Multicultural Team Management

Surname 1
Multicultural Team Management
The recent recruitment into a computer software company presents an opportunity for me
to develop my career as an information technology specialist. The project for which I was hired
comprises two other people, one from the United States and another from the United Kingdom.
The recruitment process was intensive, picking the best from the three nations after successful
innovation in our respective countries. This is a plus for the team because of the enhanced
knowledge and skills pool to be utilized. However, our technical expertise is not a guarantee for
success, as other factors would influence the team. The project demands a great sense of
teamwork for it to be successful. One notable challenge to our working together would be our
cultural differences. The different habits, beliefs, knowledge, skills, and customs are likely to
negatively or positively enable us to achieve our desired goals. This diversity is largely
contributed by our backgrounds with regard to family, society, and school. The complexity of the
issue would be identifying the various cultural differences and their management approach. Erin
Meyers Culture Web provides vital insights into effective multicultural interactions. In this case,
it would be a useful tool in understanding the diverse cultures and the effective approach to
handling conflicts and disagreements that may arise from our interactions.
Erin Meyer 8 Behavioral skills
Erin Meyer developed an analysis tool, dubbed the Culture Web, that helps in understanding the
cultural behaviors of different people. Meyer considers culture to be complicated and non-
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measurable in a single dimension. As such, Meyer’s tool is based on eight behavioral
dimensions: communication, evaluating, leading, persuading, deciding, trusting, scheduling, and
disagreeing. Cognitive, behavioral, and relational differences due to individual cultures or
subcultures are exhibited in the scales (Meyer).
Culture Web utilizes the concept of personal profiling through which individuals respond
to a questionnaire to determine their cultural tendencies and preferences in each of the eight
scales. On communication dimension, the tool categorizes people as either explicit or implicit
communicators (Meyer). Moreover, different cultures exhibit different approaches to evaluation:
direct or indirect feedback. Leadership dimension is based on the existence of varying
organizational cultures that may be egalitarian or hierarchical. Additionally, whereas some
cultures prefer consensual decision-making, others consider top-down method the most
appropriate. In cultures where trust is an issue, people tend to be trust-oriented as opposed to
task-orientation, as illustrated by the Culture Web (Siebdrat et al.). Disagreement is another
dimension through which various cultures differ in approaches, some being confrontational and
others avoiding conflict. On scheduling, flexible cultures value adaptability, while structured
ones focus on schedules and deadlines. Some cultures are deductive persuaders, and others are
inductive in persuasion.
Our Interaction and Possible Differences
Our interaction in terms of communication could be largely affected on the basis of expressing
oneself and passing across the right message at the most suitable time. Americans and Britons
are considered explicit for their use of simple, clear, and precise messages; therefore, my two
teammates could find it hard getting my implied messages that consist of sophisticated wordings
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or are rather too detailed. Consequently, lack of message clarity could lead to misunderstandings,
further impeding information sharing.
As a Chinese, my cultural preference on feedback would largely depend on how the other
two members of my team would interpret my message. I would, thus, find it hard to give direct
negative feedback as my other team members would do. Consequently, greater challenge would
occur to me because I would mostly personalize the criticism and in the process, affect our
Furthermore, I expect my American colleague to be deductive in persuasion, focusing on
conclusions first and then supporting them with theories and concepts. On the other hand, the
British teammate is likely to be inductive. In other words, he would focus on theories and
concepts before reaching conclusions (Meyer).
Moreover, the preference for hierarchical structures by the Briton and I would be
incongruent with our American colleague who is more conversant with Egalitarian or flat-based
structures. As such, issues of disrespect would possibly arise because of the misunderstandings.
In my culture, decision-making is the role of the top management, who later
communicate the information to subordinates. However, relying on that strategy would lead to
issues with my American and British teammates, who believe in participative decision-making.
Additionally, Americans and Britons trust their judicial systems on contracts enforcement
and as such, trusting parties to a contract is never an issue. By contrast, I would prefer working
with people I know or I have a personal relationship with. Accordingly, my inability to trust
strangers may derail the project completion.
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Confrontational nature of the American would probably piss me off considering that my
tolerance for disagreements, debates, and open confrontation is low. In effect, the possible
confrontations may end up creating personalized conflicts.
Whereas structured cultural practices, as advocated by the American and the Briton,
consider deadline and schedule as essential, my focus is mainly on the end product. I would find
it acceptable to change plans as new opportunities emerge. Undoubtedly, this flexibility would
irritate my colleagues, and the teammates would probably not support the changes that I propose.
Shared Preferences
Despite the cultural differences, we share various preferences .One tendency is our technical
competence and desire for technological improvement. Founded on our educational background,
we all submit to the ideology of professionalism with regard to products and innovation.
The second area of shared preference is on career development and teamwork. We all
desire to grow our careers and would probably seek all possible ways of achieving our career
dreams. We also recognize teamwork as an essential element of organizational success. If we
acknowledge the impact of culture on each one of us rather than personalizing our behaviors, we
shall work harmoniously as one team bonded by aspirations.
Managing Cultural Differences in the Team
Different approaches to managing cultural difference exist. In this regard, four mainly used
tactics include adaptation, structural intervention, managerial intervention, and exit (Brett et al.).
The choice of tactic is influenced by the magnitude, identification stage, nature or interaction,
and the possible outcome.
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In ensuring a harmonious interaction between the three of us, we need to identify the
various social challenges, assess the circumstances, and devise a strategy. Depending on the
cultural analysis, we would consider the four approaches mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
First, we would adopt adaptation, in which each one of us would acknowledge the
cultural differences and then try to adapt without hurting the rest. Since the responsibility of
resolving our differences lies with us, the approach would save the management time (Brett, et
al.). We must, however, be aware of the challenges that at times are difficult.
Structural intervention is another approach that we can use. This technique would involve
changing firm structures or reassigning team members based on their cultural competence. For
instance, the approach could consider where the individual cultures would suit best and then
reassign the person. This method, however, has the risk of isolated members forming subgroups
to fight back.
In the event we fail to solve the conflict ourselves, managerial intervention could be
utilized. The manager would arbitrate the matter of the team conflict. An effective team should
be proactive in setting cultural norms before their engagement.
The last approach, which would be our last resort, would be an exit. The method involves
removing a team member. This approach is costly regarding lost talent, training, and
development costs incurred (Brett et al.).
In each of the four approaches, diversity and inclusion should be considered. Once all
members appreciate that each one of us has a cultural identity, then we would be in a position to
accommodate and acknowledge each other and focus on the task at hand. Diversity management
creates team cohesion, enhances customer experience as team members feel appreciated, and
improves creativity and innovation through knowledge sharing (Groysberg and Connolly).
Surname 6
Cultural differences present challenging situations to a team. The challenges are hard to identify
but are rather felt through significant team dysfunctions. Consideration of other individual
member’s cultures is essential in eliminating conflicts. Erin Meyer’s Culture Web is an important
tool to start with in seeking to understand individual cultural behavior, as it profiles the behaviors
on various scales. The acknowledgment ensures harmonious interactions. Non-personalization of
cultural differences is also critical. In cases of conflicts, various approaches can be used.
Adaptation is the most appropriate approach in most scenarios due to its engagement with team
members. The cultural differences if handled in a positive manner present enormous benefits to
the team.
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Works Cited
Brett, Jeanne, et al. "Managing Multicultural Teams." Harvard Business Review, Nov. 2006, Accessed 24 Feb. 2017.
Groysberg, Boris, and Katherine Connolly. "Great Leaders Who Make the Mix Work." Harvard
Business Review, Sep. 2013,
Accessed 24 Feb. 2017.
Meyer, Erin. "Navigating the Cultural Minefield." Harvard Business Review, Jul. 2014, Accessed 24 Feb. 2017.
Siebdrat, Frank, et al. "How to Manage Virtual Teams." MIT Sloan Management Review, Jul.
2009, Accessed 24 Feb. 2016.

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