טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentBareket Bercovici Lilah
SubjectThe Influence of Team Cultural Diversity on Team Processes
and Work Effectiveness
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Dr. Zehava Rosenblatt
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

The objective of the study was to investigate the effect of culturally diverse teams compared to homogenous teams on effectiveness of team members and group processes over time.

Participants were 171 students from diverse ethnic backgrounds, working in 51 teams, divided into three heterogeneity levels: high heterogeneity, medium heterogeneity and low heterogeneity (homogenous teams). The teams were involved in one of two social projects that were conducted as a part of an academic institution:

1)    "Student Administration" ("Minhal Hastudentim"), a joint bureau of the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, dedicated to the needs of new immigrant students. The students worked as social mentors for immigrant students. They conducted personal interviews and social activities in order to help new immigrants to adapt to the Israeli culture.
2)    "Open Apartment Project", where students lived in Haifa's poorer neighborhoods and volunteered their personal skills and academic knowledge to advance the interests of the residents in these neighborhoods. The students worked in a variety of outreach and education programs within the community. All of the participants got either a scholarship or a monthly payment for their work.


The research model posited that member affiliation with culturally diverse teams (e.g., Russian, Ethiopian, and Israeli-born) versus homogeneous teams improved team members' performance, team level performance and the perception pf better group processes over time.

Data collection was conducted through questionnaires about performance and perception of group processes, which the student-trainers and coordinators filled at two specified points of time: after 5 months of work, and again after 10 months of work, which was also the time when the project ended.

In order to examine the combined effect of time along with the different heterogeneity levels, repeated measures analysis were used. The relationship between heterogeneity and the interaction of the individual perception of group processes was found to be positive over time, as well as heterogeneity and both the team and the individual performance. In all of the four processes, the level of heterogeneity affected the change which occurred over time.


These results contribute to our understanding of the of the importance of team heterogeneity to members' performance in social organization.

The results of this research could shed light on the theoretical and practical understanding of the importance of designing culturally-diverse working teams for improving work outcomes in social service.