Running a team these days is a different endeavor than it was in the past due to the emergence of cross cultural teams. The usual challenges of team building and fostering teamwork have become even more magnified. Acceptance of cultural diversity and an inclusive outlook are hallmarks of high-performing companies. So how can you better manage your culturally diverse team for peak performance? The first step is acknowledging the elephant in the room: address the existence of diverse cultural backgrounds within the team and the necessity of navigating those differences in order to optimize team performance.
Cultural diversity can manifest itself in different ways: language, culture, behavioral differences due to norms and values, and even different meaning attached to words, ideas or actions. The model highlights six dimensions of value perspectives between national cultures: Power Distance, Individualism vs. Collectivism, Masculinity vs. Femininity, Uncertainty Avoidance, Long Term vs. Short Term Orientation and Indulgence vs. This model provides a great starting point for understanding what drives people from different cultures, and how we can adapt our working and communication styles to work better together in a cross-cultural team.
One way to encourage this understanding of cultural diversity is to discuss cultural differences in a team meeting where everyone can share their cultural background and expectations about communication and working style. You can do this in an informal way through activities such as ice breakers.
Select activities where team members get to learn more about each other through asking questions and sharing about their backgrounds. The key is to get everyone to contribute to the formation of the norms. Getting their buy-in makes the norms stronger and ensures that everyone feels committed to living up to them. Each team, depending on its makeup and other factors that affect collaboration, will need its own set of rules and norms. Building norms that are specific to your team improves the ease of collaboration and optimizes team performance. Once team norms have been established, check in with your team regularly to see how effective they are.
It is doubly important in a cross-cultural team. Having a shared goal and a common vision on how to achieve it gives your team an identity that can unite them and promote teamwork. This reduces the chance of misunderstandings and lets everyone know that their contribution matters.
It sets expectations for what needs to be done, by who and when. Developing a team identity also entails finding commonalities between team members. Encourage your team to get to know each other in a social context. Idiocentrism and Allocentrism. Additional Behaviors Across Cultures. Activities and Exercises.
Training Videos and Web Sites. Using Metaphors to Compare Government and Business. See Figure 4. It is particularly helpful if at least two groups independently develop an advertisement for the same nation, as the students can then compare and contrast them. Also, the instructor should point out how useful cultural knowledge can be, particularly cultural metaphors. Football is the only game in the world having a huddle after every play. More vowels than consonants. Thoughts and emotions must be expressed, first in the family and then in the piazza.
Equivalent to the crowd scenes in opera. This slogan cannot be over words.
Assume that you will be presenting your slogan to the top management team of this travel agency. You must be creative but logical and convincing. Also, you must use the cultural knowledge that you possess to construct your slogan. People must feel comfortable overlap , but the slogan should include activities not available at home.
Also, the teacher can point out that there are significant differences in consumer preferences around the world, although there are also similarities, thus reinforcing the overlap between cultural metaphors. Importantly, the exercise is structured in such a way that the student does not need any background in Marketing or Advertising, although it would be helpful.
Another alternative would be to have all groups work on one nation, or have two or more groups work on the same nation.
Working Across Cultures: Applications and Exercises - Martin J. Gannon - Google книги
Finally, the instructor may want to use this exercise in conjunction with Exercise 6. He should then describe the unique system of co-determination in Germany with its two Boards and compare it to the single Board of Directors in the U. Using think-pair- share, the instructor should ask the students to examine these organizational arrangements in terms of these cultural metaphors.
Assume you will be presenting your advertisement to the top management team of this travel agency. Also, you must use the cultural knowledge you have obtained in this class to construct your advertisement. People must feel comfortable overlap , but the advertisement should include activities not available at home.
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Co-determination is a major mechanism of Social Democracy. Basically each company has a dual board, unlike the situation in the U. The two boards are: Supervisory Aufsichtsrat and Management Vorstand. Supervisory board members include large shareholders, some employees, and some labor union representatives. These two boards must work together on goals and company objectives.
For example, a downsizing plan must be agreed upon by members of the Vorstand, then approved by the Aufsichtsrat, and finally presented to the Betriebsrat before the powerful national unions have the opportunity to review the plan. The instructor can divide the class into small groups.
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Each group should be assigned one of the mergers below. The group should reseach this merger and apply cultural knowledge to it, focusing specifically on the cross-cultural issues. Students can work independently or in small groups. They read about a particular international alliance such as DaimlerChrysler and create an interview which incorporates economic-focused questions and culturally-focused questions derived from the cultural metaphors.
Each student or group then writes a paper summarizing the interview data. Class presentations can also be scheduled. Have them assume the role of sale associates at a furniture store. This store has a diverse customer base. If you were selling furniture to customers of different ethnic backgrounds, how would you tailor your approach? Using the cultural metaphor model see, for example, Figure 4.
Each group should be assigned one cultural metaphor see, for example, Figure 4. The group should then describe how the following case about office assignments would be generally solved in each nation. The case is taken from Gannon, When desirable offices become available, individuals frequently struggle to obtain them.
Individuals perceive, sometimes correctly, that an assignment to a less desirable office is akin to a demotion and a strong indication that top management is unhappy with their work. In a College of Business Administration of sixty faculty members within a large university, twenty additional offices became available when the Sociology Department moved to a new building. Thus it was not possible for every faculty member to move into a more desirable office, but certainly some of them would be able to do so.
Immediately, however, problems emerged. Some faculty members with many years of service felt that they deserved priority in office assignments, especially if they were full professors the three tenure-track ranks in this university were Professor, tenured Associate Professors, and untenured Assistant Professor. However, some younger faculty members with outstanding publication records did not agree with this stance: they felt that offices should be assigned to the best performers, regardless of rank or seniority.
To compound the problem, there was much disagreement about the measurement of outstanding performance. Should it be measured in terms of teaching, scholarly publications in journals emphasing statistical testing of hypotheses, more popular but widely-distributed publication such as Business Week and The Harvard Business Review, or university, professional and community service? The Executive Committee of the College was responsible for making this decision on reallocation of offices.
This rank ordering was based purely on overall performance in the three areas of research, teaching, and service. Within each performance group seniority was used as the basis for assigning offices. This exercise asks that the students or trainees examine the following two ads, one of which was created for the Hispanic-American culture and the other for the White Anglo Saxon culture. The instructor should ask: What is the major difference between these two ads?
Research has suggested that the Spanish culture is more responsive to emotional appeals than the Anglo Saxon culture, which is more responsive to factual details. This research is consistent with the cultural metaphors of the Spanish Bullfight and American Football see Gannon and Associates, The instructor may want to point out that southern European nations tend to be more emotionally expressive than Northern European nations.
Have small groups read the metaphor for France French Wine and also the metaphor for Germany The Germane Symphony and apply these cultural metaphors to the respective strategies. Since the beginning of the century, we have been providing customers with winter apparels. Because the manufacturers at Rex Coats only use materials that have been clinically proven to preserve heat, our coats provide protection against any kind of weather.
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Related Working Across Cultures: Applications and Exercises
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