The current research examined whether cross-national variation in egalitarianism predicts talent levels and organizational performance. We propose that national variation in egalitarianism predicts country-level talent because egalitarianism influences policymaking at the institutional level and everyday social interactions at the psychological level. We compared the relative impact of institutional and psychological measures of equality using the context of international performance in the most popular worldwide sport: football (soccer). Both institutional and psychological measures of equality were associated with greater national team performance. Egalitarian countries also had higher talent levels, which mediated the link between egalitarianism and performance. Furthermore, psychological equality mediated the effects of institutional equality on performance: Countries with greater institutional equality had better performing national teams because they psychologically endorsed egalitarianism. Overall, the findings support a serial mediation model: institutional equality → psychological equality → top talent levels → performance. Importantly, psychological equality at Time 1 predicted the performance of national football teams at Time 2 more than a decade later. All of these effects held when controlling for a host of country-level variables. The forces of equality appear to be a critical driver of talent levels and ultimately performance. These findings demonstrate that both institutional practices and normative systems help determine talent levels and have important implications for organizational performance.

Roderick I. Swaab and Adam Galinsky
Journal Article
Publication Date
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

Full Citation

Swaab, Roderick I. and Adam Galinsky
. “Egalitarianism makes organizations stronger: Cross-national variation in institutional and psychological equality predicts talent levels and the performance of national teams.”
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
, (July 01, 2015):