Leading Multicultural Teams
Globalization has led to an increasing need to work with other cultures in a wide array of capacities, such as economic, social, technical, and political (Northouse, 2016). Therefore, it is advantageous for leaders to exercise greater cross-cultural understanding of other nations, especially when working in multicultural teams. A virtual team presents its own set of challenges, and when combined with cross-cultural interaction may be somewhat difficult to use effectively. However, the advantages of a global virtual team is that it can provide greater flexibility and adaptability to an organization, while also reducing costs and unnecessary surplus through improved use of resources (Morgan, Paucar-Caceres, & Wright, 2014). Working parallel with multiple cultures and developing communication competencies that will share the full vision of UBS with all cultural groups is needed to present effective leadership to the new virtual team (Morgan et al., 2014; Northouse, 2016).
Studies on culturally diverse teams reveal that these groups generally experience substantial communications issues, relational conflicts, and low team cohesion which can lower the overall effectiveness (Aritz & Walker, 2010). Theref...
... middle of paper ...
... across multiple cultures will likely be challenging under the best of circumstances, however, this is compounded with the use of technology to implement virtual teams. Strengths of virtual teams in a multicultural format may include reducing superficial differences such as gender or ethnicity, a level of openness due to relative anonymity, and convenience and flexibility that overcome time or distance constraints (Berg, 2012). Unfortunately, there are also weaknesses such as diminished feedback, minimized face-to-face social cues, possible misinterpretations, and the darker side of flexibility is slower responses due to time delays (Berg, 2012; Thompson, 2015). A team leader will need to recognize and consider these issues, along with the cultural differences mentioned, in order achieve effective team leadership and optimal performance within a virtual team format.
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