Multicultural working groups and teams
3. Groups & TeamsGroups & Teams
Group - two or more people with common
interests, objectives who interact continuingly
Work Team - a group of people with
complementary skills who are committed to a
common mission, performance goals, and
approach for which they hold themselves
4. Two kinds of the multinational teams1. Multicultural working groups
2. Global teams
5. Multicultural TeamsMulticultural groups represent three or
more ethnic backgrounds. Diversity may
increase uncertainty, complexity, &
inherent confusion in group processes.
Culturally diverse groups may generate
more & better ideas & limit groupthink.
which gives an overview of the ways in which
differences can have an impact on global teams.
7. The impact of differences in global teamsSource of
Preferred ways of
Preferred ways of
Ability to address
difficult challenges and
on form. Disappointment
due to failed expectations
The quality of,
involvement in, and
Lack of loyalty to decision
and team. Dissatisfaction
and lack of respect
(source: Davison & Ekelund, 2004, pp. 232- 234, Table 12.1, adapted)
Denial of conflict. Displaced
frustrations. Lack of trust.
Lack of group efficacy
8. The impact of differences in global teamsSource of difference Impact on
interaction and team
Missed timing, anger at
Different geographical Who meets face to Impenetrable in groups in
face and who does certain locations. Lack of
loyalty, invisible agendas
of importance of
9. Advantages of Using a Monocultural Team:Same type of managerial style/business practices;
Lack of cross-cultural communication barriers;
More cooperation and trust.
10. Disadvantages of Using a Monocultural Team:Groupthink--less diversity of opinion;
Less sensitive to other cultures;
within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or
conformity in the group results in an irrational or
dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members
try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision
without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by
actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by
isolating themselves from outside influences.
12. Advantages of DiversityEnhance creativity
Lead to better decisions
More effective/productive results
Can facilitate highly effective teams under right
13. Advantages of Using a Multicultural Team:Multiple perspectives;
Greater openness to new ideas;
Increase problem-solving skills;
Better understanding of foreign employees;
Ability to work with foreign clients;
14. Disadvantages of Using a Multicultural Team:Ambiguity;
15. Potential Problems Associated with DiversityPerceptual problems
When cultural diverse groups come together, often bring
preconceived, erroneous stereotypes with them
May cause lack of cohesion resulting in unit’s inability to
take concerted action or be productive
16. Managing Multicultural TeamsSelect team members for task-related abilities
Team members must recognize and prepare to
deal with their differences
Team leader must help identify/define overall goal
Managers must give team positive feedback on
process and output
17. The management of multicultural teamsThose multicultural groups which appear to have the
most harmonious relations are those where its
have the same status
do not have contradictory interests
do not feel that their ethnic identity is threatened
18. Global teams
19. Complexity of Global teamsLet's speak about how managers can create conditions in
the pre-start and start-up phases of global teaming that
will enhance the chances that a team will succeed.
20. Dimensions of ComplexityWhatever the type of global team an organization creates,
the complexity the team faces in meeting its objective can
be characterized along four different dimensions:
task, context, people, and time.
This section of the lecture contains a discussion of these
dimensions and how they interact with one another to
contribute to complexity in global teams.
21. TaskTask complexity is a continuum that consists of two major
- workflow interdependence and
- task environment.
22. TaskThe degree of workflow interdependence varies according to the
structure of the activities that need to be performed to accomplish a
Tasks are at the low end of interdependence when they can be
performed separately by team members and then pooled into a
finished product. Moving up the continuum of interdependence,
work activities can become sequential and flow unidirectionally
from one member to the next.
When activities flow back and forth between members they take on a
reciprocal character over time and become even more
interdependent. At the high end of the continuum, when team
members must make sense together of events or issues, problemsolve or collaborate together simultaneously to complete a task,
workflow becomes intensely interdependent.
varies from static to dynamic.
A static environment is one that is predictable and stable and is one
unlikely to disrupt team tasks or to require much monitoring. Many
manufacturing settings have static environments.
At the other end of the continuum, a team’s task environment can be
very dynamic and contain many uncertainties. R&D teams and new
product development teams often face very dynamic environments.
The environment has to be monitored constantly and new
information must be brought into the team for interpretation and
action on a continuing basis. A dynamic environment can greatly
affect a team’s ability to accomplish its task.
that if the complexity of the task is low, then there is no need
for team members to work closely together.
But in case of high task complexity the team members have to
interact with each other. Therefore, to perform complex tasks
they should understand each other and be adapted to each
other and such group needs more professional management.
25. ContextIn addition to task characteristics, global teams are also complex based
on context differences. Context is a way of life and work in a specific
geographic area with its own set of business conditions, cultural
assumptions, and unique history. Some of the dimensions of context
are climate, nationality, education, politics, judicial systems,
economic systems, corporate governance, management systems, and
incentive, motivation or reward schemes. Next Figure offers a
comparison on the dimension of context between traditional teams,
that typically work within a single context, and global teams, that are
likely to work across multiple contexts.
27. PeopleA primary strategy for creating global teams is to involve a variety of
expertise and perspectives that are likely required to accomplish the
work and achieve objectives.
This requirement means that the people who design and support, lead
or work in global teams bring with them varying degrees of
commitment, motivation, expectations, skills, and identities that come
from their own (unique) work roles and their national, occupational,
and organizational cultures. As a result, global teams are internally
diverse on many dimensions, and these differences can add considerable
complexity to the teaming situation in multiple ways.
28. PeopleCulture even has an impact on what it means to be a team.
Different cultures and organizations can have different models of
teamwork, or “metaphors” that influence team members’ behaviors, for
example, a family, community, military or sport metaphor that coincides
with national and organizational values
29. TimeGlobal teams who have only a short time together (less
than six months) in which to accomplish a complex task
pose the greatest challenges to team design, because
they are not likely to have the luxury of time to sort out
differences and problems as they arise.
Therefore, it is especially important for these teams to
pay careful attention to putting in place a structure that
will minimize the complexity that they will have to
30. Team design – pre-startIf task complexity is likely to be high, managers may need to do more
to structure the task and determine workable expectations at the
outset, before the team members are brought together for the first
Managers should be careful not to make the team too large in an
effort to match the complexity of the task. It is an attempt to assign
too many different people, representing all possible organizations or
groups. However, the more the people involved, the more the
resources are required – and all these means need much more
coordination, and increase complexity of the task.
31. How can a manager structure a global team to manage complexity?There are four key design techniques that help create a
supportive environment for global teams:
(1) clearly specify the task objective and align it with
organizational strategic initiatives;
(2) make appropriate resources available;
(3) select team members who have the skills, abilities,
and experience to work in a global team, including the
team leader, if appropriate;
(4) create a sense of urgency
32. Team Formation At start-up First meetingAt the first face-to-face meeting, facilitators can be helpful in
structuring early discussions of the team’s mission, roles, and
responsibilities and in the development of norms for interaction,
surfacing salient cultural differences and other contextual
influences that the team will need to negotiate.
Ideally, facilitators help team members learn skills for
communicating and interacting effectively and can take on the
facilitator’s role themselves as they work together over time.
some form of organized training that is blended with work
on defining the mission and team goals.
Training can provide explicit instructions about how team
members are to conceptualize a problem and how to work
together to accomplish an objective.
Initial training can also include skills training that can
communication, and culture-specific training to surface
differences and similarities and to negotiate teaming
34. Social processesWhen a team is formed and first comes together at start-up,
leaders need to pay particular attention to accomplishing
three things that can significantly affect teamwork, either
positively or negatively, through their initial interactions
(1) create a working environment;
(2) develop shared “mental models”;
(3) create a sense of community.
35. Sense of CommunityThe sense of community is a feeling members have of
belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and
the group, and a shared faith that member’s needs will be
met through their commitment to be together" (McMillan
and Chavis, 1986).