One of the major challenges confronting new entrants to a country is how to manage their cultural identity as they are exposed to the competing values, norms, and behavioral expectations that exist between their culture of origin and the new local culture. Whether they arrive as sojourners or long-term immigrants, entrants are faced with a fundamental dilemma of whether and to what degree they should maintain their original cultural identity and in what part they should adopt the new host culture. Although many have touted the benefits of second-culture exposure, researchers have failed to consider how the differential patterns of cultural identification that individuals adopt may provide important traction in predicting performance advantages. Moreover, the process by which individuals absorb a cultural identity, the role played by second-culture exposure in shaping socio-cognitive skills, and the resulting implications for performance have also received little theoretical and empirical attention.
By drawing on a diverse set of research methodologies and by working at multiple levels of analyses, the comprehensive research agenda outlined in this proposal is aimed at addressing these knowledge gaps in 3 ways. First, I will investigate the potential benefits of biculturalism, relative to other acculturation strategies, for social tolerance, creativity, decision-making, and negotiation outcomes. Second, I will explore the role of integrative complexity as the underlying mediating mechanism linking biculturalism and performance-related success. Finally, I will examine the antecedents of biculturalism and test the boundary conditions of biculturals’ advantage.
The proposed research will afford psychologists with a greater understanding of the bicultural experience, its antecedents, and its consequences as well as present organizational scholars, practitioners, and policy makers with a comprehensive framework for how to successfully manage cultural diversity.
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