Tadmor and Galinsky, 2012, Getting the most out of living abroad.pdf

Tadmor and Galinsky, 2012, Getting the most out of living abroad.pdf

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Getting the Most Out of Living Abroad: Biculturalism and Integrative Complexity as Key Drivers of Creative and Professional Success Carmit T. Tadmor Tel Aviv University Adam D. Galinsky Northwestern University William W. Maddux INSEAD The current research investigated how patterns of home and host cultural identification can explain which individuals who have lived abroad achieve the greatest creative and professional success. We hypothe- sized that individuals who identified with both their home and host cultures (i.e., biculturals) would show enhanced creativity and professional success compared with individuals who identified with only a single culture (i.e., assimilated and separated individuals). Further, we expected that these effects would be driven by biculturals’ greater levels of integrative complexity, an information processing capacity that involves considering and combining multiple perspectives. Two studies demonstrated that biculturals exhibited more fluency, flexibility, and novelty on a creative uses task (Study 1) and produced more innovations at work (Study 2) than did assimilated or separated individuals. Study 3 extended these findings to general professional outcomes: Bicultural professionals achieved higher promotion rates and more positive reputations compared with assimilated or separated individuals. Importantly, in all 3 studies, integrative complexity mediated the relationship between home/host identification and perfor- mance. Overall, the current results demonstrate who is most likely to achieve professional and creative success following experiences abroad and why. Keywords: culture, multicultural experience, creativity, integrative complexity, acculturation In 2001, a young entrepreneur named Rohan, who had lived in Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, and South Africa, was in Mexico. While there, he came across some cacao plantations. He was fascinated by the plantations and the rather crude chocolate made right at the source. Later in France, he stumbled across a chocolate shop. Through its Aztec-themed decorations, Rohan made the connection between the pre-Hispanic roots of cacao and the chocolate products we consume today. This idea stuck in his head and after finishing his master of business administration (MBA) and with only $30,000 in capital, he developed the idea into a chain of Mayan-themed chocolate stores that now has several million dollars in annual revenue. He noted that opening the stores required Practical creativity beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. I ended up doing graphic design, the mechanical design of our first chocolate box (still in use today), making chocolates, doing electrical installations, de- signing shops, being a staff manager, designing operational systems, etcetera. We basically used our labor and creativity as a substitute for the capital we didn’t have. (R. Barnett, personal communication, June 15, 2009) This example highlights how experiences abroad and exposure to new cultures can stimulate new ideas (Leung & Chiu, 2010; Leung, Maddux, Galinsky, & Chiu, 2008; Maddux, Adam, &
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  • Fall '15
  • American Psychological Association, biculturals, Carmit T. Tadmor

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