The use of culturally diverse business teams is an increasingly common situation in today’s world; especially as the world continues to become a global village. Leveraging on the cultural diverse backgrounds and experiences of members of such teams can be a source of improved performance which can ultimately reflect a competitive advantage in the business market. As Symons and Stenzel (2007) aptly state, “culturally diverse teams are more likely to engage in innovative `out-of-the-box' thinking, given their different life experiences in diverse social environments.” Another pointer to suggest that multicultural teams tend to be a source of competitive advantage in business is found in the paper by Di Stefano and Maznevski (2000) where they state that “multicultural teams have an enormous wealth of material with which to create innovative approaches to complex organizational challenges.” They furthermore state that “today’s business cannot flourish without the creative value afforded by high performing global teams.”
There are several factors that are important if a culturally diverse business team is to flourish and realize its vast potential. Di Stefano and Maznevski (2000) claim that there are three imperative steps to achieving multicultural team success; namely, mapping the team; where the team members need to clearly understand their cultural differences in how they work and view success. This is often led by the team leader. Next, the team must bridge, that is, to communicate with one another, bearing in mind their cultural differences. Finally, the team must integrate, meaning that they bring together these differences and leverage on them to succeed.
Symons and Stenzel (2007) also tell us that for a multicultural team ...
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Lee, M.R. (2009) ‘E-ethical leadership for virtual project teams’, International Journal of Project Management, 27 (5), pp.456-463. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijproman.2008.05.012
http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/10.1016/j.ijproman.2008.05.012. Accessed: 21st March, 2012.
Brett, J., Behfar, K. & Kern, M. (2006) ‘Managing multicultural teams’, Harvard Business Review, 84 (11), 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.
Di Stefano, J.J. & Maznevski, M.L. (2000) ‘Creating value with diverse teams in global management’, Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 45 – 63,
http://www.genderdiversity.cgiar.org/publications/creatingvaluewithdiverseteams.pdf. Accessed: 23rd March, 2012.
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