Increased globalization is pushing organizations throughout the world to develop skills that are necessary to succeed in an intercultural environment. Although globalization can create numerous benefits for organizations, it presents unique challenges that must be addressed. A notable challenge is that of ensuring that individuals from a diverse background can work together effectively.
A limited understanding of diversity related issues can be the source of serious problems for multicultural organizations. This paper looks at various issues about diversity and discusses how to develop successful teams in an intercultural setup.
Defining Intercultural Teams
According to Wildman and Griffith (297), intercultural teams are teams that are made up of individuals from different cultures. Characteristically, members of intercultural teams bring different skills and behaviors to the team. For this reason, the development of effective intercultural teams depends so much on the ability of managers to understand the cultures involved.
Development of Intercultural Teams
Generally, the development of successful intercultural teams is not an easy task. To guarantee effectiveness, strict guidelines must be followed during the development process. Drawing from the study by Wildman and Griffith (304), it is important to establish clear goals for the team as a starting point. Equally important is the need to identify the key responsibilities of each member of the team.
Arguably, the success in developing effective intercultural teams depends on the focus that leaders have in meeting their objectives. Having clear goals for the team serves to provide a solid guideline for the operations of the team. It helps to eliminate confusion and ensures that all members are united and reading from the same script. Defining the roles of different members in an intercultural team is needed in order to enhance effectiveness and to get rid of redundancy.
To a large extent, ethical as well as moral values of members of an intercultural team can easily affect the decision making process and slow down the progress of the team. Usually, this comes from the fact that people from different cultures tend to have varying perceptions of what is ethical and what is not. If not properly managed, this can be a major source of conflict in the team. Ostensibly, cultural differences can have a negative impact on emotions, motivation, or the behavior in an intercultural team.
In order to address the challenges mentioned above, it is imperative for leaders and managers in multinational organizations to put in place an elaborate plan for training team members. Undoubtedly, all team members must be equipped with skills that are necessary to do extremely well in an intercultural team.
As argued by Guilherme (95), offering intercultural training to proposed team members helps them to be aware of the challenges that may be encountered in the process of dealing with members of other cultures. To be successful, members of the team must be trained on the need to appreciate other cultures.
With the onset of globalization, organizations have no choice but to learn how to survive in intercultural environments. Success in such setups is, however, dependent on the successful development of intercultural teams. As has been pointed out in this paper, the process of developing effective intercultural teams is often challenging. For this reason, leaders must understand the problems of working in a multicultural setting and how to develop and maintain intercultural teams.
During the development process, it is imperative to define goals for the team and to determine key responsibilities for all members of the team. Research also indicates that members of intercultural teams must be subjected to an elaborate training in order to prepare them ahead of time.
Guilherme, Manuela. The Intercultural Dynamics of Multicultural Working. Tonawanda, NY: Multilingual Matters, 2010. Print.
Wildman, Jessica and Griffith, Richard. Leading Global Teams. New York: Springer, 2014. Print.