Managing Cultural Diversity

Last Updated: 10 Apr 2020
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Summary This academic paper will consider the study “Cooperation and competition in intercultural interactions” conducted by David Matsumoto and Hyi Sung Hwang, San Francisco State University, United States. Prisoner’s Dilemma, Ultimatum, Trust Game are well-known play games which allowed to accumulate sufficient knowledge in the presented area of studies in terms of cooperation, competition, punishment, trust, trustworthy and clearly demonstrates that people of different cultures plays these games differently.

Earlier research has come to conclusion that intercultural interactions shows less positive results in cooperative behaviors in game play than intracultural interactions; but to date no empirical links have been made between behavioral outcomes and cultural differences between the participants, which became the actual purpose of the study. The first hypothesis is that Intercultural condition will produce less positive behavioral outcomes and cooperation than the Control condition and the second hypotheses states that these behavioral differences are connected to cultural differences.

Organizers of the study offered modified version of Prisoner’s Dilemma where partner either country mate or international one. Americans were put in the same sex-dyads in one of three conditions: with another American participants (Control Condition - 120 people, 40 males and 80 females), with an international student (Intercultural condition – 41 Americans, 20 males, 21 females and 41 international participants, 20 males and 21 females), or with another American but under stressful condition (Stress conditions – 90 people, 44 males and 46 females).

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The aim of the participants is to increase their participation fee, and they were told that an amount of paid sum depends on their play, in reality they received standard amount of fee. They were seated opposite each other and were not allowed to talk, each pair was separated by divider, Experimenter observed the play on the other side of the table. Each participant was given 20 1$ coins and a blue (competitiveness, defection or betrayal) and yellow (cooperation, trust, vulnerability) card.

They had an option whether to play with blue or yellow card within the time allotted for each play. Participants in the Control and Intercultural Conditions were instructed to increase their original payoffs and they received participation fee regardless they won or lost the play; the length of each round 20 s. Participants in stress conditions were instructed that one participant should win over other, and winner will receive all coins from looser; each round lasted for 4 s. Play continued for 20 rounds, or until one of the players lost all their money.

Researchers opted a broad-based approach, where they defined a set of context variables (they were extracted from the plays and summed across both players for production a score for each pair) and in addition they created 10 individual characteristics (cooperation, betrayal, forgiveness, retaliation, reparation, defection, reconciliation, stalemate, prosocial acts, antisocial acts); examined indices of cultural differences between pairs of individuals from different cultures, using home country scores on Hofestede’ (2001) cultural dimensions (Individualism vs. Collectivism, Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, Masculinity vs.

Femininity, and Long vs. Short Term Orientation) . Researches also created cultural differences score in the intercultural condition. All participants passed a personality test (Neo-Five Factor Inventory) and were qualified as acceptable. Besides this, participants self-reported their emotions using 9- point scale (0-9 anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, surprise, pride, shame, embracement, guilt, interest and etc. ) before entering the experiment room and after. For the intercultural Conditions researches computed Cultural Distances scores for each pair using Hofstede’s (2001) five cultural dimensions.

As the result after computing dependent/independent variable (Condition), taking into consideration that pair had the same characteristics (same sex strangers in the same condition), analyzing data for hypotheses, conducting post hoc comparisons using Scheffe tests, thus researchers concluded that Intercultural Condition looked like the Stress Condition, demonstrating worse behavioral outcomes than the Control Condition despite the Intercultural Conditions had the same instructions and procedures as the ontrol Condition. Hypothesis 1 was proved. Initiators of the study also computed pair level correlations between Geographic and Cultural Distance scores with each of the behavioral outcomes in the Intercultural Conditions. Greater cultural Distance on Power Distance was reliably was strongly associated with less positive behavioral outcomes.

Hypothesis 2 was supported. Discussion Strengths This study is the very first research which empirically linked behavioral outcomes to cultural differences between the players and it is undeniable that these findings play will make essential contribution for future empirical works, business development, intercultural trainers and participants itself.

Organizers of the study introduced personality scale to control individual-level effects, offered participants to self-report twice their emotional state prior and after experiment, measured and computed dependent/independent context variables (used well-known Hofested’s cultural dimensions) in order to reduce the possibility of commitment of the ecological and cultural attribution fallacy. Limitations

Cross-cultural literature do not explain us sufficiently what happens in intercultural situations because cross-cultural differences are not necessarily translated to behavioral differences in intercultural interactions; moreover, there is no empirical demonstration that less cooperative and more destructive behaviors associated with intercultural interactions connected to cultural differences between the participants.

Game rules and experimental procedure make direct comparisons very difficult and there is a possibility that instructions are interpreted differently in different cultures. Difference scores of participants’ home country scores on cultural dimensions are not strongly linked to participants because they are simply diffuse and abstract. Methodology didn’t allow for separation of relative standing of the relative standing of power distance and examination of whether differences were consistent at different values of dimension.

Another concerns how the participants in the Intercultural Condition perceive differences between each other. Plus, it is implicit whether these perceptions are automatic or deliberate thought. One of the limitations of the study related to potential explanatory variables (such variables may have been at play) that were not measured (culturally-based, individual differences in economic expectations, religious differences etc. ) References Matsumoto D. Hwang H. S. , (2011), Cooperation and competition in intercultural interactions, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Vol. 35 , Issue 5 , pp. 677-685 Ailon, G. (2008). Mirror, mirror on the wall: Culture’s consequences in a value test of its own design. Academy of Management Review, 33(4), 885–904. Allik, J. , & Realo, A. (2004). Individualism–Collectivism and social capital. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 35(1), 29–49.

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Managing Cultural Diversity. (2018, Jan 07). Retrieved from

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