Thus, we had data from 100 percent of the team's
Ten semistructuredinterviews (composedof open- members (16 individuals).
ended questionsand conducted in German,Japanese, The network data collected covered three net-
and English), done seven months prior to collection work types: task-related, advice-related, and pri-
of the networkdata,all pointed to culturaldifferences vate. We based our network questions on Ibarra
as an aspect of IJVexperience that differed from in- (1993), making modifications as needed. To mea-
terviewees' past management experiences. Content sure task-related communication, we asked "Who
analysis suggestedthat some of these differences(dif- do you talk to regularly about business-related mat-
ferent degrees of autonomy practicedby the parents ters?Place an X by those you talk to more than once
and differentdecision-makingstyles) had resulted in a week on the average."To measure advice-related
the creationof new IJV-specificways of doing things, communication, we asked "Who do you go to for
and other differences(such as the Japanesedesire for advice when you have a work-relatedproblem or a
informalinteractionand the Germantendency to sep- decision you have to make?" For private commu-
aratework and private relations)persisted (Brannen nication, we asked "Who have you met with pri-
& Salk, 2000). This variationbegged the question of vately outside of Nutech? Place an X by the people
how the evolved fabricof social relations, including who you meet privately at least once a month on
influence, might be explained by nationalityor other average." Team members could check as many
factors.Finally, the interviews establishedthat prob- names as they wished for each question and add
lems installingthe equipmentand rampingup output names, as noted above. We used the term "private"
quality and quantity had been the majorcontingen- rather than the term "friendship"because we pre-
cies faced by the team in its first two years (Brannen dicted that the Japanese managers might tend to
& Salk, 2000). call everyone their friend, while the Germansmight
feel a question about friends to be an invasion of
Data Collection and Measures privacy. The level of personal affect that justifies
calling someone a friend in the United States might
A questionnaire was designed to follow up on the not be high enough for German respondents to
interviews and observation described above. We make a similar attribution, as friendship implies a
196 Academy of ManagementJournal April

deeper and more enduring commitment for Ger- been necessary to change my way of working to be
mans than it does for Americans (Lewin, 1936). effective in this organization" (adapt).
Hence, we viewed an individual's choosing to see a Dependent variable. To measure influence, we
fellow team member privately, outside of working asked this question: "Please rate the amount of
hours, as an appropriate threshold defining the influence that the following people have at
elective, socioemotional network, capturing the es- Nutech." A list of team members (plus blank spaces
sence of what friendship indexes in a U.S. context. for nominating others) followed. After each name, a
Of the several different ways of measuring central- 1-7 scale was presented, and respondents were
ity (Bonacich, 1987; Freeman, 1979), a key construct requested to assign an influence rating to each in-
for our analysis, two were of particular conceptual dividual, with 1 for "little influence in the IJV"and
interest. The first was in-degree centrality, a measure 7 for "highly influential in the IJV." We then cal-
of how many nominations by others an individual culated the average rating for each individual, elim-
receives, and thus an indicator of deference or status inating the self-assigned ratings.
(Wasserman & Faust, 1994). The second was be- Control variable. Tenure was used as a control
tweenness centrality, a measure of the degree to variable because establishing ties and influence in
which an individual is in a position to mediate flows a group should take time. It was measured as the
of information between others. Ties were not sym- number of months between the time a manager
metricized because lack of reciprocity can indicate joined the IJV and data collection.
status differences (Krackhart, 1990), and reciproca-
tion rates for the three networks studied here were
relatively low (48-66%). Some past empirical stud- Data Analysis
ies have found different types of centrality to be Analyses performed here employed SAS (Hatcher
highly correlated with one another (e.g., Ibarra,1993). & Stepanski, 1994) and UCINET IV (Borgatti, Everett,
In our data, the correlation for the task-related com- & Freeman, 1992). We used UCINET IV to analyze a
munication network between in-degree and between- priori block models and to calculate network densi-
ness centrality was .70 (p - .003); for advice-related ties and centrality scores. SAS was used to calculate
communication, it was .76 (p - .001); and for private Spearman correlation coefficients, t-tests, and ordi-
(socioemotional) communication, it was .63 (p - nary least squares (OLS) regression models.1
.011). Thus, we did not combine centrality measures We examined the level of general cohesion and
and report results using in-degree centrality, though integration of the team by calculating reachability,
betweenness centrality produced results by and large defined as the distance between actors, using the
similar to those we report. Network data also were number of edges in the shortest path (Wasserman &
used to calculate density, the proportion of actual Faust, 1994). We sought evidence of in-group bias
dyadic relationships relative to potential ones. using the Gibbs and Martin index of industrial diver-
Other independent variables. We included two sification (Baker, 1992: 410). The Gibbs and Martin
measures of formal position. For the ordinal vari- index gives the probability (H) that two randomly
able level, the codirectors were assigned a 3; those selected actors are from different groups. It is calcu-
who reported directly to them received a 2; and lated as H = [1 - pk][NI(N - 1)], where p is the
members of the third team level received a 1. Func- proportion of actors in category k and N is the size of
tion had five categories. Because manufacturing the total number of individuals. Multiplying the in-
and R&D were especially important in the early dex by N/(N - 1) corrects for selecting the same
history of the IJV, we created a dummy variable, individual twice. In an ideal network, where choices
assigning those in the administrative and sales are not based on in-group preference, the percentage
functions a 0 and those in manufacturing and R&D of ties between groups should be greater than or equal
a 1. Nationality was confirmed during the admin- to the Gibbs and Martin index, and a percentage
istration of the questionnaire, with Japanese coded lower than the index indicates discrimination in fa-
0 and German coded 1. Orientation to local norms vor of in-group interaction. We also used a priori
was measured by three variables, decisions, prefers
consensus, and adapt, each tapped by a question-
naire item measured on a seven-point scale ranging 1 There has been some concern that network data vio-
from 1, "strongly disagree," to 7, "strongly agree": late a basic assumption of OLS regression, namely, that
"Decision-making by Nutech management is fast the observations are not independent when centrality
and efficient" (decisions). "I prefer a decision-mak- scores are used. OLS regression is an accepted method
ing process that allows sufficient time for a consen- for analyzing such data, however (for a discussion of this
sus to be reached" (prefers consensus). And "It has point, see Krackhardt[1990]).
2000 Salk and Brannen 197

block models based on nationality (Germanor Japa- story. Here we found many pairs for whom the
nese) to test for in-groupbias. minimum number of connecting links was great;
for six members (all Germans), the distance was
infinite for all row distances. As suggested in the
RESULTS literaturereview, the Germansmight be expected to
make a strict distinction between their work and
Subgroup Bias and Differences
private relations. The extremely low number of pri-
In-group favoritism. Research Question 1 asks vate relationships reported corroboratesthis idea.
whether our data will reveal patterns of in-group In contrast, looking at private relations for the five
bias, especially in terms of national culture. Results Japanese team members, we saw a maximum dis-
obtained with the Gibbs and Martin index indicate tance of 2; this finding suggests that the Japanese
such bias for the task-related and advice-related managers engaged in rich, multilayered personal
networks and perhaps for the private networks. For and professional interactions.
the studied team, composed of five Japanese and The logic underlying the networks. Forming a
ten Germanmembers, the value of the index is .48. priori blocks based on nationality allowed us to
Thus, whenever the index measure was greater a,nalyzepatterns of interaction within and between
than the proportion of out-group ties in a network, subgroups (see Table 1 for reduced block matrixes)
there was evidence of in-group bias. For the task- and thus address Research Question 3. This ques-
related network, the proportion of out-group ties tion asks whether Japanesemanagerswill employ a
was .41; for the advice-related network, it was .38; socioemotional logic in developing their task and
and for the private relations network, it was .48, the advice networks, while Germans employ a logic
cutoff. The sparseness of German private relations based on expertise. For task-related communica-
probably accounts for this last result. tion, the average in-group densities (.70 for the
Subgroup differences. Question 2 asks whether Germansand .90 for the Japanese)were higher than
there will be systematic differences between na- the out-group densities (.50 for the Germans and
tional subgroups on multinational teams in indi- .66 for the Japanese).If the overall average density
vidual influence and associated factors. Private in- of .67 is taken as a cutoff, then only the in-group
degree centrality differed (Japanese,x = 45.33, s.d. densities are higher, though it should be noted that
= 7.30; German, x = 20.00, s.d. = 17.21; t = 3.99; the number of relationships (ties) with Germans
p - .002), but there were no differences in other referenced by Japanese informants barely missed
centrality measures, influence ratings, formal posi- this cutoff. Thus, for the task-related networks,
tion, and tenure for the national subgroups. The there is no evidence for different logics. Both the
sparseness of private ties and differences between German and Japanese managers preferred to have
the Germans and Japanese (explained at greater in-group members in their task networks. This find-
length in the next section) drove the private in-
degree centrality difference.
For measures of orientation to local norms, only TABLE1
the degree to which individuals reported a need to Reduced Block Matrixes: Within- and Between-
adapt their way of working to be effective in the IJV Block Average Densities for the German and
differed (Japanese, x = 5.80, s.d. = 1.30; German, x Japanese Subgroupsa
= 3.90, s.d. = 1.85; t = 2.30, p - .04). This finding
is not surprising, since the Japanese were expatri- Networkb Japanese German
ates and the Germanswere operating in their home
country. Lackof significant differences between the Japanese .95 .66
German and Japanese members in preference for German .50 .70
decision-making speed, coupled with variance
within subgroups, suggests that individual re- Advice-related communication
Japanese .70 .24
sponses to these questions did not directly reflect German .48 .49
national cultural norms and preferences.
Reachabilityanalyses (Wasserman&Faust, 1994) Private communication
furthersuggested that the team was reasonablywell Japanese .85 .28
integrated. For task-related communication, all in- German .22 .11
dividuals could reach one another with a maxi- a
For the Japanesesubgroup,n = 5; for the Germansubgroup,
mum distance of 2. For advice network relations, n = 10.
the maximum distance was 3. The analysis of the b Respective averagesare .67, task-related;.45, advice-related;
private network, on the other hand, told a different and .25, private.
198 Academy of Management Journal April

ing also supports the existence of in-group bias ber in calculating influence. However, we calcu-
(Research Question 1). lated the regression equations outlined below
For the advice networks, we found that the Japa- including only the Germanand Japanesemanagers
nese exhibited high average in-group density (.70) (N = 15). This exclusion did not alter our findings.
and low out-groupdensity (.24),thus showing a very Association of formal position with influence
high degreeof reliance for advice on the in-group.By (Research Question 4a). A model with function
contrast,the Germansshowed almostno differencein was not significant. Model 1 (Table 3) is a look at
their propensityto use in-groupand out-groupmem- the amount of variance explained by level. With
bers for advice (out-group,.48; in-group, .49). Only tenure controlled, level explained 41 percent of the
the Japaneseout-groupnominations of advice rela- variance in influence ratings and was significant at
tionships (.24)were below the overalladvice network the .05 level. Since the highest management level
averageof .45. The reduced block model for private was coded 3 and the lowest 1, the coefficient (.58)
relations further illuminates these results. For this is consistent with a prediction that higher formal
team, the overallaverageis .25, a low value that was, level is associated with higher influence. Hence, a
as noted earlier,driven by the infrequencyof private positive answer to Research Question 4a is sup-
ties among the Germans (out-group,.22; in-group, ported for level but not for function.
.11); by contrast,the Japaneseaveragein-groupden- Nationality with influence (Research Question
sity was .85, and the out-groupdensity was .28. Thus, 4b). Nationality was not a significant predictor of
these results suggestthat the Japanesemanagersused influence, and no model is reported. The tentative
a socioemotional logic in forming their advice net- answer to Research Question 4b is negative.
works, while the Germansused a logic based on per- Orientation to local norms (Research Question
ceived expertise. 4c). A model with adaptation (not reported) was
not significant. Table 3 also summarizes regression
results for prefers consensus and decisions, both of
Research Questions 4a-4e: Determinants of
which resulted in significant models. Prefers con-
sensus (model 2) had an adjusted multiple squared
Table 2 presents means, standarddeviations, and correlation (R2)of .26, a value lower than that for
Spearmancorrelationcoefficients. Table 3 presents decisions (model 3), which was .53. Moreover,pre-
the results of regression analyses used to test Re- fers consensus was only marginally significant (p <
search Questions 4a-4e. Only a few explanatory .10), and decisions was significant (p < .01). Thus,
variables are highly correlated:Advice centrality is the results support a positive answer to Research
highly correlated with the speed and efficiency of Question 4c, but the results for decisions were
decision making (.71) and a preference for consen- stronger than those for prefers consensus.
sus (.67). These variables (decisions and prefers Centrality and influence (Research Question 4d)
consensus) were highly correlated (.83). We in- and the relative explanatory power of centrality
cluded data from the one South African team mem- and other factors (Research Question 4e). Examin-

Means, Standard Deviations, and Correlationsa
Variable Mean s.d. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

1. Influence 4.81 1.23

2. Level 2.47 0.74 .43
3. Function 0.47 0.52 -.17 .28
4. Nationality 0.67 0.49 -.23 .52* .38
5. Adapt 4.53 1.89 .19 -.56* -.13 -.50*
6. Prefers consensus 5.00 1.51 .50* -.37 .25 -.39 .48*
7. Decisions 5.20 1.08 .63* -.48t -.03 -.43 .45* .83***
8. Advice centrality 43.55 20.91 .76*** -.33 .20 -.20 .06 .67** .71**
9. Task-related centrality 98.22 28.78 .55* .16 .09 .18 -.34 .31 .20 .60*
10. Private centrality 28.44 18.93 .53* -.13 -.09 -.65*** .19 .51t .54* .43 .33
11. Tenure 45.00 12.24 .03 -.05 .30 -.08 .03 .03 -.05 -.01 -.24 .02

aN= 15.
tp < .10
* p < .05
p < .01
p < .001
2000 Salk and Brannen 199

Results of Regression Analyses for Individual
National Culture's Impact
Our results reveal an apparent conundrum. On
Variable Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 the one hand, pursuing Research Questions 1, 2,
Level .58
and 4b, we found high reachability, no systematic
Prefers .46* differences between national subgroups on the vast
consensus majority of indicators, and no significance for na-
Decisions .66** tionality as an explanatory variable for influence.
Advice centrality .70** These findings converge to portray an integrated
Tenure .40+ .34 .43* .20
team that has avoided or overcome the legacy of
R2 .50 .37 .60 .61 having two very different national cultures repre-
Adjusted R2 .41 .26 .53 .54 sented among its members. However, results on the
Probability .02 .06 .00 .00 Gibbs-Martin index and the block models assessing
the advice and private networks, which we used to
N = 15. All coefficients are standardized.
address Research Questions 1 and 3, point to a
tp < .10
* p < .05 general pattern of in-group preference and strik-
p < .01 ingly different Japanese and German advice-seek-
ing patterns. Taken together, what do our findings
say about culture's impact on individual influence
ing the equations with centrality regressed on influ- in this team?
ence, we saw that only the regression with advice First, our findings should be interpreted in the
centrality (model 4) was strongly significant (adjusted context of this particular joint venture, which is a
R2 = .54, p - .004). The models with task-related and high-performance team context. Informants from
private centrality (not reported) were only moder- both inside and outside the IJV who knew it well
ately significant. Thus, the data support a positive felt that it was an effective team and organization.
response to Research Question 4d only for advice This view received corroboration from our qual-
centrality. Comparing the previously reported regres- itative observations made seven months before
sions, plus examining the correlations of the explan- administering the network questionnaire and
atory variables with influence from Table 2, gives a from questions asked about IJV performance in
largely convergent result for Research Question 4e, that questionnaire. The German mean rating of
which asks if network centrality will be a stronger IJV performance (1, poor, to 7, very high) was 5.7
determinant of influence than the other variables. (s.d. = .48), and the Japanese mean rating was 6.2
The correlation of advice centrality with influence is (s.d. = .45).
by far the most significant (.76, p < .001), and the That said, we believe our findings indicate that
regression model with this variable, in which we culture is important but that its role is far more
controlled for tenure, has the most explained vari- complex than past research and theory suggest. The
ance. However, it must be noted that the differences few indicators examined for Research Question 2
in variance explained between the regression with that did reveal differences between the German and
advice centrality and that with decisions (model 3, Japanese team members, the findings on advice-
Table 3) are not significant. Significant correlations seeking patterns (Research Question 3), and some
among explanatory variables (decisions with prefer- of the correlations between indicators predicting
ence for consensus, advice centrality, and level), plus influence and nationality, all help to unravel this
the small number of observations, created a barrier to conundrum. The far greater propensity of the Jap-
interpreting a full model combining these variables. anese to form socioemotional bonds with other
Hence, although our results did not allow us to managers-particularly other Japanese people, but
reject Research Question 4e, it is noteworthy that a also Germans-and the different advice-seeking
positive answer is true only for advice centrality. The patterns were consistent with predictions derived
regression results also show strong predictive power from the cross-national literature about Germans
for decisions and level. This finding is corroborated and Japanese (Hall, 1983; Hampden-Turner &
by the correlation of decisions with influence, though Trompenaars, 1989; Hofstede, 1984). Moreover, the
the correlation for level just misses the cutoff for a correlations we found between nationality and a
significant correlation with influence. These results belief that decision making was fast and efficient
are consistent with the prediction that all three fac- (-.39) and between nationality and a preference for
tors-formal position, orientation to local norms, and consensus (-.43) were relatively high (but both
centrality-contribute to explaining influence. were higher for the Japanese team members), and
200 Academy of Management Journal April

they narrowly missed the p < .10 cutoff for signif- ing the organization).It is possible to have an impor-
icance. Higher average reported adaptation by the tant formalrole and to be centralin task-relatedcom-
Japanese suggests that the location of the IJV in municationor in privateinteractionsand yet be seen
Germany posed a greater challenge for them, as less critical in helping an organizationrespond to
though we could not determine whether this differ- technologicaland othersources of uncertainty.Thus,
ence was due to their being expatriates or to chal- the codirectorsappearedto play a highly centralrole
lenges internal to the IJV. in terms of general flows of task-relatedinformation
Nevertheless, there was enough variance in indi- and social cohesion (as indicatedby the high central-
vidual responses to suggest that it is the volition to ity in private networks of the Japanesecodirector),
accept and adapt to local, emergent norms-a but at the same time they played a less criticalrole in
stretch for both groups-rather than national sub- managingthe most problematiccontingencies,which
group-based preferences, that contributes to being were relatedto the productiontechnology.
influential. The managers who were more influen- We already posited that nationality was not sig-
tial tended to be those who had adopted more flex- nificant because the dummy variableapproachcan-
ible interpretations of "fast and efficient" decision not reveal the more subtle patterns and relation-
making in this particular context. Analyses for Re- ships outlined above. Consistent with past
search Question 1 suggest that the subgroup an- research, position and orientation to local norm
chors are still present. variables were significant. We can tentatively con-
A similar interpretation can be made for advice clude that all three sets of factors-formal position,
centrality, the most potent predictor of influence. individual orientations, and centrality-contribute
Although the block models for the advice net- to influence. This view is consistent with views
work displayed subgroup-specific general pat- that network centrality is a conceptually distinct
terns, there were no significant differences in predictor of influence (Ibarra,1993).
average advice centrality between subgroups, and
individual ratings within subgroups varied sub-
Implications and Limitations
stantially. The two managers with the highest
advice centrality were in the areas most closely Future research. Networkmethods and concepts
connected to the technological core of the orga- appearto be a fruitfulway of enriching understand-
nization and in the third and second levels of the ing of culture'sroles in multinationalteams and or-
hierarchy: the production manager, a German, ganizations. Our research reveals the multifaceted
and the R&Dmanager, a Japanese. Both of these impactof nationaloriginson the IJVteamwe studied.
managers were seen as highly competent (exper- It furthersuggests that wide gaps between the cul-
tise criterion), and both were socially well con- tures of team members do not doom a team or orga-
nected; indeed, this German manager had more nization to sufferpoor performanceor otherdevelop-
private nominations from both groups than other mental pathologies. The variance in the orientation
German managers. Though our attempt to look at and influence scores found within the Germanand
this pattern by making function a dummy vari- Japanesesubgroupsof the IJVteam indicatethatthere
able with 1 equal to the technology core had is danger in assuming that, a priori, members of a
nonsignificant results, we cannot rule out the small face-to-face group embody the values and
idea that two different logics of choice-exper- norms imputed to the large populations from which
tise-based for Germans and socioemotional for they came. Ourresultsthereforesuggestthe desirabil-
Japanese-played roles in individual advice ity of collecting individual responses about orienta-
centrality. tions towardboth nationalculturalnorms and values
and emergentlocal norms.
The data indicate that basic differences can per-
Determinants of Influence
sist, even in teams that lack the conflict and per-
An unexpected result was that only advice central- formance problems noted by Lane and Beamish
ity showed a significant association with influence (1990) and Salk (1996). Our data suggest that dif-
and that it had the highest values of any explanatory ferences themselves do not cause problems; rather,
variable.We have alreadynoted that the two manag- it is how a team's context and individual team
ers with the highest advice centralityratingswere in members' orientations to local (team) norms chan-
the technicalcore of the organization.The codirectors nel these differences. This observation, along with
had only moderately high ratings for this type of our results concerning advice centrality, support
centrality.This suggests that centralityin the advice Doz's (1996) contention that the context and pro-
network was related to criticality (having expertise cess dimensions of IJVteams deserve more atten-
closely associated with key contingencies confront- tion. Consistent with past work on sources of
2000 Salk and Brannen 201

power and influence (Kotter,1985; Pfeffer & Salan- managers with appropriate expertise and interper-
cik, 1978), our results indicate that particular un- sonal skills in positions related to key contingen-
certainties and contingencies confronted by an or- cies are vital means of establishing and maintaining
ganization or group shape which individual influence. Expertise and interpersonal adaptability
attributes,like expertise, affect centrality and influ- may be even more important conduits for influence
ence. Moreover, it suggests that the types of cen- and knowledge than formal authority.
trality that will be most closely associated with Limitations. Stemming from a single case study
influence can vary across organizations and, poten- of a small IJVteam population, our statistical re-
tially, over time as well. This idea might be most sults are descriptive rather than predictive. More-
important for young groups and organizations and over, our results' generalizability to theory and
those in dynamic environments. Although we their external generalizability can only be estab-
would expect that our general finding that there are lished by further research. In addition, our mea-
multiple causes of influence will be replicated in sures of the normative orientations of members
studying other teams, we believe that some of the were based on one-item scales. Even though they
present findings concerning advice centrality stem yielded significant results, the validity and reliabil-
from the particular contingencies surrounding ity of these measures are unknown.
technology and production that this team had to
deal with. In other settings, centrality in other net-
works could be more important. CONCLUSION
Many network studies have been conducted in This study is a first step toward unpacking the
single organizations in uninational settings; it is role played by national culture in determining in-
therefore not surprising that the role of historical dividual influence in multinational teams. It sug-
context and cultural origins has not received much gests why the causal logic underpinning past theo-
attention. Though our findings concerning the de- rizing about national culture in multicultural
terminants of influence parallel those of Ibarra settings has been incomplete. Cross-cultural and
(1993), more studies need to be conducted in non- IJVresearch have tended to be bogged down in the
U.S. and multicultural settings to confirm the gen- dummy variable mind-set concerning culture. By
eralizability of social network theory pertaining to focusing on micro processes, we have shown the
influence. Without our intimate knowledge of the limitations of this mind-set for the present case.
historical context of the IJVwe studied, we would Focusing on micro processes helps to illuminate
find our results concerning national culture and how IJVand other multinational teams cope with
advice centrality difficult to explain; this observa- their complex cultural legacies.
tion suggests that the underspecification of context
is a lacuna in the networks literature that could be
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