Original Research

Teamwork orientation and personal learning: The role of individual cultural values and value congruence

Ghulam Mustafa, Richard Glavee-Geo, Paula M. Rice
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 43 | a1446 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v43i0.1446 | © 2017 Ghulam Mustafa, Richard Glavee-Geo, Paula M. Rice | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 March 2017 | Published: 20 November 2017

About the author(s)

Ghulam Mustafa, Department of International Business, NTNU-Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Richard Glavee-Geo, Department of International Business, NTNU-Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Paula M. Rice, Department of International Business, NTNU-Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway


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Abstract

Orientation: There is a growing body of research that indicates that personal factors such as collectivist value orientation play an important role in individuals’ preference for teamwork, and an individual’s propensity to work in a team is seen as a contributing factor in one’s personal learning.

Research purpose: The purpose of this article is twofold. Firstly, the article aims to explore whether individual-level cultural values of power distance, uncertainty avoidance and masculinity–femininity interact with individual collectivist values to influence teamwork orientation. Secondly, the study aims to examine the influence of teamwork orientation on personal learning further exploring the role of perceived value congruence in this relationship.

Motivation for the study: While an extensive amount of research has been conducted on teamwork orientation, the question of how individual cultural values influence formation of teamwork orientation is still largely unanswered. This lack is especially evident with regard to how the influence of collectivism on the development of positive attitudes towards teamwork is promoted or inhibited by other values such as power distance, uncertainty avoidance and masculinity–femininity. Moreover, the current evidence about the influence of teamwork orientation on personal learning and the role of personal and contextual factors in such a relationship is still scarce.

Research design, approach and method: The study used a cross-sectional survey, with data collected from 120 business students engaged in project teams at a Norwegian university. All the hypothesised relationships were assessed using partial least square structural equation modelling technique.

Main findings: The findings indicate that the link between collectivism–teamwork orientation is stronger for team members who scored high on uncertainty avoidance values and the relationship was weaker for team members who endorsed high-power distance values. Teamwork orientation was significantly associated with personal learning independent of the degree of perceived value congruence between individual member and other team members.

Practical or managerial implications: Our study offers implications for managing teams and facilitating employee learning and development in organisations. The study may also benefit teachers in higher education in facilitating students’ learning through group activities.

Contribution or value-added: This study provides initial evidence on the contingent effect of power distance and uncertainty avoidance in the collectivism–teamwork orientation relationship. The study further contributes to the existing literature on the effects of preference to work in teams by assessing the influence of teamwork orientation on personal learning in addition to considering the role of perceived value congruence in this relationship.


Keywords

individual cultural values; teamwork orientation; personal learning; value congruence; collectivist orientation

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