Archive for November, 2008

Cultural Differences On Group Tasks

Posted on November 17, 2008. Filed under: Academic Publishings, Corporate |

Cox, Taylor H. Sharon A. Lobel, Poppy L. McLeod. Effects of Ethnic Group Cultural Differences on Cooperative and Competitive Behavior on a Group Task. The Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 34, No. 4, 1991. Pgs. 827-847.

As much as group-dynamic literature is focused on traditional white Anglo-American men in the workplace, “this study examined the differences or similarities Anglo-Americans, Asian, Hispanic, and Black Americans in behaviors on group tasks. The authors hypothesized that the racial minorities would exhibit more collective and cooperative behaviors than the competitive-individualistic Anglo-Americans.

As alluded to earlier, very little research had been conducted on cultural heterogeneity, resulting in an Anglo-American biased data pool. This data does not accurately reflect the changing population demographics, in which “people of different ethnic backgrounds possess different attitudes, values, and norms that reflect their cultural heritages (828).” Previous research demonstrates that there are two types of cross-cultural dimensions, individualistic and collectivist. Collectivists focus on the betterment of the group and its communal results whereas the individualistic approach sacrifices the group for results. European and European-descent cultures are individualist and Asian, Africans, and Latinos are collectivistic, which led to the first hypothesis.

The first hypothesis, a general expectation, proposes that ethnic differences in approaching group work will alter the group behavior and tasks. Ethnic differences stem from the bicultural differences of being African, Hispanic, or Asian. “Members of predominant minority groups of the United States tend to be bicultural and to have knowledge of Anglo norms as well as the norms of their own ethnic group (830),” in which they accommodate these norms depending on the situation. These norms are learned through their association with the competitive majority-culture and their own cooperative minority-culture. This notion led to testing the idea that as African, Hispanic, and Asian groups gather, they will increase their collective behaviors. In order to test this hypothesis, they used a mixed-motive game from the Prisoner’s Dilemma, a cooperative-competition game.

This game demonstrated that “cooperatively oriented subjects responded in kind to a competitive strategy but readily reverted to cooperative behavior in response to a cooperative strategy even though the payoff matrix for the game provided higher incentives for responding competitively (831),” leading to the second hypothesis; that collective groups are oriented more towards collective work where they expect cooperative behavior and tasks. This also led to hypothesis 2b, stating that diverse groups will increase their cooperative behaviors.

The study tested 136 college graduate and undergraduate students from various majors in the Midwest. It included; 75 Anglo-Americans, 25 Asians, 17 Blacks, and 19 Latinos with a total of 95 men and 41 women, all of which 115 were born in the States. The subjects were randomly assigned to groups, which included the following; “9 had two men and two women, and the other 8 were all men. There were also 8 all-male groups among the Anglos, but only 4 of the remaining 8 groups were balanced on gender (832).” These numbers led to a brief gender analysis on possible effects on group dynamics. Each group is given two choices with ‘numerical payoffs’ for certain combination of choices. Figures 1 and 2 display these results.

Figure 1 displays the payoff matrix, demonstrating that when groups participate in cooperative behaviors, they enjoy a ‘moderate mutual gain,’ whereas a non-cooperative person within a cooperative group runs the risk of a major ‘loss’ versus the competitor. It is also demonstrates that a loss is inevitable when they do not participate in cooperative behaviors. “Two conditions of the game were employed: a no-feedback condition and a cooperative-feedback condition (834).” These conditions were manipulated to invoke participant responses to external conditions. These participants recorded their individual strategies and reasons and then met as a group afterwards.

The results proved both hypotheses to be correct. Under the cooperative-feedback condition, most of the participants assumed that cooperative behaviors will continue throughout the process. “In contrast, the majority (73%) of the reasons given in the no-feedback phase simply related to winning or losing and did not refer to an expectation of cooperation from the other party (836).” Mean scores on individualism-collectivism scale rank racial minorities with the highest score and Anglos with the lowest score, 56.49. Pairwise comparisons revealed that the original hypothesis would be correct. Using the Pairwise analysis demonstrated that African, Latino, and Asian ethnic groups participate in collective-cooperative behaviors at a higher rate than Anglos. Between the different racial groups, they did not differ significantly from one another.

It also demonstrated that Anglos were more competitive in no-feedback and during the competitive-feedback; Anglos gave the most competitive reasons for their answers, showing that Anglos rank significantly higher in competitive responses. Hypothesis 2 was confirmed through this, stating that Anglos again, gave fewer cooperative responses.

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Self-Reflection: Obama, Politics, and Race

Posted on November 14, 2008. Filed under: Higher Education |

It has come to my attention recently, that after speaking with dozens of students across a variety of institutions throughout the northeast and other colleagues at these respective institutions, there is a recurring concern among college administrators that the current millennium generation may not understand the significance of the election of Barack Obama.  This is signified by the fact that there are very limited, if any, conversations or any other forms of extra-curricular programming, few debates between student political groups, and no celebrations.

Perhaps if the teachers sacrificed a day out of their curriculum to discuss the election, students may have taken a moment to reflect, however, students are forced to bury their noses in books and meetings, and haven’t made the opportunities to ask faculty, staff, or members of the administration, about the election and their reactions.  Is it due to the fact that this generation expects things to be done for them or is it the fear of discussing politics regarding a BLACK PRESIDENT? There are numerous reasons as to why these conversations may not be happening, for example, lack of parental involvement, peer influence, lack of concern, and so forth.

What’s my self-reflection? First off, I’m not going to discuss whether I think he’s qualified or not, but rather, the image he represents for millions of people in this country.  I’m willing to extend this number to billions, to people all over the world, that as immigrants, your children can become president of this beautiful country.  Well, I think the election of Obama and its significance stands more of a symbol, an image, a for a lack of better words, a reality for parents and grand-parents, to honestly believe, that when they tell their children or grandchildren that they “can do anything that they put their minds to,” they can believe it.  President Elect Obama is an image for the millions of disadvantaged and underprivileged citizens.  He is HOPE in the change and or the re-emergence of the U.S.’s global image and politics.  He embodies the CHANGE that the Civil Rights movement fought for, he is the new Michael Jordan, the symbol of fortitutde and strength for the weak, and is is the reality of the many dreams dreamt since the 60’s.

Who will you be? I am a vehicle of CHANGE.

More to come.

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How Experience & Networking Affects Demographic Minorities

Posted on November 13, 2008. Filed under: Academic Publishings, Corporate |

Westphal, James D. and Laurie P. Milton. How Experience and Network Ties Affect the Influence of Demographic Minorities on Corporate Boards. Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 45, No. 2 (Jun., 2000), pgs. 366-398.

This article examines the influence of demographic majority and minority executive directors in diverse decision making groups and their ability to assimilate according to previous board member experience. Minority status is affected by functional background, industry background, education, race, and gender, from a large corporate sample of Fortune/Forbes Top 500 Companies.

Previous corporate boards had been viewed as being homogenous, and recent stakeholders had pushed for diversifying their boards in the hopes of improving decision making, in which they recruited others from outside their industries. However, although these new board members originated from different industries, the boards were still homogenous in their education, functional background, and also gender and race. “Research has shown that increases in the ratio of outside to inside directors do not necessarily improve decision making or performance (367).” Although they came from different industries, they were demographically similar, and thus their strategic approaches and decision making were also similar.

Throughout this article, the authors adopted the social psychologist definition of minority as referring to “an individual who has salient attitude, belief, or social feature, such as a demographic characteristic, that is possessed by less than 50% of the group (367).” The advantage of this definition is that it reflects the variability of minority status subject to context and situations. Although various academics are skeptical of demographic minorities successfully influencing group decision making, this study aims to demonstrate successful measures through which this may be achieved.

Academics are skeptical because “demographic differences lower social cohesion between group members and that these social barriers reduce the likelihood that minority viewpoints will be incorporated into group decisions (367).” This is consistent with Blass et al’s article on Politics Understanding and Networking Ability as a Function of Mentoring. In this article, the networking advantage is a direct result from learning the internal game of politics, developing a set of organizational competencies, including expectations, informal rules, and boundaries, that allow demographic minorities to assimilate into group categories.

Demographic minorities are categorized as out-group members, and begin to identify and categorize accordingly, and as out-group members, they will encounter both verbal and nonverbal resistance to group contributions, impacting their contribution quality. “Thus, out-group biases can limit the potential of minority board members to contribute to board decision making by challenging the conventional wisdom of the majority (369).” If out-group members do not provide quality contributions, and are viewed according to their salient categories, this greatly affects their performance evaluations as viewed by demographic majority group members. In fact, research shows the “tendency for demographically different individuals to receive less favorable evaluations and to become socially marginalized from group decision making…(369).” However, there are barriers that can be overcome, particularly through network experience and time spent in majority/minority status.

Demographic minorities could make more influential insights and decision making by highlighting common objectives that all group members share. “An effective minority influence style would involve faming an argument with reference to strategic or personal goals that directors have in common (370).” This method of identification presents itself as the more salient demographic identity, uniting both in and out-group members. When majority directors are supervised by a demographic minority, it allows majority directors to establish an in-group membership toward demographic minorities, and thus, enhancing demographic minority performance. This minority role experience is critical in developing effective decision making groups.

Minority role experience helps reduce salient out-group characteristics. “Prior experience in a minority role should help directors minimize the out-group bias facing directors in a minority position, enhancing their ability to influence board decision making… (371).” This experience allows them to identify with out-group members, and thus, improving group decisions. These concepts led to hypothesis 1a stating the positive relationship between previous relationship in a minority role and a director’s influence over the board. Hypothesis 1b states; there is a negative relationship between more experience as a majority director with decision making board members. Hypothesis 2 states a positive relationship with other majority board members in previous minority role positions and effective decision making groups.

This experience enhanced the perceived social similarity, in which networks create a positive stereotype. These network associations enhance minority confidence and provide more fair job evaluations. Perceived similarities also enhance trust, thus decreasing the tendency to marginalize minorities. Strong networks also make minorities less vulnerable to out-group categorization, which results in a reduce perceived threat to demographic majorities. Hypothesis 3a states that as common board membership increases the more positive the relationship is between minority status and majority director influence over decision making. Hypothesis 3b states that as 3rd party ties between minority and majority increase, the more positive relationship between minority and majority and the influence over decision making.

Results of tests show a strong positive correlation between minority status and prior experience in a minority role for 5 of 6 demographic characteristics. As majority directors experience as a minority increases, so does the ability to oversee effective decision making groups. Hypothesis 2 is strongly correlated with positive effects on minority status influence in decision making groups. “The results in Table 2 also generally support hypothesis 3a…the effect of minority status on director influence becomes more positive as the number of common board memberships with other, majority directors increase (388).” There is also a high correlation for 3b, involving the director’s ability to positively influence, as it is related to third party network ties.

Overall, their hypothesis were tested accurately and proved to be correct. However, they did discuss the future direction of studies, emphasizing how different demographic groups could work more effectively and avoid categorization and in-group allegiance. Again, this study greatly supports the previous referenced article on political networks and its influence on diverse decision making groups.

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Leadership and Chinese CEO’s

Posted on November 11, 2008. Filed under: Academic Publishings, Corporate |

Tsui, Anne S., Hui Wang, Katherine Xin, Lihua Zhang, P.P. Fu. Variation of Leadership Styles Among Chinese CEO’s. Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 33, No. 1, pgs. 5-20, 2004.

The goal of this study was to identify key Chinese CEO leadership styles, variations between firms and styles, and the level of effectiveness of styles and its impact on their organizations. Research methods included; newspapers, company websites, and interviews. Using systematic statistical analyses, the study found six behavioral dimensions and four types of styles, in which the styles reflect a subtle blend of eastern values and western ideals.

After China’s economic reform 25 years ago, China has grown to be one of the world’s largest economies, and its corporate executive management has been rapidly adapting in order to handle the new economic developments. However, traditional forms of Chinese management are confronted with Western management philosophies. There are three forces affecting Chinese leadership behaviors; “traditional (Confucian) values, Communist ideologies, economic reform, and infiltration of foreign, especially Western, management philosophies and practices… (5).” As is expected, the government still plays a significant role in corporate strategies, maintaining their communist and Confucian beliefs.

There are four major Confucian virtues; the class system, obedience, the doctrine of the mean, and renqing (kindness/reciprocity). “These four virtues have historically formed the foundation of ethics and morality in the mind of the Chinese people (6).” The class system defines the social order, which is ruled by obedience to superiors. This superior-subordinate relationship maintains the cardinal relationship of social order. This Confucian tradition contributes to the authoritative leadership style of Chinese business leaders, whereas the leaders demonstrate benevolence to subordinates

These traditional Confucian values are also intertwined with communist ideologies of communal dedication and service. “These ideologies, including whole-hearted service to the people, loyalty to the Party, hard work and self-sacrifice are prescribed in the Party Constitution for members to follow (6).” This ideology is strongly correlated to corporate dedication that Chinese employees have with their companies and to their leaders (CEO’s).

Prior to China’s economic reform, the government ruled all strategies, supplies, and financial allocations. “Leaders, under the contemporary definition, did not exist, because all organizations had to do was to make sure that the allocated quotas were fulfilled, and that the people assigned to them were cared for (6).” The notion of leaders was fulfilled entirely by Confucian values, aligning allegiance to CEO’s with allegiance to the government. However, in 1978, managers of state-owned companies were now responsible for corporate operations and profit-making. Prior to 1978, privately-owned enterprises (POE’s) were deemed illegal, as they did not comply with government regulations and oversight. After the reform, POE’s were free from government regulations and were able to adopt Western managerial philosophies, allowing them to be less-risk adverse as their SOE competitors. POE’s are more likely to engage in more-risky behaviors in the pursuit of profit because they are not constrained by governmental regulations, which strongly influences Chinese leadership styles and behaviors.

They found six behavioral dimension and four styles of leadership. These styles are; Articulating Vision, Monitoring Operations, Being Creative and Risk-Taking, Relating and Communicating, Showing Benevolence, and Being Authoritative. CEO’s exhibiting Articulating Vision refers to CEOs’ ability to clearly communicate vision to his or her followers. Monitoring Operations sets the strategic decisions of the organization. Showing Benevolence refers to CEO’s executing generosity to their employees and families. Being Authoritative exudes the leader-follower relationship.

Task-behaviors, as are traditionally assigned to U.S. male leaders, are distinct in Articulating Vision, Monitoring Operations, and Being Creative and Risk-Taking. These leadership styles establish benevolence, operation oversight, and dictatorial behaviors. “The other three dimensions relate to the people management aspect of the executive position: Relating and Communicating, Showing Benevolence, and Being Authoritative (9).” Being benevolent and dedicated to social relationships is imbedded in Chinese culture, in which Confucian virtues teaches of superiors treating subordinates with kindness and righteousness.

The four leadership styles of Chinese executives are; Advanced Leadership style, Authoritative Leadership style, Progressive Leadership style, and Invisible Leadership. Advanced Leadership style is ready to work in a field full of risk and embodies the spirit of creativity which influences the corporate fabric. This leader understands the importance of his or her human capital and does his or her best to respect and understand its employees. Authoritative Leadership styled is viewed as a difficult management style to work with. Employees are obedient and abide by high moral standards in which the CEO enforces.

Progressive Leadership style establishes a strict performance system to improve efficiency and product quality. This leader unites groups to work as a whole, to create value and to please the stockholders and local communities. This leader is dynamic and is employee-oriented. Invisible Leadership style is self-explanatory. This leader prefers to pass decisions to subordinates and avoid the spotlight.

CEO’s in SOE’s are inhibited by governmental regulations, thus inhibiting leader development. In POE’s, leaders have the opportunity to develop and grow within an organization. The authors “expect that the CEO’s of these firms will have tighter control over their organizations and will introduce modern management skills (15).” Research found that Advanced Leaders are more likely to be found in POE’s than SOE’s because they have a reason to motivate and cultivate effective leaders in order to increase profits and experience internal growth.

In conclusion, the Chinese external environment has a significant impact on developing executive leaders. All six behavioral dimensions work well depending on the industry and type of company. Although China is experiencing high levels of Western influence, Chinese people are still willing to follow the Authoritative Leadership style as it is imbedded in their culture and values. Although Western philosophies would disagree, China must consider that; “Not all Chinese leaders are alike. Second, there is no one stereotypic Chinese leadership style in contemporary China. Third, leadership in China is a moving target (18),” allowing for further research and cultural development to occur. In not trying to apply my Western bias, China is moving in the right direction and will experience decades of executive leadership development.

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Firm Diversity and Performance

Posted on November 6, 2008. Filed under: Academic Publishings, Corporate |

Richard, Orlando C. Racial Diversity, Business Strategy, and Firm Performance: A Resource-Based View. The Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Apr., 2000), pgs. 164-177.

As is evident by the title, the author examined the correlation between companies’ racial diversity, business strategy, and firm performance. The purpose of this study was to provide insight into these relationships, and according to Richard’s results, demonstrated that cultural diversity is an added value and does have a positive impact on firm performance. Research data is relevant to the banking industry and was collected at the firm level using Sheshunoff Bank Search Database, questionnaires, phone calls, and surveys.

This article focuses on firm level impacts of diversity that are distinct from management. The author uses the term ‘cultural diversity’ to refer to racial diversity. Cultural diversity, according to Cox (1994), is defined as ‘the representation, in one social system, of people with different group affiliations of cultural significance.’ As is proposed by prior readings (Powell and Graves 2003, Elsass and Graves 1997), corporate diversity provides a positive impact on decision-making and corporate culture. According to a study by Watson, Kumar, and Michaelsen (1993), homogenous and heterogeneous groups were evaluated on process and performance effectiveness. Both groups scored the same for process effectiveness, however, heterogeneous groups scored higher in performance effectiveness, illustrating the importance and firm-enhancing impacts of diversity.

Companies compete on varying levels including capital and assets, but according to the author, one of the most important corporate assets are its people. “Strategic human resource management (SHRM) is a means of gaining competitive advantage through one of a company’s most important assets: its people…the concept of human capital are that people have skills, experience, and knowledge that provide economic value to firms (165).” This value is hard to imitate, duplicate, or substitute, thus making knowledge capital a highly valuable asset.

As companies begin to diversify their target audience, their suppliers, or international joint ventures, corporations must be prepared to address varying racio-ethnic differences and customer preferences. This is attainable by diversifying corporate decision-making groups. “As firms reach out to a broader customer base, they need employees who understand particular customer preferences and requirements (165).” The sharing of diverse perspectives will improve performance and decision-making. This led to the first hypothesis, stating racial diversity will be positively associated with firm performance. Again, human capital is a competitive advantage, as long as it remains rare, and unable to replicate, otherwise, competitors will adopt these methods, no longer making it a competitive advantage.

In order for a firm to take advantage of its resources, it must be prepared for growth. There are two forms of growth, internal and external. Internal growth can be achieved by benefiting “from market-related advantages obtained by cultural diversity (167)” by expanding and entering new markets. External growth, suggests expansion, requiring “employees who are flexible in their thinking and who are not likely to be concerned about departing from the status quo (167).” During growth stages, many assets are exploited, in which diverse human capital carry an organization throughout each growth phase. According to the author, human capital exploitation does not match with companies downsizing their personnel, thus leading to the second hypothesis that; higher racial diversity will be positively related to firm performance when the firm pursues a growth strategy and negatively related to firm performance when the firm pursues a downsizing strategy (167).”

Results show that hypothesis 1, which stated cultural diversity is positively associated with firm performance, does not hold true. According to Table 3, which provided a regression analysis for productivity, return on equity, and market performance outcomes, illustrates the lack of correlation. However, hypothesis 2 is supported by step 4 in Table 3 and is visually demonstrated in Figure 1 (pg. 173). Research proves that “racial diversity contributes to a significant change in the multiple squared correlation (R2) for growth firms…similarly, the return on equity regressions show that firms with racial diversity and a growth strategy experienced higher return on equity than firms with the same diversity and a no growth or downsizing strategy (171).” These results may direct future research to evaluate additional diverse corporate studies such as internal and external conditions that may impact diversity efforts and how to improve job design and work structure.

In conclusion, racial diversity and growth strategy bear positive results on corporate and market performance. Results are dependent upon corporate growth strategies, as was demonstrated in research results. This brings to light the importance of HR management and business strategy. Although this article demonstrates the effectiveness of overall diverse decision-making, I would like to see more research on CEO commitment to diversity and how that affects attracting and retaining diverse human capital.

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Race and Politics

Posted on November 6, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

As history has been made, and so much of it is focused on the election of a black man into office, it is important to understand and realize that racism is not gone, it is in fact, still very strong and present.  As we are experiencing the new forms of racism on a daily life, mainly institutionalized racism and not traditional racism (blatant), it is important for all of us to recognize its existence, and to continue to forge through the social nuances that plague our societal structure of complancency.  Yes, history has been made, but we’ve got much further to go.  Please stay tuned for a more in depth analysis of traditional vs. modern forms of racism.

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Diverse Decision-Making Groups

Posted on November 3, 2008. Filed under: Academic Publishings, Corporate |

Elsass, Priscilla M. and Laura M. Graves. Demographic Diversity In Decision-Making Groups: The Experiences of Women and People of Color. Academy of Management Review. 1997. Vol. 2, No. 4, pgs. 946-973.

This study investigates diverse decision-making groups and the experiences of women and racial minorities. In evaluating societal and organizational norms, they use theoretical models to describe basic cognitive and behavioral processes that influence their experiences in decision-making groups. The first model is centered on the Focal Individual’s Experience in a Diverse Work Group and the second model summarizes the focal individual’s role in the group via Patterns of Exchange for Outgroup Members.

The first method, involving Figure 1, the Diverse Work Group model, the authors illustrate a 3-phased developmental process for focal individuals (women and racial minorities), beginning with cognitive, then behavioral, and lastly, their outcomes. “When a work group is formed, its members will engage in social comparison and categorization processes that shape their role expectations (949).” Each individual possesses a self-identity which is based on their social and gender categories. They also have a personal identity which is based on their personal attributes, which is generally their salient features as perceived by others. By salient features, they specifically refer to those perceivable physical characteristics that project either their gender or racioethnicity.

Research proves that salient features such as race and gender are automatically categorized by others, and function as the primary fields of categorization. As women and racial minorities enter groups, categorization of the focal individual is centered around the social dimensions of traits and behaviors. These social expectations are unconsciously imposed upon the focal individual, slowly persuading the individual to adopt those role expectations. These cognitive processes include all social expectations, namely; stereotypes, judgments, biases, and negative expectations, all of which orient dominant members to unconsciously assign low status to women and racial minorities, and consequentially, empowering white males.

Recent research also suggests a positive correlation between interactions of demographic similarity and task competence. However, “the focal woman or person of color may develop negative expectations regarding his or her own group role (950).” Once women and racial minorities internalize the negative expectations, they begin to doubt their own capabilities and competency, reinforcing the negative racial and gender stereotypes. This phenomenon is also cited in Anna Fels article, Do Women Lack Ambition? where she discusses the effects of ambition, mastery, and recognition. In this article, Fels underlines the significance of women receiving less recognition, and thus, losing the ambition to master an art or skill, and finally, losing all ambition for success, withdrawing from group decision making and tasks.

As women and racial minorities withdraw from groups and decision making processes, they also begin to limit their own capacities. “Women and people of color may experience limited opportunities to develop their task skills, which further reinforces their self-doubts (950),” causing majority group members to be less attracted to that gender or racioethnic group and any remaining dissimilar others. According to James Elliot and Ryan Smith’s Race, Gender, and Workplace Power, they discuss homosocial reproduction, the desire to promote and work with members most similar to the majority, as a primary cause to workplace disparities. As long as homosocial reproduction is being practiced, women and racial minorities may not be a beneficiary, thus requiring focal individuals to maintain strong self and social identities in the workplace. Through this vehicle, women and racial minorities will maintain their ambition, mastery, and will receive the necessary amounts of recognition to push for continued success.

The second phase of Figure 1 are the behavioral processes, which focus on the behavioral interactions between focal individuals and the group. The authors divided these interactions into two different exchanges, instrumental and social. “Instrumental exchange refers to the quality of the task-related interchange between the focal individual and the group. Social exchange refers to the quality of the social interchange between the individual and the group, including the extent to which an individual offers social support to others as well as the degree to which this behavior is reciprocated (951).” These exchanges are the basis for Figure 2, the patterns of exchange for outgroup members.

Lastly, the third and final phase of Figure 1, Outcomes, concentrates on the focal individual’s group attachment and contribution. There are two major developments here, with the first stating; a high level of social exchange with focal individual’s will provide support and thus develop a positive attachment to the group, and secondly; positive (supportive) instrumental experiences produces enhanced task behaviors and the quality of these exchanges.

Figure 2 is simplified into 4 quadrants; exclusion, complementing, contributing, and engagement. These four possible patterns of exchange “describe the effects of racioethnicity and gender on the instrumental and social roles of women and people of color in decision-making groups (953).” Exclusion stands in quadrant 2 with low quality of instrumental exchange and low quality of social exchange. The exclusion pattern, low group participation and tasks, fewer influence attempts, leadership oversight, and poor commitment, is connected to fewer established networks and contacts within the organization. This fact is supported by Blass et al.’s article, Politics Understanding and Networking Ability as a Function of Mentoring: The Roles of Gender and Race, in which they prove that women and racial minorities do not have equal access to networks due to the lack of political affiliations and networking opportunities.

Complementing, a rare exchange, consists of low instrumental and high social exchanges. Here, “some individuals may exhibit a preference for social, rather than instrumental, behaviors, which leads to the complementing pattern (957).” Here, focal individuals rely on social group maintenance rather than task activities. Engagement, an uncommon experience, is a high quality and high social exchange, proving that focal individuals “are most likely to experience this pattern when individuals and situational factors minimize the effects of categorization and facilitate the individuals’ participation in task and social interactions (958).” In order for this exchange to occur, salient features such as skin color and other biological physical characteristics must be reduced in order to minimize negative and behavioral stereotypes from developing.

The authors also discuss change triggers, when group members (focal individuals) alter their behaviors depending on internal or external influences, and how it affects diversity-related exchanges. The two categories of triggers are: interpersonal challenges and gaps between actual and desired group outcomes. “Interpersonal challenges arise when a member’s behavior contradicts other members’ role expectations for him or her (963).” There are a multitude of examples, including confidence, denial, positive self-concepts, and so forth.

The second trigger is group outcome gaps. Here, “the focal individual’s role is a gap between the desired and actual outcomes of the group (964).” Outcomes, or rather, successes and failures, may result from group member frustration, imbalance or balance, and even synergy. However, negative outcomes results in inter-group scrutiny, prompting evaluation and problem-solving tactics, often times pinning failures onto focal individuals.

Further research must examine how race and gender affect both task and social behaviors. This is internal assessment is critical for practicing managers, whereas scholars need to focus on longitudinal research in order to properly address individual experiences. These experiences will vary among factors and personal attributes, all of which will affect diverse decision-making group experiences. In conclusion, this research demonstrates that social, racial, and gender factors influence diverse decision-making groups and needs to be further evaluated, and lastly, focal individuals must experience positive task and social interactions in order for diversity efforts to be fruitful.

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