Business globalisation is forming new demands for individuals, organisations and countries to work together in many different ways. A team that is multi-cultural has the capability to bring individuals together with an extensive range of ideas and experiences. In the recent years, there has been a tendency of multi-cultural teams becoming very common. This is because cross border mobility has become much easier and the number of people travelling from one nation to another has grown significantly (Aswathppa, 2010). This has also resulted in the intermarrying of people from different ethnic backgrounds and cultures. Although having multicultural ...view middle of the document...
For example, how would people from a culture, which values individualism, solve business problems with people from a community that values collectivism? In a survey that was conducted in Indonesia, Japan, India and the US with four hundred and nine employees, it showed that there are significant national differences in characteristics that persuade people to willingly follow a leader (Roembke, 2000). For example, Japanese employees are more inclined to follow a leader who is profound while Indians are inclined to follow a leader who is seen as pragmatic or as ambitious. Indonesian workers are significantly more inclined to follow a leader who seen as having an authoritative bearing while Americans show more likelihood to follow leaders who are seen as directly and openly expressing opinions.
People assume that challenges on multicultural teams come from different communication styles. This is just one of the four categories that can create barrier to the ultimate success of a team. These categories include trouble with accents and fluency, conflicting norms for making of decisions, direct versus indirect communication and conflicting attitudes towards authority and hierarchy (Mietusch, 2012). The major challenge here is the direct versus indirect communication. For example, in western culture communication is explicit and direct. The listener does not need the speaker to interpret it since the meaning is on the surface. This is not the case in many other cultures since the meaning is put across in the way the message is presented. This means that a non-Westerner can easily understand the direct communication from a Westerner but a Westerner has problems understanding the indirect communication of a westerner (Matveev, 2004). The differences between these two types of communication can cause serious relationship damages when team projects encounter problems.
For any manager or team worker leading a team facing the problems mentioned above, the first task to do is to identify the root of the problem. Once the problem has been detected, there is more likelihood that the leader can choose an appropriate strategy for dealing with the problem. The main solutions to the problems include adaptation (acknowledging the gaps culturally and working openly around them) or managerial intervention (bringing in a more superior manager and setting the norms at an early stage). Alternatively one can use structural intervention (changing the shape or the composition of the team) or use the last solution which is to exit (after the other options have failed you can choose to remove the team leader). Generally, the chances of the multi-cultural team succeeding are higher if the leader is to take action quickly. The best strategy to be use depends on the circumstance and each strategy has potential complications. Teams that see challenges stemming from culture and not personality, succeed in handling their culture-based issues with creativity and good humour...