Bouncken and Winker (2008) explain that challenges include global innovation teams being confronted with the team members' various national cultures.
National cultures, Bouncken and Winker point out (2008), influence the behavior, cognitive models and values of the individual. These same cultures, albeit may also contribute to challenges relating to the individual's understanding, along with his/her working relationship. Diversity on team members' backgrounds may increase creativity. Nevertheless, team functioning and team processes constant significant factors that form the outcome: Innovation. On the other hand, when diversity starts to threaten group processes, the ensuing actions may, in turn, spoil creativity and the intended implementation of innovation. A manager who does not include all team members in the decision making process or allows particular individuals on a team to dominate discussions increases the potential for challenges with/in a multi-cultural team to increase. The cohesion connecting the team members, as well as their commitment to the organization evolves from creativity and innovation. When team members do not participate in team decision making, albeit, their commitment to the team's tasks, which consequently links to their commitment to the organization decreases and/or dissipates.
Through the moderators of language and past intercultural experience, numerous results of diversity studies indicate that when ethnical diversity is considered in only one country, this contributes to only limited potential that the knowledge gained will be put into practice. In addition, team research that only considers college students and measures effects of ethnical diversity on team performance may only prove applicable to colleges students as these individuals do not likely possess the amount of cultural experience employees in an international firm would have gained from their employment. Solely considering national diversity does not suffice. Bouncken and Winker (2008) conclude that teams possessing identical degrees of national diversity may hold varying degrees of cultural diversity and, in turn, function differently (Conclusion section, ? 3).
In the article, "How diversity makes a team click," Kelley Holland (2007) concurs that multicultural teams may be particularly challenging to manage. Along with language barriers, communication styles frequently differ from one culture to culture, as may traditional views relating to hierarchy and decision-making processes. "The potential for misunderstanding, bungled efforts and ill will is enormous" (Holland, 2007, ? 6). Success follows understanding and accepting the differences on a multicultural team, and then utilizing the differences to enhance the way the team evaluates issues, situations and concerns and from the analyses makes decisions.
Timothy D. Golden, Assistant Professor of Management, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and John F. Veiga (2005) Professor of Management, University of Connecticut, assert in the study, "Spanning boundaries and borders: Toward understanding the cultural dimensions of team boundary spanning," that boundary spanning may be constitute the chain of competition for multicultural teams in the contemporary globalized economy. Deliberate efforts by a team to communicate frequently with individuals outside the team to promote the team, obtain resources, and protect the team from intrusion are known as team boundary spanning. This practice purportedly constitutes the best way to assert the team's progress. As the number of cross cultural teams rapidly increase, for boundary spanning to effectively work within a organization, managers need to understand the cultural orientations of each of the team members (Golden & Veiga)
As individuals make up teams and each individual possesses his/her personal assumptions and preferences, when members gather to achieve team goals, they will likely bring assumptions and preferences the formed from different prior life experiences, especially those due to their culture. To achieve team goals and objectives, nevertheless, "members develop team-level strategies for interacting with their environment such as choosing to boundary span or not" (Golden & Veiga, 2005, Aggregating team...section, ? 1). How the assumptions the individual team members possess, along with their preferences, nevertheless, do materialize and are reflected in their team's general approach to its organizational environment.
Golden and Veiga (2005) state that the actions a team adopts, according to research, will likely reflect the views the majority of individual team members hold. Still, "as the vast and growing cross-cultural research has shown, team actions are likely to be greatly complicated by the individual cultural differences of its members" (Golden & Veiga, Aggregating team...section, ? 1). Although a number of cultural differences may also exist within countries, national cultural values appear to vary methodically more across cultures than they do within the culture.
Despite technological advances, along with the start up of new markets and unprecedented levels of migration, Mulkeen (2008) asserts, neither governments nor organizations have invested sufficient time to learning how to harness the opportunities the new multicultural working and social environment presents. As noted at this study's start, unless the organization invests the time to comprehend how to best manage the integration of employees from different cultures, they may lose opportunities to create an effective international team.
Mulkeen (2008) further asserts that prior to the advent of multicultural workforces, mono-cultural teams constituted the norm. Excluding slight variations in personal communication style, "each team member shared the same cultural background and understood the rules of engagement. Each employee would know how to relate to his or her colleagues and work towards a common goal" (Mulkeen, 2008, ? 3). With the shift is made from mono-cultural to multicultural teams, however, the manager, as well as the individual team member faced unique challenges, which included differing forms of communication and perhaps unfamiliar business cultures.
The manager's role, Mulkeen (2008) explains, is to nurture effective collaboration in the working environment so the team may achieve its desired goals. As multicultural team members may each possess different ideas of the way to manage tasks and projects, managing a team consisting of numerous nationalities varies dramatically to the managing a mono-cultural team. "A truly effective manager takes the time to understand his or her staff and will gradually adopt a 'third' culture: A new set of styles and processes which combine the cultural preferences pertinent to those in the team and find the best fit for the group" (Mulkeen, 2008, ? 6). This process involves the manager identifying and understanding the impact individual's communication style makes. Mulkeen points out:
A principal difference in communication style is whether a culture is 'high' or 'low' context. Cultures vary in the extent to which the context of their communication is implicit or explicit, which also influences the value they place on their relationships or on rules. In a high-context culture (found in countries such as Spain, Mexico and France), communication relies on body language and assumed knowledge, and the context is left unsaid. Conversely, in a low-context culture (found in countries such as Germany, Canada, the UK and the USA), communication is much more direct and words are used to explain the context explicitly (Mulkeen, 2008, ?? 7- 8).
To avoid causing offence or misunderstanding when a person from a high-context culture communicates with another individual from a low-context culture, he/she needs a particular amount of accommodation or adaptation. A person from a low-context culture may feel he/she is not being caught up to speed by a team member from a high-context culture, who assumes all members share the same knowledge. A high-context individual, on the other hand, may feel he/she is being patronized or perhaps feel bored by the level of detail given his/her low-context counterpart give him/her. An international team manager needs to be cognizant of these and other challenges and also secure salient solutions to minimize conflict in the team and maximize successful group communication within the group (Mulkeen, 2008).
One primary difference in business practices across cultures involves the amount of emphasis the individual or the group or team as a whole merits. This type tension between individualism (noted in countries like the USA, the UK, Australia and Germany) and collectivism (noted in countries in the Middle East as well as Singapore and Mexico) may impact the way individuals perceive their roles in the team. To effectively counter this challenge, expectations regarding the team member needs to be mutually understood from the start (Mulkeen, 2008).
Mulkeen (2008) asserts that attitudes towards risk, hierarchy, collectivism and individualism, as well as communication styles, represent a few vital areas the competent multicultural team manager regularly addresses to counter the development or friction within the team and/or permitting it to flourish. Cross-cultural competency proves to be an essential characteristic for managers in multinational companies. Whether or not a manager possess this trait may make the difference between an organization succeeding or failing in today's global economy. With a myriad differences to consider in managing a multicultural team, the manager also has to determine which strategy for managing the diverse individuals works best, yet simultaneously creates an effective framework for running the team so each person feels comfortable in his/her environment.
Multi-Cultural Team Cohesion Benefits.
Luo & Shenkar point out a number of ways global language design benefits performance in an organization:
Global language design affects corporate performance via…