Learning How Cultural Diversity Affects Global Teams-www.1234567.com

Sales-Training You can’t underestimate the challenges of diversity: Cultures have different ways of doing things, different manners, different work styles, and different definitions of what being a good team member means. This article will discuss how these differences can impact a global business team. Please look for more information in other articles on each of the mentioned cultural dimensions. "Misunderstanding creates mistrust and mis.munication among team members and increases stereotyping," says Adler. This may make it more difficult to gain consensus and reach decisions." So, let’s look to some of the experts for advice. According to Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith, acknowledged gurus on team behavior, the essence of a team is its shared goals, .mon .mitment, .plementary skills, and mutual accountability. This sense of accountability, which is judged on performance standards, is what makes teams potentially much more effective than the individual efforts of all the members of the team. Successful teams have: Clear goals and objectives that are uniformly accepted by all members Rules, role definitions, and clear procedures Active participation of each team member Clear discipline and consequences Clear .munication channels It stands to reason, then, that you want to maximize the characteristics of successful teams while considering the challenges that cultural diversity presents. The primary ones include: 1.Over.ing differences in language and culture 2.Developing trust and relationships despite distance 3.Over.ing logistical challenges 4.Developing a .mon context for decision-making Let’s look at this in a little more detail. Language is one of the most striking problems in a global team. It involves how proficient all team members are with the language being used (most often English). It goes both ways. Let’s say that English is the .mon language. Those who speak it as a second language have to contend with their ability to express their ideas clearly and with all the subtlety they need; their confidence to speak it, and the speed with which they can follow a conversation with a variety of English speakers. For first-language English speakers, they have to interpret accents and sometimes difficult-to-understand pronunciation, restrain their own tendency to speak in "shorthand" with idioms and cultural references (such as "hitting a home run" or "all the rage"). You don’t have to read a lot of research to understand that those who are most .fortable with the language can be more articulate and persuasive, and thus tend to have more power in the group. Imagine a conference call with eager Americans and Australians who have trouble with silence and thus don’t explore the thoughts of their Japanese team members who are either slower to answer because they’re considering their response or are reluctant to express their views because they may be interpreted as critical. To the Americans, silence is interpreted as acquiescence while to the Asians, silence more often means that there is a negative reaction and the participants are reluctant to express it. Another key cultural issue is the ability to develop a relationship among the group members. Zhang and Johnson point to psychological research that says people establish relationships more easily and quickly when they see each other. This makes sense and is .plicated not only by the distance between team members in global virtual teams , but also in the cultural attitudes of the members about doing work with total strangers. In transactional cultures this is possible. In high relationship cultures, this is extremely difficult and can exacerbate misunderstandings that might arisenot through personalities but through the cold medium of email, online chats and texting. Terse messages can be misinterpreted as rude. Humor in emails can be mistaken as insulting, sarcastic, culturally insensitive or cruel.If you don’t have the backlog of trust, you’re apt to ascribe attitudes to other team members and make potentially damaging assumptions. What about the logistical problems? The first one is time zones. Make no mistake, this is no small issue. In fact, Nazma Muhammad-Rosado explains that Genentech tries to rotate the time for their conference calls. This isn’t just to be nice; this is so that everyone experiences (and appreciates) the handicap of calling into a meeting at 8pm when your family is waiting for you or at 6 am when you’re just looking forward to the first cup of coffee. It’s not only respectful, it’s a way of sensitizing all team members to the difficulties of operating globally. There are also the diversity challenges of proficiency with technology and how that might be affected by age and background, as well as the constraints of family responsibility (which can be both an element of age and cultural disposition). Look for more on how to manage a global team. About the Author: 相关的主题文章: