The Effects of Cultural Value Alignment on Interpersonal Dynamics: The Similarity-Attraction Theory vs. The Attraction of the Opposites Theory

The study idea:

  • Cultural differences are generally seen as a hindrance to collaboration
  • Indeed, studies show that cultural differences lead to misunderstanding and conflicts, damage team cohesion, and make communication more difficult
  • Notably, some research points out the benefits of cultural diversity for team creativity
  • Conspicuously missing from this line of research is how cultural differences affect interactions among team members in terms their closeness and perceptions of one another.
  • The present study explores if and how cultural value similarities affect interpersonal relationships and team dynamics.
  • Namely, we test if and how:
    • Individuals with similar cultural values (e.g., both score high on IND) interact more, feel closer to one another, have fewer conflicts, and evaluate each other performance higher.
    • Teams where team members have more similar cultural values (e.g., small variation/SD in IND values) communicate more, have better team climate, become more acquainted with one another, score each other’s performance higher, have fewer conflicts, and ultimately produce better quality work.
  • Complementarity vs. Attraction Hypotheses:
    • It is possible that similarity along some value dimensions is more beneficial than along other dimensions.
    • For example, people with a similar level of UA (uncertainty avoidance) will probably find comfort in each other’s company, will have more understanding and agreement, and perform better.
    • In contrast, people with different levels of MAS (masculinity-femininity, achievement orientation, need to win) may work better together. The person with high achievement and dominance orientation will be a natural leader and others with low MAS orientation will be comfortable with tending to the group harmony.
  • Further analyses also include:

Tests of how differences in age, work experience, or level of studies affect interpersonal dynamics and peer evaluations


Status: The study idea is still in development

Lead Author: Kerri A Brannen (

Collaboration/support: Vas Taras