College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-10-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Suzanne Bell

Second Advisor

Jane Halpert

Third Advisor

Douglass Cellar


Multinational teams (MNTs) consist of members from different national backgrounds who work interdependently to achieve a shared objective (Earley & Gibson, 2002). These teams are frequently employed in global organizations because they provide several advantages, such as meeting the needs of customers from different cultures and getting diverse perspectives on how to lead projects and approach problems (Connaughton & Shuffler, 2007; Earley & Mosakowski, 2000). Much of the previous research on MNTs has focused on whether members’ national background diversity has an impact on MNT effectiveness (Connaughton & Shuffler, 2007; Stahl, Mäkelä, Zander, & Maznevski, 2010a; Stahl, Maznevski, Voigt, & Jonsen, 2010b). Recent research, however, suggests that defining the conditions under which diversity increases team effectiveness is a more fruitful approach than trying to reach rigid conclusions about the overall effectiveness of diverse teams (Roberge & van Dick, 2010; van Knippenberg, De Dreu, & Homan, 2004a; van Knippenberg, Haslam, & Platow, 2007).

In the present study, perceptions and behaviors of MNT members were examined using the Input-Mediator-Output-Input (IMOI) framework of team effectiveness (Ilgen, Hollenbeck, Johnson, & Jundt, 2005). Specifically, the salient team-level inputs in MNTs were defined as national diversity (Earley & Gibson, 2002){Roberge, 2010 #298} and reliance on virtual communication (Gibson & Gibbs, 2006), and the salient individual-level inputs were defined as team members’ collectivism orientation (Mockaitis, Rose, & Zettinig, 2012) and diversity beliefs (van Dick, van Knippenberg, Hägele, Guillaume, & Brodbeck, 2008). Critical mediators that were tested include identification with one’s in-group, out-group, and the team as a unit; and one’s trust in the team, since those mediators are components of team cohesion. Team commitment was examined as the output.

Data were collected from 184 participants via an online survey. During the time the data were collected, the participants were working as MNT members at multinational organizations such as consulting firms. Results of the study did not support a majority of the hypothesized relationships. However, a final model was developed and tested based on exploratory analyses. According to this model, collectivism orientation and leader’s effectiveness directly predicted commitment to one’s team; there was also an indirect relationship that was mediated by identification with the team and trust in the team. The results show that selecting team members with high collectivism orientation and developing the skills of team leaders are crucial for increasing MNT members’ commitment to their teams.

SLP Collection