Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the moderating role of culture in the relationship between boundary permeability and cooperation and work group identification. In addition, the levels of boundary permeability of Australians and Singaporeans are compared.
Design/methodology/approach - Survey questionnaires were administered to 134 employees (87 Singaporeans and 47 Australians) working in multinational corporations in both Australia and Singapore. Hierarchical moderated regression was used to test whether culture moderated the relationship between boundary permeability and cooperation and workgroup identification.
Findings - Results indicated that workplace boundary permeability was marginally and positively related to cooperation but not to workgroup identification. Further analysis revealed that culture moderated the relationships between workplace boundary permeability and cooperation and workgroup identification. Specifically, a stronger positive relationship was found between boundary permeability and these outcomes for Singaporeans as opposed to Australians.
Research limitations/implications - Limitations include the relatively small sample size of both cultural groups; the behavioral measure used to assess cooperation; and the self-reported nature of the data.
Practical implications - The findings of this study have important practical implications for managers working in multinational corporations who seek to promote cooperation and workgroup identification among culturally diverse employees.
Originality/value - Guided by social identity and cross-cultural theories, this study highlights the role of culture in predicting the attitudinal consequences of boundary permeability.