The Selection Committee for the JIBS Decade Award is pleased to announce
that the 2010 JIBS article “Unraveling the effects of cultural diversity in
teams: A meta-analysis of research on multicultural groups” by Günter Stahl,
Martha Maznevski, Andreas Voigt and Karsten Jonsen has been selected as the
winner of the 2020 JIBS Decade Award.


The award, sponsored by Palgrave Macmillan, is designed to recognize the
most influential paper published in the Journal of International Business
Studies ten years prior and is presented at the annual AIB conference. In
order to be considered for the JIBS Decade Award, an article must be one of
the five most cited articles published in JIBS for the year being
considered. This year’s Selection Committee members were JIBS Reviewing
Editor Sjoerd Beugelsdijk (Chair, University of Groningen, Netherlands), the
current AIB Program Chair Rebecca Piekkari (Aalto University, Finland), and
immediate past AIB Program Chair Maria Tereza Fleury (Fundação Getulio
Vargas, Brazil). JIBS Editor-in-Chief Alain Verbeke was an ex officio,
non-voting committee member.


In recommending the award-winning article, the committee noted that, “In
their article, Stahl, Maznevski, Voigt and Jonsen explore the relationship
between cultural diversity and team outcomes. In a well-written and clearly
articulated analysis, the winners of the Award summarize the rich literature
on team diversity and highlight theoretical inconsistencies and empirical
lacuna in this literature. They develop a theory on cultural diversity and
its relationship with team outcomes. The article is rooted in the OB
literature on team diversity and the critical role of fault-lines when it
comes to understanding the dynamics in diverse teams. Building on the
well-known similarity-attraction paradigm and the related social identity
and social categorization theories, the authors conceptualize the various
intermediate mechanisms linking cultural diversity with team performance.
The keywords to describe these mechanisms are cohesion, creativity,
groupthink and conflict. For each of these mechanisms they develop specific
hypotheses and specify a set of contingency effects. The related moderating
variables relate to the size of the team, the complexity of the task, the
geographic location of the team members, and team tenure. With respect to
cultural diversity, they introduce an important novelty: the distinction
between surface level and deep level nature of cultural diversity. Surface
level diversity refers to differences among team members in overt
demographic characteristics such as nationality. Deep level cultural
diversity in turn refers to differences rooted in values and attitudes. 


“The resulting hypotheses are tested in a meta-analysis of the team
diversity literature, encompassing 108 primary studies in the area. Taken
together, these studies cover a sample of 10,532 teams. The analysis shows
that diverse teams gain from increased diversity in terms of greater
creativity, but these teams also suffer from process loss due to increased
conflict. The authors found – quite unexpectedly – that culturally diverse
teams did not suffer from less effective communication. Interestingly, they
found opposite results for surface level cultural diversity and deep level
cultural diversity. Finally, their analysis shows that there is a difference
in results between experimental studies relying on student samples and field
studies that use non-student samples. They conclude their article with a
series of follow up questions. 


“This article is not only one of the most cited articles published in JIBS
in 2010, but also stands out for a number of other reasons. 


“First, the committee appreciates the theoretical novelty of the article.
The distinction between the two types of cultural diversity - surface level
and deep level – is an important insight compared to the dominant approach
to interpret cultural differences based on values (as in Hofstede’s
tradition). Furthermore, the carefully crafted conceptualization, whereby
the pros and cons of cultural diversity and possible moderating effects are
described, is powerful, because it emerges from a single, credible
theoretical framework (social identity theory). The authors also use the
above insights to theorize on the distinction between intra-national and
inter-national differences. This distinction is critical to isolate and
highlight the international dimension of diverse teams.


“Second, the hypotheses are tested using a meta-analytical method. The
meta-analytical approach has become increasingly popular since 2010, but at
that point in time few articles in JIBS (and in other business journals) had
used meta-analysis to test hypotheses. Many meta-analyses are written to
take stock of the prior literature, and to describe key findings without
always having clear theory-based ideas about what the authors expect to
find. In this case, however, the authors develop hypotheses and do make such
predictions. The article is not just a descriptive account of empirical
regularities (which might be of some interest), but goes much deeper.  The
article was one of the first to use meta-analysis, not only to summarize
what others had found before, but also to test theory.


“Third, some of the results deviate from what was hypothesized. The authors
elaborate on possible reasons as to why hypothesized relationships were not
supported, thereby demonstrating the importance they attach to academic
rigor and to an ethical approach to research. The authors show that they are
part of a scholarly community in which progress is made only when members of
this community are willing to share results that were unexpected or
ambiguous. The authors’ willingness to transform their questions into
actionable suggestions for future research, further demonstrates their
interest in genuine scholarly debate.


“To conclude, the article is rigorous, relevant, and well written. It has
clear takeaways that provide the reader with insight for subsequent,
in-depth reflection. Ultimately, this is what academic research should be
all about: it should inspire follow-up research by corroborating what we
think we know, refuting what seems to be generally accepted, and pushing the
scholarly community to think harder about observed empirical regularities.


“For all the above reasons, the selection committee unanimously recommends
to grant the JIBS Decade Award to Günter Stahl, Martha Maznevski, Andreas
Voigt and Karsten Jonsen.”


A session will be held at the upcoming 2020 AIB Annual Meeting in Miami, in
which the authors and invited discussants will comment on the paper. A
reception honoring the Decade Award winning paper and its authors will also
be held as part of the closing reception at the conference. We hope that you
will join us in Miami to attend these events; the date and times will be
available at  <> when the conference program is


A retrospective by the authors, together with discussants’ commentaries,
will be published in the first issue of the 2021 volume of the Journal of
International Business Studies.


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