The Multicultural Teams Reading Room

The The Multicultural Teams Reading Room provides perspectives, insight, articles and other resources for improving multicultural team effectiveness.

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Spotlighted Articles

  • Helping Global Teams Deliver

    by Robin Schneider and Vivianne Näslund

    Many businesses are now operating globally and it is now common practice to

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    bring together teams with members from a number of different countries. What is less common, however, is for these teams to deliver consistently high quality results, and some flop spectacularly. This article is about what HR Directors can and should consider to ensure that their teams capitilise on their cultural differences as a vehicle for opening up thinking and coming up with innovative solutions … and do not find that misunderstandings and the constraints imposed by virtual working cause these teams to fail.

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  • This article relates to the Diversity in the Workplace Competency, commonly evaluated in employee satisfaction surveys. This competency explores whether your organization provides understanding and supports interaction among diverse population groups while respecting individuals' personal values and ideas. Research shows that by fostering a climate where equity and mutual respect are intrinsic, an organization can create a success-oriented, cooperative and caring work environment that draws intellectual strength and produces innovative solutions from the synergy of its people.

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  • One of the biggest challenges faced by companies today is how to turn a group into a highly efficient global team. The following questions can be used to build a team outcome checklist. What is our ideal size? What skills do we have? What do we need to add? What is our mission and purpose? How does each individual contribute to it? Do we mutually set, track and meet specific performance goals? Do we regularly self-evaluate? Do we set and live by behavioral ground rules? Do we hold ourselves accountable? Do our results come from a collective effort? Turning a group into a team is one of the biggest challenges leaders face.

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  • Multicultural teams have become very common in recent years. With cross border mobility becoming much easier the number of people moving from one country to another has grown significantly. This has also led to more people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds intermarrying. Their children could be born and grow up in different countries and have hybrid cultural identities. Globalization and the advances in communication and transportation technology have reduced trade barriers and increased interaction among people.

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  • Most teams contain a wide variety of personalities. These differences among team members can sometimes lead to conflicts that harm morale. If you ever have trouble keeping your cool with others, consider these points: You don't have to be best buddies to work together. Although you  might not pencil in some people on your social calendar, you can have perfectly productive working relationships with them.

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  • In what can most charitably, be described as an odd response to critics who slammed its lack of diversity, CBS's Survivor has unveiled a new plot twist for its upcoming season: The selected contestants will be divided by ethnicity. When it premieres Sept. 14, Survivor: Cook Islands will feature 20 castaways divided into four tribes: black, white, Asian and Latino. In other words the contestants will be segregated along racial and ethnic lines. How this addresses the issue of a lack of diversity is hard to imagine. According to the show’s host Jeff Probs Survivor’s ethnically pure tribes

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Research Desk

  • This study examines the effectiveness of multicultural teams in organizations. Understanding the cultural differences of team members helps managers to function more effectively on multicultural teams. To explore multicultural team effectiveness, we employ the Cross-cultural Communication Competence Model to probe the cultural origins of the interaction process in diverse work teams. Focusing on self-reports of American and Russian managers about team effectiveness and communication competence, we develop recommendations for managers working in multicultural teams. Pragmatically, the study presents a detailed “what to do” advice for managers working on multicultural teams.

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  • Integrate two complementary streams of research on "fit" that document the positive impacts of similarity and the negative effects of dissimilarity. Fit with the organization's culture typically focuses on similarity in values while relational demography examines similarity or dissimilarity in demographic attributes. Although both approaches emphasize fit and draw on similar underlying theories, little research investigates both simultaneously. In a longitudinal study, both cultural and demographic fit had independent effects on performance; however, "deeper" value fit effects were stronger than "surface" demographic fit. These findings raise the possibility that previous findings of the negative effects from demographic heterogeneity may stem, in part, from a lack of underlying culture fit. For more information on this study, contact the co-author, Charles A. O'Reilly III

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