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    Cultural difference on the table: food and drink and their role in multicultural team performance

    Means, A. and MacKenzie Davey, Kate and Dewe, Philip (2015) Cultural difference on the table: food and drink and their role in multicultural team performance. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management 15 (3), pp. 305-328. ISSN 1470-5958.

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    Multicultural teams are increasingly common and provide a challenge to achieving the integration associated with greater effectiveness. The vague and abstract nature of many definitions of culture can make the difficulties in acknowledging and addressing difference challenging. This longitudinal study of a multicultural team follows the anthropological roots of cultural studies to focus on the material role of food and drink in team development. In an empirical, ethnographically oriented study of a culturally diverse work team over time, we explored the ways that food and drink acted as boundary objects in the processes of integration, differentiation and cultural adaptation and negotiation. By employing the lens of material culture, with its sensory nature and its associations with identity, we also highlight the complexity of cross-cultural interaction, with its possibilities of cooperation, learning, difficulties and resistance, and suggest that food and drink allow a grounded discussion of culture, accommodation and difference. We contribute to the multicultural team literature, emphasizing the roles of materiality, constrained choice and complexity, as well as how these are translated into performance by the generative mechanisms of agency in context. We also identify some specific contributions to practice arising from this research.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Boundary objects, cultural difference, culture, fault lines, food and drink, material culture, multicultural team, team performance
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Depositing User: Kate Mackenzie-Davey
    Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2016 09:10
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:21


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