The nature of workplace boundaries between Australians and Singaporeans in multinational organizations: A qualitative inquiry

Loh, Jennifer (Min Ing), Restubog, Simon Lloyd D. and Gallois, Cindy (2009) The nature of workplace boundaries between Australians and Singaporeans in multinational organizations: A qualitative inquiry. Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, 16 4: 367-385. doi:10.1108/13527600911000348

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Author Loh, Jennifer (Min Ing)
Restubog, Simon Lloyd D.
Gallois, Cindy
Title The nature of workplace boundaries between Australians and Singaporeans in multinational organizations: A qualitative inquiry
Journal name Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1352-7606
Publication date 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1108/13527600911000348
Volume 16
Issue 4
Start page 367
End page 385
Total pages 9
Editor Simon L Dolan
Place of publication W Yorks, United Kingdom
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
1701 Psychology
2001 Communication and Media Studies
970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Formatted abstract
Purpose – This paper seeks to explore the nature of intercultural experiences of Australians and Singaporeans working in multinational organizations. Cultural differences are expected to influence how boundaries and boundary permeability are constructed which in turn affect how Australians and Singaporeans interact and communicate with each other.

Design/methodology/approach – Qualitative interviews were conducted with 23 employees (ten Australians, 13 Singaporeans) working in multinational organizations in both Australia and Singapore. Grounded theory methodology was used to analyze interviewees’ intercultural experiences to determine the nature and composition of relevant boundary categories and permeability.

Findings – Seven workplace boundary categories of varying degrees of permeability were identified. Singaporeans were perceived to create more impermeable boundaries than Australians. Impermeable boundaries were found to also restrict intercultural interactions.

Research limitations/implications – The qualitative nature of the study, small sample size and interviewer's ethnicity could limit the generalizability of the results. Another limitation is that the data were based on self-reports and participants may have reported socially desirable responses.

Practical implications – The findings of this study have important practical implications for managers who seek to promote the value of shared group membership and group identity.

Originality/value – This study integrates social identity theory with cross-cultural theories and extends its application into a collectivist culture (e.g. Singapore) to provide an in-depth understanding of the nature of workplace boundaries and boundary permeability between Australians and Singaporeans.
Keyword Australia
National cultures
Multinational companies
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes An earlier version of this article was presented at the 66th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management in Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 0 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article
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Created: Tue, 30 Mar 2010, 11:24:32 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology