The evolution of globalization and the advancement of communication technology have increased the amount of cross cultural, virtual teams in existence in today’s business world. Cross cultural, virtual teams can leverage on the diverse experiences of its members to achieve good results even without the members meeting face to face.
Having good leadership of any project team is undoubtedly essential for the success of the team. It is thus imperative for virtual, cross cultural teams to be led properly and carefully so that their cultural diversity and virtual presence does not become a source of conflict and eventual failure.
Challenges posed by cultural diversity among team members
There are a number of challenges that a project leader is likely to face when leading a cross cultural team. Brett et al (2006) describes four major challenges namely; challenges with communication style, troubles with accents and fluency, differing responses to hierarchy and differences in decision making styles.
Cross cultural teams are quite unique when compared to traditional mono-cultural business teams. Mono-cultural team members share similar ideas on how to pass information. The team members of a mono-cultural team also interpret statements in a similar manner. Thus, mannerisms and words spoken are usually clearly understood with almost no ambiguity. This represents a possible advantage over cross cultural teams who have members with different communication styles. There is a tendency for people who come from a background where words and meanings are explicitly stated to misunderstand other members who like to imply meanings in their statements and vice versa. This misunderstanding can often lead to conflicts that can eventual...
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...1), pp.84-91, Business Source Premier [online].
http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=22671287&site=ehost-live. Accessed: 21st March, 2012.
Symons, J. & Stenzel, C. (2007) ‘Virtually borderless: an examination of culture in virtual teaming’, Journal of General Management, 32 (3), pp.1-17, Business Source Premier [online].
http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=25012463&site=ehost-live . Accessed: 21st March, 2012
Kossek, E.E, Lobel, S.A & Brown, J. (2005) ‘Human Resource Strategies to Manage Workforce Diversity: Examining the Business Case’. Available at: http://books.google.com.ng/books?hl=en&lr=&id=zUYHDw_detEC&oi=fnd&pg=PA53&dq=HR+strategies+in+designing+multicultural+teams&ots=GQEMrnrt3N&sig=jXJCo2ifZdrMBa4rC-8ruKFJClw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false Accessed: 27th March, 2012.
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