Multi-cultural leadership teams and organizational identification in international joint ventures

Jiatao Li, Katherine Xin, Madan Pillutla

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


Many international joint ventures (IJVs) fare poorly. An important factor is that members of an IJV top management team (TMT), which generally comprises people from different cultures, often find it difficult to work together. In this paper we argue that social identity theory and organizational identification processes can help us understand why this is so. We propose that factionalism in a TMT is a significant hazard posed by member identification with different parents. In addition, identification with both the IJV and a parent firm can lead to significant role conflict for IJV top managers. Factionalism and role conflict in turn can result in poor intra-TMT communications and inefficient decision making. Literature in social identity theory and organizational identification suggests that the relative status and power of parents as well as successes of IJVs can affect TMT members' identification with the IJV or the parent company. Preliminary field interviews provide general support for these propositions. Our analysis suggests that organizational identity and identification can be a valuable tool to facilitate the understanding of TMT functioning and IJV performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-337
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Identification
  • International joint ventures
  • Social identity theory
  • Top management team

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'Multi-cultural leadership teams and organizational identification in international joint ventures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this