Geographical dissimilarity and team member influence: do emotions experienced in the initial team meeting matter?
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It is both important and challenging to gain influence within geographically diverse teams. In the present study, we argue that the emotions team members experience in their initial team meetings moderate the effect of geographical dissimilarity on their perceived influence on team decisions over time. Specifically, we contrast social identity theory-based arguments that geographical dissimilarity negatively influences perceived influence with self-categorization theory-based arguments that there is a positive relationship between geographical dissimilarity and perceived influence. We argue that the emotions team members experience in their initial meeting determine which of these relationships eventuate over time. Across two studies, our data support our arguments. We found that for individuals experiencing pleasant high-activation emotions, their geographic dissimilarity was more positively related with perceived influence in the initial stage of a project; for those experiencing unpleasant low-activation emotions, their geographic dissimilarity was positively related with perceived influence in the later stage; for those experiencing unpleasant high-activation emotions, their geographic dissimilarity was initially positively and later negatively related with perceived influence. Our results show that the geographical dissimilarity of teammates could either facilitate or hinder the emergence of team member influence at different points in a project, depending on those team members’ initial emotional experiences.
- R & P Seminar