CULTURE MATCHING & Why People Like to Work Alongside People Like Themselves

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Kellogg School of Management researcher Lauren A. Rivera found that management teams work best when there is a degree of cultural matching between participants. This implies that though team members come from different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, once they have forged a team with a similar mission and vision the result in a new team culture, which then affects selection of additional participants.

Churches that want to break down ethnic, racial and cultural barriers must be aware that some cultural matching will be required to help people work more effectively as teams. But, if reconciliation is a church’s goal (and I believe it should be) then cultural matching with emerging team cultures can assist in that process and should be designed to create a “reconciliation culture” in the new team.

Read the article below (and at the link) for more insights upon cultural matching.

Hiring as Cultural Matching: The Case of Elite Professional Service Firms

by Lauren A. Rivera, American Sociological Review, 77(6) 999 –1022, 2012, pp. 999-1022.

This article presents culture as a vehicle of labor market sorting. Providing a case study of hiring in elite professional service firms, I investigate the often suggested but heretofore empirically unexamined hypothesis that cultural similarities between employers and job candidates matter for employers’ hiring decisions. Drawing from 120 interviews with employers as well as participant observation of a hiring committee, I argue that hiring is more than just a process of skills sorting; it is also a process of cultural matching between candidates, evaluators, and firms. Employers sought candidates who were not only competent but also culturally similar to themselves in terms of leisure pursuits, experiences, and self-presentation styles. Concerns about shared culture were highly salient to employers and often outweighed concerns about absolute productivity. I unpack the interpersonal processes through which cultural similarities affected candidate evaluation in elite firms and provide the first empirical demonstration that shared culture—particularly in the form of lifestyle markers—matters for employer hiring. I conclude by discussing the implications for scholarship on culture, inequality, and labor markets.

cultural capital, culture, hiring, homophily, inequality, interpersonal evaluation, labor markets

Read more at …