With the globalization of trade and investment, organizations are increasingly faced with diversity in their workforce. Firm gets more internationalized, both with implantation abroad and by trade with companies in different countries. With the rapid progress in the field of communication it is now possible to meet in real time with people of different nationalities around the same project.
These changes lead to complex relationship with new clients, suppliers, employees and other stakeholders of cultures. The rebirth of the influence of intercultural in management is in fact quiet recent. Whatever your work, the meeting of different cultures is a daily reality in a growing number of companies. In fact many companies have indeed understood the cultural diversity of their customer, which called diversity in the ranks of their own employees.
This diversification strategy of human international resources in company is to better meet the expectations of its customers, to enhance its brand image and its legitimacy, a vital condition if it wants to remain competitive. Moreover diversity allows increasing productivity and innovation making easier the resolution of problems. Diversity leads to ethnicity, and ethnic diversity implies heterogeneity in languages, religions, races and cultures. If years ago we talked about multidisciplinary team which aggregate different professional's skills, the differences are now more prominent in multicultural team. Multicultural teams require close collaboration between individual's belief, value, and opposite behavior. The difficulties for the team increase since the differences are not only about professional dimensions but also about values and individuals standards. It is necessary to precise that kind of intercultural relationship can also be a source of incomprehension, misunderstanding, and can quickly cause tension. In this configuration the role of the manager is not only to perform his own work but also to both prevent damage and ensure harmony in his team in matter to increase the efficiency.
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Consequently, the effective composition or diversity of teams and the way to manage them has become an interesting topic of research in the last few years.
THE MULTICULTURAL TEAM: WHAT IS IT?
As a concept and policy, multiculturalism has been developed in the United States and Canada. It refers to the institutional recognition of multiple cultural identities, ethnic or social within the same society. It recognizes the legitimacy of these identities, their ability to transform, and rejects the assimilation process which is generally called principle of monoculturalism. Multiculturalism is a major social phenomenon, both a source of enrichment and conflict, especially in a world of globalization with high mobility - generated including migration, legal or not.
Of course, our world is multicultural. Nowadays, almost all countries are multicultural, due to migration and the symbolic presence of other cultures (such as consumerism, individualism and materialism). Many individuals are also multicultural. To have an example, we can take the case of the inhabitants of Eastern Spain which are fully bilingual in Spanish and Catalan, two languages â€‹â€‹of the Iberian Peninsula.
In our business case, multiculturalism refers to a community or a team with members which have different cultures. We talk about cultural diversity. Multiculturalism focuses on two important points which are interactions and communication between the various cultures in order to achieve a common goal and to be efficient (among others)
Definition of a multicultural team
Before giving a definition of multicultural team we should see what a team is.
A team: it may be defined as a collaboration of two or more people who work together to achieve common goals. A team is a set of characters having complementary specific skills united by one or several common objectives among which each feels mutually responsible.
According to Mister Schermerhorn (Managing organizational behavior author), a team:
Is a natural phenomenon within the organization
Has a beneficial effect on the individuals and the organization
Stimulates the innovation and the creativity
Allows, in different situations, a better decision-making
Obtains from members that they make a commitment to apply the decisions which are taken in common.
Teams are good for both organizations and their members, helping to accomplish important tasks and to maintain a high-quality workforce.
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
A teamwork: A teamwork is collaboration between internal or external actors to the company to reach a common goal.
The conception of these teams can answer different objectives: decision-making, development of activities, coordination â€¦
With a working team, company can:
Accomplish tasks faster
Teamwork has many advantages such as the effect of synergy, motivation or support. These effects resulted from good exchanges between colleagues. In a team work, everybody brings its own qualities and skills. It permits to the team to be more efficient in a work.
With a team, it is also easier to generate creativity through sharing skills and ideas of each. However, its members must be mindful of the importance of internal communication, time management and especially respect for others. Teamwork requires a lot of patience and take into account the opinions and advice of other members.
To define what a multicultural team is, we must first understand the difference between this team and the monocultural team.
In a monocultural team, members arise from the same social and cultural context. They share the same values, style of communication and language. Generally, they also have the same management.
It is not really the same thing in a multicultural team. Indeed, in this type of team, members come from various cultural contexts, different country. Members have fewer elements in common compare to a monocultural team.
Due to their nationality and thus their culture, they don't have the same perception of the teamwork. This difference can have an important impact on the organization.
The work with this type of team can be factor of productivity. However, if the team is not well managing, this work can also drive to differences of opinion, tensions and conflicts. These points will be developed a little further in the report. (See section II.1 and II.2)
Different type of team.
Multicultural team is a general term, but to be more precise we can define different type of multicultural team.
Token team :
In this case, everybody has the same nationality, the same culture and speaks the same language, except one. This can turn out to be a problem because this one will not have necessarily same interpretation, same solutions as the other teams members. Being in minority, this person is not sure that his opinion has a lot of impact.
Bicultural team :
Only two cultures are present in this team. This type of team is formed generally following a fusion, an alliance or following a joint-venture. A bicultural team has very often a big potential of synergies but also conflicts because there is always a part which want to be in a strong position. This one is then going to impose more its ideas, strategies, working mode and its language. Feelings of superiority and inferiorities are frequent, as well as a competition between both. It is necessary to be careful to set up clear and accepted rules of functioning by all the team members and to appoint a leader who has a big multicultural sensibility to well manage the team.
It is about the most current shape. The members come from at least three different cultures. Contrary to the bicultural teams, the problem of power and the competition is less important. The members propose a multitude of ideas, strategies and working modes and seem to adapt more easily. We often speak about "intercultural courtesy". A common language (generally English) and a leader (often stemming from the culture of the warehouse) are more easily chosen and accepted.
Virtual Multicultural Team:
Traditionally teamwork is together, at the same time, at the same place. People physically meet.
Now with the new technologies of information and communication, in particular Internet, the teams work at a distance on a precise project and can so gather resources, skillsâ€¦ the whole without moving! That's why they are called "virtual multicultural team".
The main benefits to the organization are initially greater efficiency due to economies of transport, reducing office space, or the reduced cost in labor when wages are adjusted to the local market. Another advantage is having access to a pool of human resources who are familiar with the areas in which they operate.
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On the organizational level, the most important problem is certainly the loss of synergy that usually results by exchanges between colleagues. Performance is not always there: skills and knowledge are more easily scattered.
The team development is an additional challenge due to the distance and lack of contact between the members. Â
On the individual level, learning opportunities, often related to sharing experiences with others, are reduced in a virtual operation.
It allows also a considerable saving of time. We say that with this social structure the 24 hours of day can be completely used.
Indeed, the Japanese manager who will have worked 8 hours on the project can then pass on it to his colleague in Spain. He will spend also 8 hours there and to pass on the whole to the American colleague, which, when he will have finished, will pass on transmit again his work to the Japanese colleague. Thanks to the time difference!
How build your team?
A multicultural team is more effective than a monocultural one, but you will have to pick different profiles or your team will be inefficient.
The planner: he will bring his methods to make the team effective. He will be able (when it's needed) to refocus the debates and the goals.
The federator: he will unify the team and use every skill at its best.
The innovator: he will suggest ideas to the group and propose original solutions.
The network member: he will help the team by using his external partners.
The impartial member: he will analyze and evaluate ideas, and he will be critical.
The facilitator: he will listen to his mates, make the work easier by increasing communication, and keep cohesion when the team is in troubles.
The guarantor: he will maintain the team on its goal and prevent from mistakes.
The motor: he will be dynamic and focus the attention on the main issues.
You don't have the obligation to have one of each in your team, bu you have to be sure that you have varied profile. When you decide to build up a multicultural team, you will have to wonder some questions, and try to answer, taking into account specificities of your colleagues.
At the beginning, you will have to define your goal, what is it, how precisely you have to reach it, what are the objectives, how can you measure themâ€¦ by taking into account specificities: some person will focus on goals, others on process, some may have more consideration for status other will look at skills,â€¦ You also have to focus on your priority: time, quality, or budget.
After that you have to structure the mission and fix the matter of agenda, the importance of deadline (are they fixed? Does it matter if there a lateness? What happens if deadline are not respected?), the role of every member (Should there be a leader? How should he be chosen? Who needs to be at which meeting?).
This was for the creation of your team. Then you will have to manage it, you will have to choose the time you will take to social activities and workshops to build the team spirit, which is the language of your group (and how you deal with the gap of knowledge in this language). To perform your group to work effectively you have to promote some means of communication and the computing format you are waiting for. You also have at the deal with conflicts as a manager: why are there conflict? Who are the protagonists?
At the end of your mission you will have to evaluate performances of your team. You have to decide when you will do it, how you will take account feedback, how you show them your report (individually, or not)
To answer all these questions you have to know how they are usually working: the size of the hierarchy, if they are always working all together or if they are sharing work and then working on their ownâ€¦ You have to understand the way they follow rules, the importance they tend to human contact, if they are more individual collective.
THE PROS & CONS OF A MULTICULTURAL TEAM
Why to set up a multicultural team?
The first reason is to answer to the evolution of our world economic. Everybody knows that the internationalization became major for the companies which wish to remain in the competition.
Be present on a new market, to merge with other companies, to develop joint venture on unknown territories â€¦ here is so many reasons which incite the company to master the cultural dimension.
Furthermore, we note that the pressure of the environment and the competition encourages companies to turn to the international by hiring employees who come from diverse countries and have different culture. Indeed, many are the companies which have to go out of their national frame to face a strong competition and to develop their activities.
Companies so gradually became multicultural groups where express themselves the social and cultural characteristics of the diverse nationalities which compose it.
One of the main advantages of the cultural diversity would be the obtaining of synergies due to the creative mix of the various cultural approaches in the resolution of given problems (technical, commercial, human). Studies showed that the multicultural teams often allow a better resolution of problems considered as complexes, thanks to their cultural diversity.
The cultural diversity becomes consequently a fundamental axis of the management of companies. Multicultural teams constitute a strategic force. They allow combining and developing synergies with a view to progress, original solutions in terms of strategies and skills. Innovation and anticipating changes are at the heart of the achievements of multicultural teams. In an optical marketing, multicultural teams develop a facility to adapt to the local markets evolution as well as political and legal differences. (By contacting the specific cultural)
At first, there is this equation: Actuel productivity = potential productivity - losses due to faulty process
When you manage a multicultural team, the potential productivity is higher than a regular team, and the potential productivity is also constant. What the manager can influence is the losses due to faulty process; this one only depends on the manager skills. If he fails to make his team work as one, losses due to faulty process will be higher than the increase of the productivity linked to the multicultural aspect.
How do cultural differences improve the competitiveness of a company?
Different points of view lead to different opinion
First of all, diversity team have different cultures and different ways of mind, that's why they will settle issues faster than usual teams, especially when these problems are complex.
When they every member of an multicultural team meet each other, they have to open their mind to accept their differences and to go through to build relationships. That's why they will also fit faster with new components and new issues: because they are more open to originality. Due to their varied backgrounds members will create more ideas, more inventive alternatives, more arguments.
As a manager of a globalized company you should also notice that multicultural team will make product that will fit to all your clients (from China to Europe, and South America)
Different point of view avoid groupthink
Furthermore, diversity able a team to avoid Groupthink which is a major source of ineffectiveness in a team: Groupthink is the fact that every body in a team think in the same way. This kind of team will have neither creativeness nor originality. They are many symptoms of groupthink: overestimating the team's power and morality, closed mindedness, pressure toward uniformity
Compared with monocultural team, multicultural counterparts are less likely to engage in this counterproductive behavior because they will note subconsciously limit their mind, or if they do so, they would not have the same limit since they don't have the same culture. Groupthink leads to many problems. Self censoring: people won't express their ideas if there are too innovative, in order to stay in the majority and in the consensus. An illusion of unanimity: since every member will think that his colleagues are sharing his point of view; they won't be any debate and no exchange of ideas. The team won't be able to take into consideration every detail, every risk, every weakness of a new project and it will lead to a failure. People may also feel more pressure on their shoulder which will create stress and less efficiency.
What are the difficulties?
At first, when you create your team, you have to build the team to create a spirit between your teammates. It's the most difficult parts and the most important one, if you succeed then your team will be very efficient but if you fail, you will have to deal with mistrust, miscommunication, and stress.
How to build up a team spirit?
When you build up an multicultural team, you will have to face stereotypes and clichés. If you don't want it to poison your team and make it unable to work united, you will have to do things to make your co-worker trust each other.
The first thing is to make your member meet each other, talk to each other, open their mind to other culture and make them accept differences. We are always using more distance communication like phone and email. Some members of your team may see each other only twice a year. But it is really important to make them speech together, because it's much harder to build a relationship through electronic devices. Some managers may find it useless to waste time just to chat about our life, but you better have to lose a few hours now than many days later (because you chain of command failed,â€¦). This time of speech may also help the manager (aka you) to understand the habits of work of his colleagues. The relation they have with their boss, the way they take decisions, the way they try to reach their goalsâ€¦ If you want to be a good manager and to understand their acts, you have to know these things. Otherwise you may get angry at one of your team member for no reason (like
Gavin in the video who ask his Chinese colleagues to hurry up, but it is his boss that he should have asked). Every culture has a different value of the time and its implication, the influence of authority, different behavior toward riskâ€¦
To build your team you can use several tools:
Workshop: to make people speech to each other about value they share, or hobbies they have in common. It's important for them to see that they have similarities. But avoid some conflict themes like religion, politics, and don't talk about work.
Serious game: As it's a game, people will have less pressure on their shoulders, but they will learn to work as a team, they will solve problems (even if it's not real cases). And it's also a way (for the manager) to know the role of each member of the team (who naturally try to lead, who is the facilitatorâ€¦) and it will be useful for the rest of the mission (to delegate work more efficiently).
Outside activities: many companies offer activities their employees (week end of fishing, or trip to a ski stationâ€¦). For most of them it's even obligatory to do their assertiveness training every year. Advantages of these activities are that they make people meet out of work, with no pressure, just to talk about their life, so they will understand their colleagues more easily and their work will be improved. On the other side these activities are very expensive, but manager should take into consideration benefits due to an increase of productivity after these activities.
During these activities, your goal is to create links between your teammates, but you should take care to downward slides: don't take any risk of accidents, incidents arising from alcohol, romantic relations between staff (whether extra-marital or not)â€¦
If you don't succeed to build up your team spirit it will lead you to other problems.
Problems of mistrust are generally due to a poor knowledge of your team member. If you don't know enough his culture it will lead to misunderstanding. Since he is from a different country with a different background, he also has other habits and you should take it into account and not consider it as if it was the reaction of someone of your own culture (for example, when an Indian is acknowledging authority, he is looking down, what European and American can perceive as a lack of trustworthiness). Risks link to mistrust are a bad communication between member, an inaccuracy of stereotypes, and it will lead to less efficiency in your team.
In your team, people from the same country may speak their native language when they are together, but as the manager, you have to be sure about the common language of your team. To avoid problems of miscommunication you have to be sure that every document is in the same language. You also have to be sure that people don't stay with those from the same country. These two worries will make the team less efficient as the team will be split in many pieces. This could slow the information between every member of the team; you will have translation problems and redundancies due to a lack of communication.
Finally, as an international manager you have to be sure that all these methods and way to work doesn't stress your partners. Some people, who don't have the habits to work in a multicultural team, may feel a bit overwhelmed. Stress may also be linked to a lack of integration of its members. Then, they might have the feeling to work alone or perceive the other members as competitors. This would imply counterproductive behavior (such as retention of information) or tension between your team mates
Hofstede's cultural dimensions theory
We will now talk about Geert Hofstede a social psychologist and a Dutch anthropologist who study the interactions between cultures. He has been awarded many times for his research on the interactions between cultures in the world. One of his achievements is the establishment of a theory of cultural dimensions provides a evaluation of the differences between nations and cultures. According to him, there is nothing like a universal management method or management theory, valid throughout the world. The theory was one of the first that could be quantified, and could be used to explain observed differences between cultures. It has inspired a number of other major cross-cultural studies of values, as well as research on other aspects of culture, such as social beliefs. Hofstede has found most of its data on cultural values through global surveys conducted by IBM, an American company specializing in technology and consulting.
The theory is based on the idea that the value can be placed on six cultural dimensions:
Power distance: "Power distance is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally". This dimension analyses the feelings of people. A low score in power distance indicates a culture expects and accepts that power relations are democratic and that its members are perceived as equal. A high score means that the members of society who have less power accept their condition and realize the existence of a form of hierarchical position.
Individualism vs collectivism: "The degree to which individuals are integrated into groups". This dimension has no political connotations and makes more reference to the group than the individual. Individualistic cultures give importance to the achievement of personal goals. In collectivist society, the group's goals and well-being have greater value than the individual.
Uncertainty avoidance index: "a society's tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity". This dimension measures how a company handles situations unknown, unexpected events and anxiety about change. Cultures that have a high index are less tolerant in term of change while companies whose index is low are more open to change, have fewer rules and laws, and guidelines are more flexible.
Masculinity vs femininity: "The distribution of emotional roles between the genders". This dimension measures the level of importance a culture places to male stereotypes values such as confidence, ambition, power and materialism, as well as feminine stereotypes values such as the emphasis on human relations.
Long-term orientation vs short term orientation: called "Confucian dynamism". In the long term: values oriented towards the future, as to save money and be persistent. Short term: values oriented towards the past and the present, like respect for tradition and fulfilling its social commitments.
Pleasure vs moderation: This dimension measures the ability of a culture to meet immediate needs and personal desires of its members.
To understand management in a country, you should have the knowledge and empathy with the local society as a whole. However, the point of the unique statistical study that Hofstede conducted should warn everyone that people in other countries may think, feel, and act very differently, even when they are confronted with basic problems. Hofstede emphasizes that cultural dimensions are only a framework for evaluating a given culture, and guide to a better
HOW TO MANAGE A MULTICULTURAL TEAM?
Multicultural Management's notion
The difference between people has always existed even if all of them come from the same country. For example even in a small country like France, you can feel diversity. People from the north can be easily compared with German people, and the ones that live in the south have a whole different mentality that can fit with the Spanish one.
And that can also be found in a smaller range, just like a family! Everyone isn't the same, there are male/female and among these two parts, you can also find diversity if you look the characteristic of each individuals, it can be very different.
You can take the example of teachers. They are dealing with young people, and they can come from all around the world as easily as if they belonged to the neighborhood. It could be that most of them are too young to have already a strong culture and strong differences, but the teacher can already feel it. After all it's a management job too!
In fact, multicultural management -that is more global- is the same as in monocultural management -neighborhood student- with even more diversity because difference rate can increase a lot, when we put together people that come from all around the world.
As already said before, if you have to deal with people with a high rate of diversity, you will need to prevent all the problems that could come from the origin of stereotypes that comes from every culture.
That's why, if someone ask us what is Multicultural team management is really about. We won't hesitate saying that it is about Management!"
Once we have agreed with that, we can focus on the diversity/Multicultural side of it.
And now we will talk about some key points that need to be correctly filled to work efficiently in multicultural groups. Or in other words, what behavior should have a good Multicultural manager.
What vision a good Multicultural Manager should have ?
To work efficiently with a multicultural group and having the best productivity, the manager should follow some different rules. His attitude is essential for the best cohesion in the team.
Human Resources should never judge the new potential employee according to a physical aspect. It has been proved that judging physically the people in a team won't maximize the effectiveness of the group.
This service should not judge the people according to his origin, but only on his abilities. "To maximize team effectiveness, members should be selected homogeneous in ability level (thus facilitate accurate communication) and heterogeneous in attitudes (thus ensuring a wide range of solutions to problems)"
It's called the Task-Related Selection.
Indeed you can compare that effect to the effect of Synergy.
"Synergy in terms of management and in relation to team working refers to the combined effort of individuals as participants of the team. Positive or negative synergy can exist. The condition that exists when the organization's parts interact to produce a joint effect that is greater than the sum of the parts acting alone." (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_Concept_of_synergy)
Thus to sum up in an example, according to what is written upper, it would be a great idea to bring people that have nothing in common to work as a team to get the biggest variety of characteristics.
Such as a team composed with:
Physically Differences: boys, girls, young, old, pretty and ugly
Background Differences: Asian, European, American and African.
However, as strange as it can seems in the first hand, people should maximize their cultural difference in the team. Be careful that team should not act as if the team was a monocultural one. Indeed, If diversity is ignored it will lead to a dead-end and the productivity will be lower. The manager has to form all of the people in the group to avoid ignorance of the cultural difference and so lead them to understanding and respecting theses differences. In long term, it will increase the productivity of the team.
Thus, a good idea would be for the manager to socialize all the team members together, which will have an effect to share more and more of their background one with each other. And adding some key information to avoid confusions would be necessary.
Here you will find some examples:
The cultural values from everyone share
The common mistakes
Nevertheless after all that point completed, it is not enough, in order to really be efficient, managers should make their team focus on the same thing, and they should have the same target. Thus they need to establish a common goal for all their team. It will help to organize all the people, because sharing the same point of view help a team to reach a common goal. If you don't do that you may see that each individual will try to dominate the others and thus interfere in the team cohesion.
If we take the example of a team which is composed by several colors that are comparable to humans, you will see every of them drawing lines in every direction and that will lead to a drawing that have no sense. Â Thus you need to have a leader approach and invite them to use a global point of view that will lead to a vision of a drawing that is much more ordered and efficient.
A common mistake in multicultural team would be to have a majority of people from the same cultural environment. Because it would give them too much power compared to the other ones and so there won't be enough confrontations between the advices and point of view. The minority would only have to follow the majority way of thinking and that may lead to the trash every single idea that is out of the box.
If we come back in our color example, if you make them work together in the same drawing, some colors can easily have more influence on the drawing that other and that can lead to a drawing that doesn't have a good balance. For example the darkest colors will easily erase the brighter ones. And thus, you won't have the goal expected. That's why equalizing power is important.
Making all the people of the team aware of their differences will help them to understand each other and will increase their tolerance within a team. It would lead to a mutual respect between the workers that is very important to have for the best work environments.
In a nutshell, to make a team work with effectiveness, people from each culture should have an equalized power. They have to share the same goal, recognize differences between one and each other and all of them would be selected focusing more on their competences than on their origins. After that is completed mutual respect would come naturally. And the team is ready to do everything you want.
But beware there is one last thing that we should take care of. Now we have a team that is comparable to a train, it will work efficiently and be very fast! It is important to give regularly feedback to keep the team in its rails, encourage and felicitate them for their work. It has been showed that it is harder for multicultural team to collectively agreeing on what constitutes a good or a bad decision.
Difference between National and International Multicultural Management
As multicultural management makes manager to work with people all around the world, they should behave differently according to the place he works. In this part we will first introduce the virtual multicultural management because this will be very important in the near future according to the increasing importance of numeric conferences. And then we will talk about the skills that should feet a manager in his own country and abroad.
Virtual Multicultural Management
The 3 main skills to work in virtual multicultural teams are business skills, intercultural skills, and language.
They need to have business skills: The 5 common points of business skills are meeting people, presenting your ideas, negotiating your ideas abroad, networking and socialize with the people in the case of a virtual discussion.
But it's not enough, you need also intercultural skills: Business Skills are useful but they need to be adapted depending on the culture and country of the professionals and managers you are working with. So the skills would be different attitudes to time and deadlines that change between the different countries. The team selection, organization and result that have to be adapted depending of the different cultures. Besides management style and decision making need to be adapted too, and to finish business relationship, etiquette and protocol are important point to be filled carefully.
The most important is still the language: Finally you also have to speaking fluently the foreign language, you can also learn and practice fixed expressions or phrases in English to be able to use the two element upper even more efficiently. How could a manager give their ideas in a better way that knowing the other language just as a native would ? In this way, having a good multi language background is necessary to be best understood and to have the power of the words. Besides, if it is not always possible to learn all the languages, it is also important to show your interest to the other one that will lead in a better understanding from both sides.
Necessary manager skills abroad.
Motivation to live abroad: the will and the interest to meet new cultures, are key factors to ensure the success of an expatriation. Indeed, most of the time, the whole family is following and it would be a disaster to be forced to go abroad. Because in this case, the family members will more focus, regret and compare everything with the life they had before focusing on the bad points instead of opening to the other culture, eyes wide open, to see all the good side of seeing a different everyday life.
Tolerance and dealing with doubts: As the two first barriers when a manager goes abroad are the culture shock and the languages shock. The manager really has to be tolerant with the others. Indeed, his lack of understanding may make him take bad decisions. Flexibility is necessary and an open mind also, if you treat someone badly by error of misunderstanding. You will lose all the respect and trust you deserved and thus, you will lose a lot of your persuasiveness.
Patience and respect: As long as you don't understand the whole part of the overall functioning of your team, it is quite evident that patience and humility are vital. Because somehow, it is the colleague's that will learn your place in the team and that will help you to take the good decisions before you know as much as them your new work environment.
Cultural empathy: Cultural empathy is something very important to understand the other, even if you don't share the same language and the same values. If you want to understand the other even the fastest way. Empathy is necessary because it deals with no speaking languages also, such as body language and that is quite worldwide spread. In a nutshell, if you have the will and to sensitiveness to understand the key relationship of a team, you will have the best chance to succeed.
Ego power: As a manager abroad will be very sensible and weak in the very beginning. He should build a strong ego power to be able to face the difficult situations, to avoid being hurt with each criticizes and to face more efficiently the failures. Â It is also better in high stressful situations and instead of feeling the urge to give up, they will more have the will that what they lived what a rich living experience.
Humor: by playing advantage of the humor, the manager avoids frustration, uncertainty and confusion related to unfamiliar environments. It is a way to depersonalize the situation and to give some distance between the the person and the situation, that helps to have a more objective approach from both side. Because often, when someone is feeling offended with criticizes, they will withdraw into themselves and somehow, no more listen of what people are telling them.
Team confrontation and manager behavior example
Some interviews have been conducted to executives from various countries about the issues of the two cultures that are the French one, and the Indonesian one.
"In the Indonesian cultural context, confrontation is considered rude, aggressive, and disrespectful. Open disagreement, particularly in a group forum, is strongly avoided. Even asking another's point of view can feel confrontational in our culture. We had a meeting with a group of French managers from headquarters, where they went around the table asking each of us: "What do you think about this? What do you think about this? What do you think about this?" At first we were just shocked that we would be put on the spot in a meeting with a lot of people. That is just an insult!"
Confrontation is part of French culture. The French school system teaches us to first build up our thesis (one side of the argument) and then to build up our anti-thesis (the opposite side of the argument) before coming to a synthesis (conclusion). And this is exactly how we intuitively conduct meetings. On French teams conflict and dissonance are seen as revealing hidden contradiction and stimulating new thinking. We make our points passionately. We like to disagree openly. We like to say things that shock. And afterwards we feel that was a great meeting and say, "See you next time!" With confrontation you reach excellence, you have more creativity, and you eliminate risk.
Now imagine that you have to handle a team with both French and Indonesian members. At the first look of the main characteristics of each of them you can easily understand that it is going to be a huge disaster if you don't do anything to prevent it. Besides, maybe there would be more people in that team that would have other specificity, what would happens if there are a mass of other nationalities putted into the mix, all with differing cultural attitudes to confrontation ? In a nutshell, is it possible to manage a global team and to get benefits of disagreement? According to the source upper this is possible! But you have to tread it very carefully, using several tactics like the following and without forgetting the mutual respect according to various cultures on the team. In the following line, there are some advices that need to be followed to someone that have to deal with such difficult situations.
Do your preparation. In many Asian cultures the default purpose of a meeting is to put a formal stamp on a decision that has been made before the meeting in informal pre-meetings. In Japanese this is called Nemawashi. The tendency rings true to various degrees in Asia countries such as China, Malaysia, Korea, and Thailand. If you lead a team with members from one of these countries, try making one-on-one phone calls before the formal meeting to hear the real deal. Besides, i wouldn't advice a better way that speaking about the deal in a café before the final decision is taken. That is true even in other countries even if they use to take the decision in the meetings without pre agreements.
Depersonalize the confrontation. Instead of asking people to express their opinions and challenge one another's ideas in a meeting, ask team members to send all their ideas to a nominated third party before the meeting and have that person create a list of ideas without stating who had the suggestions. This way, participants can confront each idea during the meeting, without confronting the person associated with it. Thus the shy and more hierarchy oriented one will be also able to say their point of view without feeling threatened directly. To would ensure a better global and objective set of ideas and opinions among the deal.
Change your language. Sean Gilbride an American living and managing in Mexico has some useful advices during meeting. He says that he learned that if he wants to encourage team debate it was important to use phrases like 'I do not quite understand your point' and 'please explain more why you think that', and to refrain from saying 'I disagree with that' because that would shut down the conversation completely."
If you follow that key lines in your behavior, you increase a lot your chances of success in your team!
EXAMPLE OF DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT IN COCA COLA
Coca cola is a good example of how to succeed in globalization and built Strength on Diversity.
Coca-Cola places great hope on all their people and thanks to it, it embraces its many inherent cultures and differences. The brand admits that creating a culture where unique differences are truly celebrated allows its to take advantage from knowledge, to experience, creativity and innovation its people bring.
"Diversity is an integral part of who we are, how we operate and how we see the future. Â»
Coca Cola builds his culture on seven values: leadership, passion, integrity, collaboration, diversity, quality and accountability. The focus is to show to the world that the brand wants to refresh minds, body, and spirit by creating values and making the difference. It relies on two assets: its people and its brand. Diversity is at the heart of Coca cola business, and to maximise specificity they decided to provide to all associate equal access to information and innovation.
Its sustainability depends on how coca cola embrace and operate in a multicultural world.
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Coca Cola created Business resource groups, which are collection of employees who voluntarily work together to advance their position by leveraging the unique perspectives of our people. Business Resource Groups provide to their associates in the United States opportunities to connect with colleague who share the same interest and background, thanks to those exchange, they are more prepared to face differences and expectation:
* The Coca-Cola African-American Business Resource Group
* The Coca-Cola Asian Business Resource Group
* The Coca-Cola Business Support Professionals Business Resource Group
* The Coca-Cola Company Latino Business Resource Group, LA VIDA
* The Coca-Cola Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally (LGBTA) Business Resource Group
Moreover, Coca cola have a Diversity charter that proves their respect in recruitment and non-discrimination.
(Sensibility and formation, respect and promotion, their will to show diversity, permanent talks, result). It has to effect to reduce conflict and strengthen their ability to respect value and leverage their differences. The Charter has to pattern the employees, until they transform themselves, as coca cola wants them to be.
Employees are train to gain sustainability thanks to their diversity, this training is called diversity education. The formation lies on 3 main points, Diversity Training, a diversity Speaker Series and our diversity Library. Each point is to enhance there vision as a Coca Cola 's workforce.
In Coca cola's idea, differences and forces can be provied by every one in the work cycle. Suppliers are considered as a another source of power. Through a program called diversity mentoring program they receive a comprehensive company assessment,
coaching, guidance and training to better position them for further business and overall growth.
Coca cola's mission is to maximize opportunities with the minorities, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and associates. This contributes to create long term growth, a advantage for the company, and diversity to achieve superior results across the business.
For many diversity is an idea, for other a consequence in the world, for coca cola it is the ability to understand a new dimension where mentality, adaptation and innovation are the key to success.
Now days many decisions in organizations are decided and assigned to teams, it is why Companies are increasingly studying the intercultural dimension of management. The vision of the global economy has deeply changed over the last ten years. The increase in foreign investors, progress in communication and exchange of information, coupled with the strategies of companies desiring to operate on a global scale has sustainable impacted on the company's organization and firm identity.
Companies have become multilingual and multicultural groups where the social and cultural characteristics of the various nationalities present work together to achieve a common goal.
In consequences, several actions have to be implemented by the managers if they want to improve the situations of intercultural teamwork. They remain leaders to acquire advantage of cultural diversity, but considerations are numerous, we can easily mention the language and education, the languages of the files but also the concept of time and distance, different management styles, work ethic or even Technology.
Without cultural and intercultural sensitivity the best manager will be confronted by important challenges in an international context.
Indeed the most important is the overall design of social responsibility.
Reconcile economic and social involves a great understanding of the leaders so that human resources can contribute to the creation of value in respect of human and national specificities employees.
The true value of a team in a company can be reaching if each team member has the time to establish his role and can observe the other members closely in order to understand how they work in business practice.
By observing carefully the evolution of the share of minorities in business labor,
We can deduce and assert that any corporate in the world will become increasingly heterogeneous in terms of ethnicity.