Business business is
Research research is
Learning learning is
Home For Researchers Research Projects Cross-cultural differences in the effects of perceived social exchange gaps in GVTs

Cross-cultural differences in the effects of perceived social exchange gaps in GVTs

Research Projects

Main research question

How will cultural values influence individual team member’s responses to perceived social exchange contributions in a cross-cultural team setting

Initial hypotheses

Collectivism will be linked with greater tolerance of unequal exchange contributions than individualism

Femininity will be linked with greater tolerance of unequal exchange contributions than masculinity

Long term orientation will be linked with greater tolerance of unequal exchange contributions than individualism than short term orientation


Research design and methodology

I will use multilevel polynomial regression to analyze the moderating influence of culture on the relationship between individual perceptions of social exchange contributions and attitudinal / behavioral outcomes


List of X-Culture constructs

Antecedent – social exchange contributions

Peer / Self Evaluations (1301, 1302, 1303, 1304, 1305)

Moderator – individual cultural values

Cultural Values (1505)

Proximal team processes

Team Satisfaction (1404)

Collaboration Challenges (1409)

Team Cooperation (1411)

Team Identification (1412)

Work on Same Team Again (1104)

Subsequent outcomes

Team Productivity Results (1402)

Team Report Evaluation (2206)                     


Dissertation Overview

In my dissertation, I will examine the social exchange relationships inherent in team and negotiation settings. I will question the assumptions and methodologies currently being applied to these kinds of reciprocal relationships, and I will propose a more accurate representation of the way individuals perceive the fit or misfit between their own contributions and those of team members or negotiation counterparties. In broad terms, my dissertation attempts to answer the following research question:

How can we better understand and predict individual responses to social exchange interactions in diverse organizational and cultural settings?

An overview of my model for answering this research question is shown below. I will follow a three-essay dissertation format to investigate different elements of social exchange in team and negotiation environments. I will use the first essay to review the Team Member Exchange construct (TMX – Seers, 1989), to describe how its explanatory potential remains unfulfilled, and to propose a new approach for considering both sides of the exchange relationship by separating out a team member’s contributions and receipts. In the second essay, I will analyze the important impact of cultural values on how participants in global teams evaluate their surroundings. Finally, in the third essay I will take the lessons learned from TMX and apply them to the negotiation context, where social exchange with the other party is necessary for relationship-building and achieving mutually beneficial outcomes. In sum, I will contribute to the management literature by refining our theoretical understanding of social exchange dynamics and by providing practical advice for improving teamwork and negotiation performance.

Essay 1: Unpacking the Give and Take of Team Member Exchange (TMX)

As the use of teams in the workplace continues to grow, there is a need for researchers and managers to better understand the nature of team interactions and their relationship with individual and organizational outcomes (e.g. Banks, Batchelor, Seers, O’Boyle, Pollack, & Gower, 2014). Team processes including interpersonal relationships are widely agreed to be the key mediator between inputs and outcomes (e.g. Mathieu, Maynard, Rapp, & Gilson, 2008). While there has been considerable progress in team-oriented research since the 1970s, and TMX has emerged as one of the dominant frameworks, there remains a lack of conceptual refinement and clarity (Banks et al, 2014). In this essay, I will aim to address the inconsistencies in the teams literature by revisiting TMX and exploring how its components interact and lead to relevant outcomes. The first essay responds to the following research question:

How can we better understand and predict individual team members’ responses to TMX by considering TMX Contributions and TMX Receipts?

TMX offers a framework for assessing “the reciprocity between a member and the peer group” (p119, Seers, 1989). Despite the potential for using TMX to differentiate between a team member’s contribution to the team and benefits received from the team, in general it has been applied as an overall measure (simply combining TMX given and TMX received to produce overall TMX). This approach fails to capitalize on the opportunity to understand reciprocal relationships more deeply, both in theoretical and empirical terms. Although some recent studies have started to consider variance in TMX (e.g. Liao, Liu, & Loi, 2010), they still do not separate out the give and take of social exchange – by doing so, I will contribute to the teams literature by decomposing TMX into two essential but discrete parts.

In this essay, I will respond to the lack of precision regarding TMX reciprocity by examining an individual’s perceived fit or misfit between their TMX Contributions to the team and TMX Receipts from the team, and the effect of this evaluation on attitudes and performance outcomes. As such, I will tap into judgments about how balanced the reciprocal social exchange relationship seems to individual team members. I will provide theoretical clarification regarding the need to separate TMX into two components and recommend that future measurement of TMX should be conducted accordingly in order to enable greater insights into team relationships.

I am currently beginning to analyze the data collected for the first essay. With the aim of examining the consequences of perceived balance or imbalance in TMX, I surveyed final year undergraduate students who were participating in a team-based strategy simulation over the course of a semester. Given the extended nature of the task, I was able to gather longitudinal data at four points in time, including initial demographic information, ongoing reports of team processes, and outcome variables at the end of the simulation. I intend to conduct polynomial regression analyses of the data (Edwards & Parry, 1993) to take into account the joint effects of TMX Contributions and TMX Receipts. I predict that this methodology will lead to a more detailed understanding of team member dynamics. The 3D response surfaces produced via polynomial regression will be informative visual representations of the results.


Essay 2: Exploring the Influence of Cultural Values on TMX in Global Teams

During the past 25 years, we have witnessed an increased focus on the role of culture in organizational settings due to the changing work context in a more globally integrated world (Gelfand, Erez, & Aycan, 2007). Companies are more likely to operate across borders and to employ individuals from a broad range of national and cultural backgrounds (e.g. Leung, Bhagat, Buchan, Erez, & Gibson, 2013). As individuals interact more often with people holding different values and beliefs, it is becoming more important to appreciate the challenges and opportunities inherent in these interactions. An ability to span boundaries, to interact with unfamiliar others and to deal with intercultural situations is paramount for employees (e.g. Leung, Ang, & Tan, 2014). Global teams represent an arena where individuals from different cultures are frequently thrown together, and it is essential to appreciate how social exchange relationships develop and influence outcomes. In this essay, I will extend my previous TMX findings by incorporating the effects of cultural moderators that change how individuals respond to reciprocity fit or misfit. I will seek to answer the following research question:

How will cultural values influence individual team member’s responses to perceived fit or misfit between TMX Contributions and TMX Receipts?

Authors of previous studies have noted that cultural factors including individualism / collectivism can influence team processes and social exchange dynamics (Harrison, McKinnon, Wu, & Chow, 2000; Pellegrini & Scandura, 2006). In addition, culturally diverse teams can suffer from process losses due to poor social integration and task conflict (Stahl, Maznevski, Voigt, & Jonsen, 2010). With regards to TMX in a global context, I predict that cultural values will alter how individuals from different backgrounds will perceive balance and imbalance in their social exchange relationships. For example, I expect that team members from collectivist environments will be less sensitive to apparent reciprocity deficit (i.e. more willing to accept that their contribution is higher than the contribution received in return) yet more sensitive to apparent reciprocity excess (i.e. more uncomfortable if their contributions are lower than their receipts).

For my second essay, I am planning to collect similar data to the first essay from a global virtual team simulation involving students from universities in several countries. Again, the data will be longitudinal and I will use surveys to collect information about cultural values as well as team processes and outcomes. I will continue to use a polynomial regression methodology and I expect to find different patterns of response related to TMX fit or misfit depending on individual cultural background. I expect that the 3D response surfaces showing the joint effects of TMX Contributions and TMX Receipts will be significantly different based on the cultural values of the individual team member concerned.


Essay 3: Implications for Social Exchange Relationships in Negotiation Settings

Although the negotiation context is certainly distinct from a typical team environment, it offers many conceptual similarities and I argue that we can apply the logic of social exchange contributions and receipts to this setting. Based on a review of the existing literature, Kozlowski & Bell (2003) provided a comprehensive definition of teams as being “a) composed of two or more individuals, (b) who exist to perform organizationally relevant tasks, (c) share one or more common goals, (d) interact socially, (e) exhibit task interdependencies, (f) maintain and manage boundaries, and (g) are embedded in an organizational context” (p334). Each of these seven elements is highly relevant to the relationship between negotiating parties; together the members of a negotiation can be considered as a team at least to some extent, because they are connected by a desire to achieve important organizational goals through their relationship. I am therefore motivated to examine how an individual negotiator’s evaluation of their social exchange relationship with a counterparty influences their attitudes and behaviors. This leads to the research question for my third essay:

How can we better understand and predict individual negotiators’ responses to social exchange with their counterparty by considering TMX Contributions and TMX Receipts?

The fundamental negotiator’s dilemma concerns the choice between attempting either to create value or to claim value (Lax & Sebenius, 1986). Optimal outcomes are produced by both parties cooperating to create value (win-win situation), but in the competitive context of negotiations people are often more concerned with protecting themselves from exploitation by the other party, leading to mediocre outcomes focused on claiming value. Success in integrative bargaining involves overcoming the obstacles to cooperation, and is aided by motivation to solve the problem on both sides, information sharing and communication, and the development of a trusting and supportive climate (Walton & McKersie, 1965). Negotiation participants tend to be sensitive to the social exchange norm of reciprocity and prefer outcomes that they perceive as equal (Loewenstein, Thompson, & Bazerman, 1989). I expect that negotiations represent another type of interpersonal relationship where individuals will respond to the balance or imbalance in their interactions with the counterparty.

In my final essay, I will posit that negotiators involved in integrative bargaining will evaluate the social exchange reciprocity fit or misfit present in a particular negotiation, equating TMX Contributions and TMX Receipts with an intention to build a cooperative relationship. Typically, when both parties are highly willing to cooperate, there will be a positive effect on attitudes and outcomes. However, similar to the TMX context, cultural differences will potentially complicate matters (Adler, & Graham, 1989) and relationship-building will be jeopardized unless participants can find a common ground for cooperation (Imai & Gelfand, 2010). In my third essay, I will provide propositions about patterns of reciprocity in generalized and context-specific situations, which I intend to test empirically in a later research study.


13-item TMX Scale (Seers et al., 2001)


Please use the scale below to indicate your agreement to the following statements.

(12 items on 7-point scale from Strongly Disagree to Neutral to Strongly Agree)


I communicate openly with other members of my team about what I expect from them.

I frequently provide support and encouragement to other members of my team.

I frequently recognize the efforts of other members of my team.

I frequently take actions that make things easier for other members of my team.

When other members of my team are busy, I often volunteer to help them out.

I frequently suggest ideas that other members of my team can use.


Other members of my team communicate openly with me about what they expect from me.

Other members of my team frequently provide support and encouragement to me.

Other members of my team frequently recognize my efforts.

Other members of my team frequently take actions that make things easier for me.

When I am busy, other members of my team often volunteer to help me out.

Other members of my team frequently suggest ideas that I can use.


How would you characterize your working relationship with other members of your team in general?

(Single item on 7-point scale from Extremely Ineffective to Average to Extremely Effective)


Lead Author: AJ Corner <>