The Influence of Team Demographic Composition on Individual Helping Behavior


The aim of our laboratory study was to examine how the demographic composition (in terms of gender and culture) of work teams can influence levels of helping behavior demonstrated among group members. Participants included 216 university students from undergraduate business programs in two large North American universities (108 men, 108 women) who were randomly assigned to small groups for the purpose of engaging in business case discussions. Discussions were videotaped in order to observe helping behavior among individuals. Our findings indicated that the numerical minority member (measured in terms of gender or ethnicity) was less likely to engage in the helping activity. These findings suggest that the effects of numerical minority status are not confined to task-performance related behaviors like participation and emergent leadership, but also influence behaviors that involve how members relate to one and other, and whether they engage in helping behavior.

Share and Cite:

Kotlyar, I. & Karakowsky, L. (2012). The Influence of Team Demographic Composition on Individual Helping Behavior. Psychology, 3, 1010-1017. doi: 10.4236/psych.2012.312152.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Allen, T. D., & Rush, M. C. (2001). The influence of rate gender on organizational helping behavior. Journal of Applied Social Psychol ogy, 31, 2561-2587. doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2001.tb00191.x
[2] Bachrach, D. G., Bendoly, E., & Podsakoff, P. M. (2001). Attributions of the “causes” of group performance as an alternative explanation of the relationship between organizational citizenship behavior and or ganizational performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 1285 1293. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.86.6.1285
[3] Belansky, E. S., & Boggiano, A. K. (1994). Predicting helping behav iors: The role of gender and instrumental/expressive self-schemata. Sex Roles, 30, 647-661. doi:10.1007/BF01544668
[4] Bem, S. L. (1993). The lenses of gender. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
[5] Bem, S. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155-162. doi:10.1037/h0036215
[6] Blakely, G. L., Srivastava, A. & Moorman, R. H. (2005). The effects of nationality, work role centrality and work locus of control on role definitions of OCB. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 12, 103-117. doi:10.1177/107179190501200109
[7] Bowes-Sperry, L., Veiga, J. F., & Yanouzas, J. N. (1997). An analysis of managerial helping responses based on social role theory. Group & Organization Studies, 22, 445-459. doi:10.1177/1059601197224003
[8] Carr, P. G., Thomas, V. G., & Mednick, M. T. (1985). Evaluation of sex-typed tasks by black men and women. Sex Roles, 13, 311-316. doi:10.1007/BF00288087
[9] Carbaugh, D. (1996). Situating selves: The communication of social identities in American scenes. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
[10] Choi, J. N. (2009). Collective dynamics of citizenship behaviour: What group characteristics promote group-level helping? Journal of Man agement Studies, 46, 1396-1420. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6486.2009.00851.x
[11] Chou, S. Y., & Pearson, J. (2011). A demographic study of information technology professionals organizational citizenship behavior. Journal of Management Research, 3, 1-15. doi:10.5296/jmr.v3i2.625
[12] Coon, H. M. & Kemmelmeier, M. (2001). Cultural orientations in the United States: Re-examining differences among ethnic groups. Jour nal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 32, 348-364. doi:10.1177/0022022101032003006
[13] Danzis, D. A., & Stone-Romero, E. (2009). Effects of helper sex, recipient attractiveness, and recipient femininity on helping behavior in organizations. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 24, 722-737. doi:10.1108/02683940910996761
[14] Davis, P. S., Babakus, E., Englis, P. D., & Pett, T. (2010). The influence of CEO gender on market orientation and performance in service small and medium-sized service businesses. Journal of Small Business Management, 48, 475-496. doi:10.1111/j.1540-627X.2010.00305.x
[15] Dovidio, J., Brown, C., Ellyson, S., Keating, C., & Heltman, K. (1988). The relationship of social power to visual displays of dominance between men and women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 233-242. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.54.2.233
[16] Eagly, A. H. (1983). Gender and social influence: A social psychologi cal analysis. American Psychologist, 38, 971-981. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.38.9.971
[17] Eagly, A. H., & Crowley, M. (1986). Gender and helping behavior: A meta-analytic review of the social psychological literature. Psychological Bulletin, 100, 283-308. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.100.3.283
[18] Erez, M. (1997). A culture based model of work motivation. In P. C. Earley & M. Erez (Eds.), New perspectives on international industrial/organizational psychology (pp. 193-242). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
[19] Farrell, S. K., & Finkelstein, L. M. (2007). Organizational citizenship behavior and gender: Expectations and attributions for performance. North American Journal of Psychology, 9, 81-95.
[20] George, J. M. & Bettenhausen, K. (1990). Understanding prosocial behavior, sales performance, and turnover: A group-level analysis in a service context. Journal of Applied Psychology, 75, 698-709. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.75.6.698
[21] George, D., Carroll, P., Kersnick, R., & Calderon, K. (1998). Gender related patterns of helping among friends. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 22, 685-704. doi:10.1111/j.1471-6402.1998.tb00185.x
[22] Gilbert, G. R., Burnett, M. F., Phau, I., & Haar, J. (2010). Does gender matter? A review of work-related gender commonalities. Gender in Management, 25, 676-699. doi:10.1108/17542411011092336
[23] Graves, L. M., & Elsass, P. M. (2005). Sex and sex dissimilarity effects in ongoing teams: Some surprising findings. Human Relations, 58, 191-221. doi:10.1177/0018726705052181
[24] Grob, L. M., Meyers, R. A., & Schuh, R. (1997). Powerful/powerless language use in group interactions: Sex differences or similarities? Communication Quarterly, 45, 282-304. doi:10.1080/01463379709370066
[25] Heilman, M. E., & Chen, J. J. (2005). Same behavior, different consequences: Reactions to mens and womens altruistic citizenship behavior. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 431-441. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.90.3.431
[26] Hinkle, S., & Brown, R. J. (1990). Intergroup comparisons and social identity. In D. Abrams, & M. A. Hogg (Eds.), Social identity theory: Constructive and critical advances (pp. 48-70). New York: Springer Verlag.
[27] Holland, S., Gaston, K., & Gomes, J. (2000). Critical success factors for cross-functional teamwork in the new product development. In ternational Journal of Management Reviews, 2, 231-259. doi:10.1111/1468-2370.00040
[28] Holt, C. L., & Ellis, J. B. (1998). Assessing the current validity of the Bem sex-role inventory. Sex Roles, 39, 929-941. doi:10.1023/A:1018836923919
[29] Hood, J. N., & Koberg, C. S. (1994). Patterns of differential assimilation and acculturation for women in business organizations. Human Relations, 47, 159-159. doi:10.1177/001872679404700202
[30] Johnson, R. A., & Schulman, G. I. (1989). Gender-role composition and role-entrapment in decision-making groups. Gender & Society, 3, 353-372. doi:10.1177/089124389003003005
[31] Jones, J. R. & Schaubroeck, J. (2004). Mediators of the relationship between race and organizational citizenship behavior. Journal of Managerial Issues, 16, 505-527.
[32] Kanter, R. M. (1977a). Some effects of proportions in group life: Skewed sex ratios and responses to numerical minority women. American Journal of Sociology, 82, 965-990. doi:10.1086/226425
[33] Kanter, R. M. (1977b). Men and women of the corporation. New York: Basic Books.
[34] Kanter, R. M. (1980). A tale of "O". New York: Harper & Row Publishers.
[35] Karakowsky, L., Mann, S. & McBey, K. (2010). Feeling (and acting) like a fish out of water: Numerical minority status, gendered work and citizenship behavior in mixed gender work teams. Team Per formance Management, 16, 413-430. doi:10.1108/13527591011090664
[36] Karakowsky, L., McBey, K., & Miller, D. L. (2004). Gender, perceived competence, and power displays. Small Group Research, 35, 407 439. doi:10.1177/1046496404263728
[37] Karakowsky, L., & Siegel, J. P. (1999). The effects of proportional representation and gender-orientation of the task on emergent leadership behavior in mixed gender groups. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, 620-631. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.84.4.620
[38] Kidder, D., & Judi McLean Parks (2001). The good soldier: Who is s(he)? Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22, 939-959. doi:10.1002/job.119
[39] Kirkman, B. L., Tesluk, P. E., & Rosen, B. (2004). The impact of demographic heterogeneity and team leader-team member demo graphic fit on team empowerment and effectiveness. Group & Organization Management, 29, 334-368. doi:10.1177/1059601103257412
[40] Kwantes, C. T. (2003). Organizational citizenship and withdrawal behaviors in the USA and India: Does commitment make a difference? Cross Cultural Management, 3, 5-26. doi:10.1177/1470595803003001847
[41] Lam, S. S. K., Hui, C., & Law, K. S. (1999). Organizational citizenship behavior: Comparing perspectives of supervisors and subordinates across four international samples. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, 594. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.84.4.594
[42] Lauring, J., & Selmer, J. (2011). Multicultural organizations: Common language, knowledge sharing and performance. Personnel Review, 40, 324-343. doi:10.1108/00483481111118649
[43] Lenartowicz, T. & Roth, K. (2001). Does subculture within a country matter? A cross cultural study of motivational domains and business performance in Brazil. Journal of International Business Studies, 32, 305-326. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8490954
[44] LePine, J. A., Erez, A., & Johnson, D. E. (2002). The nature and dimensionality of organizational citizenship behavior: A critical review and meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 52-65. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.87.1.52
[45] Li, J., Karakowsky, L. & Siegel, J. P. (1999). The effects of proportional representation on intragroup behavior in mixed-race decision-making groups. Small Group Research, 30, 259-279. doi:10.1177/104649649903000301
[46] Lin, L., & Ho, Y. (2010). Guanxi and OCB: The Chinese cases. Journal of Business Ethics, 96, 285-298. doi:10.1007/s10551-010-0465-6
[47] MacKenzie, S. B., Podsakoff, P. M., & Fetter, R. (1991). Organizational citizenship behavior and objective productivity as determinants of managerial evaluations of salespersons performance. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 123-123. doi:10.1016/0749-5978(91)90037-T
[48] MacKenzie, S. B., Podsakoff, P. M., & Fetter, R. (1993). The impact of organizational citizenship behavior on evaluations of salesperson performance. Journal of Marketing, 57, 70-70. doi:10.2307/1252058
[49] Mahadeo, J. D., Soobaroyen, T., & Hanuman, V. O. (2012). Board composition and financial performance: Uncovering the effects of diversity in an emerging economy. Journal of Business Ethics, 105, 375-388. doi:10.1007/s10551-011-0973-z
[50] Mann, S. L. (2007). Values as incremental predictors of organizational citizenship behavior. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Toronto: Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
[51] Moorman, R. H., & Blakely, G. L. (1995). Individualism-collectivism as an individual difference predictor of organizational citizenship behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 16, 127-142. doi:10.1002/job.4030160204
[52] Myers, I. B., & McCaulley M. H. (1985). Manual: A guide to the development and use of the Myers-Briggs type indicator. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
[53] Organ, D. W. (1988). Organizational citizenship behavior: The good soldier syndrome. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.
[54] Organ, D. W. (1990). The motivational basis of organizational citizen ship behavior. In B. M. Staw, & L. L. Cummings (Eds.), Research in organizational behavior (pp. 43-72). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
[55] Organ, D. W., & Konovsky, M. (1989). Cognitive versus affective determinants of organizational citizenship behavior. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 157-164. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.74.1.157
[56] Organ, D. W., Possakoff, P. M., & MacKenzie, S. B. (2006). Organizational citizenship behavior: Its nature, antecedents and consequences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
[57] Organ, D. W. & Ryan, K. (1995). A meta-analytic review of attitudinal and dispositional predictors of organizational citizenship behavior. Personnel Psychology, 48, 775-802. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6570.1995.tb01781.x
[58] Paine, J. B. & Organ, D. W. (2000). The cultural matrix of organizational citizenship behavior: Some preliminary conceptual and empirical observations. Human Resources Management Review, 10, 45-59. doi:10.1016/S1053-4822(99)00038-8
[59] Pelled, L. H. (1996). Relational demography and perceptions of group conflict and performance: A field investigation. The International Journal of Conflict Management, 7, 230-246. doi:10.1108/eb022783
[60] Podsakoff, P. M., Ahearne, M., & MacKenzie, S. B. (1997). Organizational citizenship behavior and the quantity and quality of work group performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 82, 262-270.
[61] Podsakoff, P. M., & MacKenzie, S. B. (1994). The impact of organizational citizenship behavior on evaluations of sales person performance. Journal of Marketing, 57, 70-81.
[62] Podsakoff, P. M., & MacKenzie, S. B. (1994). Organizational citi zenship behaviors and sales unit effectiveness. Journal of Marketing Research, 31, 351-363. doi:10.2307/3152222
[63] Podsakoff, P. M., & MacKenzie, S. B. (1997). Impact of organizational citizenship behavior on organizational performance: A review and suggestions for future research. Human Performance, 10, 133-151. doi:10.1207/s15327043hup1002_5
[64] Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Paine, J. B., & Bachrach, D. G. (2000). Organizational citizenship behaviors: A critical review of the theoretical and empirical literature and suggestions for future re search. Journal of Management, 26, 513-563. doi:10.1177/014920630002600307
[65] Podsakoff, N. P., Whiting, S. W., Podsakoff, P. M., & Blume, B. D. (2009). Individual-and organizational-level consequences of organizational citizenship behaviors: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, 122. doi:10.1037/a0013079
[66] Pratt, M. B. (1998). To be or not to be: Central questions in organizational identification. In D. A. Whetten, & P. C. Godfrey (Eds.), Identity in organizations (pp. 171-208). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
[67] Reskin, B. F, McBrier, D. B, & Kmec, J. A. (1999). The determinants and consequences of workplace sex and race composition. Annual Review of Sociology, 25, 335-361. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.25.1.335
[68] Raudenbush, S. W. (1997). Statistical analysis and optimal design for cluster randomized trials, Psychological Methods, 2, 173-185. doi:10.1037/1082-989X.2.2.173
[69] Ridgeway, C. L., & Smith-Lovin, L. (1999). The gender system in interaction. Annual Review of Sociology, 25, 191-216. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.25.1.191
[70] Sparrowe, R. T., Soetjipto, B. W., & Kraimer, M. (2006). Do leaders influence tactics relate to members helping behavior? It depends on the quality of the relationship. Academy of Management Journal, 49, 1194-1208. doi:10.5465/AMJ.2006.23478645
[71] Steers, R. M., & Sanchez-Runde, C. J. (2002). Culture, motivation, and work behavior. In M. J. Gannon, & K. L. Newman (Eds.), The blackwell handbook of principles of cross-cultural management (pp. 190-216). Bodmin, UK: MPG Books.
[72] Tajfel, H. (1982). Social identity and intergroup relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[73] Taylor, S. E., Fiske, T. F, Etcoff, N. L., & Ruderman, A. J. (1978). Categorical and contextual bases of person memory and stereotyping. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36(7), 778-793. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.36.7.778
[74] Tsui, A. S., Egan, T. D., & O’Reilly, C. A. (1992). Being different: Relational demography and organizational attachment. Administrative Science Quarterly, 37, 549-579. doi:10.2307/2393472
[75] Turner, J. (1982). Toward a cognitive definition of the group. In H. Tajfel (Ed.), Social Identity and Intergroup Relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[76] Van der Vegt, G. S., & Van de Vliert, E. (2005). Effects of perceived skill dissimilarity and task interdependence on helping in work teams. Journal of Management, 31, 73-89. doi:10.1177/0149206304271382
[77] Van Dyne, L., Graham, J. W., & Dienesch, R. M. (1994). Organizational citizenship behavior: Construct redefinition, measurement and validation. Academy of Management Journal, 37, 765-802. doi:10.2307/256600
[78] Van Dyne, L., Vadewalle, D., Kostova, T., Latham, M. E., & Cummings, L. L. (2000). Collectivism, propensity to trust and self-esteem as predictors of organizational citizenship behavior in a non-work setting. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 21, 3-23. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1379(200002)21:1<3::AID-JOB47>3.0.CO;2-6
[79] Vancouver, J. B., & Ilgen, D. R. (1989). Effects of interpersonal orientation and the sex-type of the task on choosing to work alone or in groups. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 927-934. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.74.6.927
[80] Williams, C. L. (1992). The glass escalator: Hidden advantages for men in the female professions. Social Problems, 39, 253-267. doi:10.2307/3096961
[81] Wood, W., & Karten, S. J. (1986). Sex differences in interaction style as a product of perceived sex differences in competence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 5, 341-347. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.50.2.341

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.