THE EFFECT OF CULTURAL HETEROGENEITY, LEADER POWER, AND LEADER ATTITUDES ON GROUP PERFORMANCE: A TEST OF THE CONTINGENCY MODEL
ILLINOIS UIV AT URBANA GROUP EFFECTIVENESS RESEARCH LAB
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An experiment was conducted a to compare the performance of 96 culturally and linguistically homogeneous and heterogeneous three-man teams under powerful and weak leadership positions and on three types of tasks varying in structure and requirements for verbal interaction, and b to test a previously described Contingency Model of Leadership Effectiveness. The experiment, conducted in collaboration with the Belgian Naval Forces, utilized 288 petty officers and men from a naval training center, who were assigned to 96 groups in a 16-cell design. Homocultural and heterocultural groups differed in performance only on the highly verbal task. Heterogeneous groups, despite obvious communication difficulties and culturally divergent background, performed about as well on the structured and non-verbal tasks as did homogeneous groups. Groups led by recruit leaders performed as well as groups directed by petty officers. Thus, neither the military leadership training and experience nor the position power of petty officers contributed to the effectiveness of these groups. These findings have considerable potential implications for leadership training programs and an evaluation of the communication variable in affecting group productivity.