Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology, Industrial and Organizational

Date of Defense

9-10-2018

Graduate Advisor

Dr. Ekin Pellegrini

Committee

Dr. Wolfgang Althof

Dr. Stephanie Merritt

Dr. John Meriac

Abstract

Previous research supports what employees intuitively sense: peers make the place (Chiaburu & Harrison, 2008; Schneider, 1987). Extant research suggests coworker relationships have critical influence on outcomes ranging from turnover (Felps, Mitchell, Hekman, Lee, Holtom, & Harman, 2009) to creativity (Homan, Buengeler, Eckhoff, van Ginkel, & Voelpel, 2015) to organizational commitment (Viswesvaran & Ones, 2002) to employee health and well-being (Heaphy & Dutton, 2008). Despite the increase of Intercultural COworker Relationships (ICORs), particularly in multinational firms in the technology industry, research has yet to examine what defines coworker relationship quality in the presence of national cultural differences. In other words, how do employees define and experience relationship quality in ICORs? How do employees behave to facilitate relationship quality in ICORs? The present study sought to address these theoretically and practically important questions using a mixed methods design, with an emphasis on the qualitative data collected via grounded theory methodology. Findings reveal consistencies and important differences compared to monocultural coworker relationships. The current study offers a theoretical framework to conceptualize the development of ICOR quality. The importance of understanding how relationship quality is defined and facilitated in organizations with nationally diverse populations is discussed, both in terms of theoretical and practical implications.

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