Leadership Institute


Date of this Version



Published in The International Journal of Human Resource Management 18:11 (November 2007), pp. 2011–2036; doi: 10.1080/09585190701639778 Copyright © 2007 Taylor & Francis. Used by permission. http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals


When societal conflicts between social identity groups spill over into organizations, leaders face the formidable challenge of attempting to bridge differences and manage the conflict in order to accomplish work. After reviewing the literature on intergroup conflict, workplace diversity and social identity theory, we examine four potential leadership strategies for managing identity-based conflicts. The four leadership strategies are decategorization, recategorization, subcategorization and crosscutting. Examples drawn from an interview-based study are used to illustrate theoretical constructs found in the literature. We then consider each of these strategies in cross-cultural contexts and generate propositions to reflect differences in the effectiveness of the strategies in collectivist versus individualist cultures.