Performance in Intercultural Interactions at Work: Cross-Cultural Differences in Response to Behavioral Mirroring

Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks*, Caroline A. Bartel, Sally Blount

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article examines how performance in intercultural workplace interactions can be compromised even in the absence of overt prejudice. The authors show that individuals respond differently to nonverbal behavioral mirroring cues exhibited in workplace interactions, depending on their cultural group membership. In a field study with experienced managers, U.S. Anglos and U.S. Latinos interacted with a confederate who, unbeknownst to the participant, engaged (or not) in behavioral mirroring. Results show that the level of the confederate's mirroring differentially affected Latinos' state anxiety, but not Anglos' state anxiety, as well as actual performance in the interaction. Two additional laboratory experiments provide further evidence of the interactive relationship of behavioral mirroring and cultural group membership on evaluations of workplace interactions. Implications for intercultural interactions and research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-223
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Volume94
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

Keywords

  • behavioral mirroring
  • culture
  • individual performance
  • mimicry
  • protestant relational ideology
  • rapport
  • synchrony

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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