The bright side of social categorization the role of global identity in reducing relational conflict in multicultural distributed teams

Raveh Harush, Alon Lisak, Ella Glikson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Purpose - Using social categorization perspective, the purpose of this paper is to explore the effect of global identity, perceived proximity, and teaminterdependence on relational conflict in multicultural distributed teams. Design/methodology/approach - Participants were 317 MBA students in 83 multicultural distributed project teams. Structural equation modeling and bootstrap methods were used to test the study model. Findings - The results demonstrate that the indirect effect of global identity on relational conflict, through the pathway of perceived proximity, is moderated by team interdependence. More specifically, global identity leads to higher perceived proximity and lower relational conflict levels under low, rather than high, interdependence levels. Research limitations/implications - The particular study context (multicultural distributed MBA student project teams) may limit the extent of the generalization of the findings. Practical implications - The findings presented here can help practitioners in global organizations to defuse relational conflicts in multicultural distributed teams by embracing a global cultural approach and relying on shared global identity in team building, personnel selection, and development. Additionally, managers should be conscientious when they use the practice of facilitating interdependence between team members and assess the need for other interventions. Originality/value - This study advances multicultural distributed team research by highlighting the role of global identity in reducing relational conflict, identifying the mediation mechanism of perceived proximity, and the boundary conditions of team interdependence levels under which this attenuation effect prevails.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-156
Number of pages23
JournalCross Cultural and Strategic Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 30 Jan 2018


  • Cross-cultural conflict
  • Global identity
  • Multicultural distributed teams
  • Social categorization
  • Social identity
  • Team interdependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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