The types of conflict that emerge in nationally diverse teams may depend on the number and types of nationalities present in the team. We investigate the possibility that when teams have individuals from multiple different nationalities (i.e., Dutch, Swiss and Indonesian), rather than just two different nationalities (Dutch and Indonesian), performance and task conflict will be higher while process and relationship conflicts will be comparatively lower. A scenario-based study was conducted in two countries in which we examined how nationality composition (size of national diversity or number of nationalities) and context (nature of national diversity or types of nationalities) affected perceived conflict and expected performance. We hypothesized and found that task conflict and performance are higher in nationally diverse workgroups that included multiple dissimilar nationalities compared to workgroups with just two nationalities. Results also showed that relationship and process conflicts are lower in groups that are diverse in size and nature of national diversity. We observed that social distances among nationalities varied in such a way that a distant nationality became more distanced and a close nationality became even closer in a nationally diverse group. Social distance, in that way, moderated the effect of national diversity. We discuss implications for diversity and conflict management.

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European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Sprott School of Business

Ayub, N, & Jehn, K.A. (Karen A.). (2018). Exploring diversity effects: nationality composition and nationality context in workgroups. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology. doi:10.1080/1359432X.2018.1502173