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Meaningful Participation in Transnational Teams, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology


This article discusses the process of meaningful participation in transnational teams. We first distinguish three sources of heterogeneity inherent to transnational teams: differences in cultural values, tensions between local and global perspectives, and differences in power and status. Drawing on prior research, we point to the importance of these groups establishing externally oriented ambassadorial and task co-ordinating activities directed vertically to corporate management and laterally to the local units. Such an outward focus, however, confronts the team with complexity and potential conflicts and the need to develop an internal process that is able to deal with these differences. We call such an internal process meaningful participation, by which we mean a pattern of interaction that involves deferring to different group members as their knowledge and expertise become relevant to the group s task. In order to achieve this process, we suggest a stakeholders approach to the development of interpersonal trust. We also discuss how stakeholder-based interpersonal trust with its emphasis on respect for each groups members interests and stakes can help deal with the three sources of heterogeneity in transnational teams.




Maddy Janssens, Jeanne Brett

Date Published



Janssens, Maddy, and Jeanne Brett. 1997. Meaningful Participation in Transnational Teams. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology. 6(2): 153-168.


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