Team heterogeneity research has been traditionally dominated by atomistic or single-culture assumptions. This study extends this stream by investigating the influences of cooperation and culture on the link between leader–member skill distance (one special type of team heterogeneity) and team performance. Building upon input-process-output framework from the perspective of individualist and collectivist cultures, we propose that the association between leader–member skill distance and team performance has an inverted-U shape in individualist cultures. Further, in such cultures, team cooperation can augment the positive effect of leader–member skill distance on team performance. In contrast, in collectivist cultures, the association between leader–member skill distance and team performance has a monotonic and positive shape, and team cooperation will attenuate the positive effect of leader–member skill distance on team performance. We find the empirical support for our views with a mixed-methods design: a qualitative study interviewing informants in different cultures to clarify the psychological mechanisms, and also a quantitative study analyzing the data from US’s National Basketball Association (NBA) and China Basketball Association (CBA).
- Leader–member skill distance
- Individualist-collectivist culture
- Team performance
- Mixed-methods design
- Basketball team