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Cross-cultural teambuilding and Diversity management

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1 Cross-cultural teambuilding and Diversity management

2 Definition I groupwork = teamwork
A team is a group which works on a clear defined task. A team can manage a whole project or only part of it. Teams exist for a special task-orientated reason and their existence is limited to the fulfilment of the task.

3 Definition II there are two kinds of groupwork to distinguish:
1. formal group (which was founded on organisational composition) 2. informal group (which is formed through personal wishes and sympathy)

4 Types of Teams 1. Traditional work groups (Natural work groups)
2. Impromptu short-term teams (Swat teams) 3. Special purpose teams (project teams) 4. Cross-functional teams 5. Self-managed teams (“direct team”)

5 Stages of Group Development
1. Forming -getting to know each other and testing 2. Storming -group structure begins to emerge 3. Norming developing cohesion 4. Performing working structure

6 Social Group Structure I
1. Status structure - a relative and valued position of a member inside the group - mediator in a communication process M5 M1 M2 M3 M4 M2 M4 M1 M1 M4 M5 M2 M3 M3 M5 Circle Chain Y

7 Social Group Structure II
2. Role structure - gives information about the behaviour and the expectations of the behaviour 3. Leadership - formed informally lead back on behavioural attributes

8 Group Composition I Group Size small team (3-5 members) big team (8-12 members) the number of team members should depend on the tasks which have to be solved

9 Group Composition II homogeneity & heterogeneity - homogeneity is needed to develop group cohesion - heterogeneity is necessary to produce the potential for change in a group Redl´s law of optimum distance: “homogeneous enough to ensure stability and heterogeneous enough to ensure vitality” (?????)

10 Group Composition III Descriptive attributes: - Age - Gender - Race and ethnicity - Social class Behavioural attributes: - these refer to the way in which individuals behave, their personality, attitudes and life styles (talkative vs. quiet, dominant vs. submissive)

11 Definition of Diversity
“diversity can best be described in terms of differences from the accepted mainstream population” Myers, S.:Team Building For Diverse Work Groups, p.8 Mark M. Deresky, „Managing in a Diverse Workforce“, MBA paper, West Florida Universuty (Spring 1994) National origin Language Gender Workforce Diversity Religion Culture Family situation Race Age Physical ability Sexual orientation Marital status Socio-economic status

12 Aims of Group Composition
the goal is to create a workplace in which individuals are not limited by traditional barriers, stereotypes and restrictions Cohesion through trust, openness and diversity

13 Cultural diversity... ...can have positive as well as negative impacts on a team. + a well managed diverse team augments the potential productivity because many different ideas and perspectives concerning a special situation play a role - cultural diversity increases the complexity of the whole process and can therefore lead to difficulties in integrating and evaluating the various perspectives

14 Disadvantages I Differences in language Differences in communication
Differences in management styles Differences in norms, behaviour stereotyping/ prejudices personality conflicts, mistrust

15 Disadvantages II greater complexity  problems in reaching agreements, the decision-making process is influenced in a negative way lack of trust, communication inaccuracies  stress, tension  decreased effectiveness

16 Advantages sharing technology sharing skills and talents
sharing experiences opportunity for cross-cultural understanding limited “groupthink” varied backgrounds exposure to different viewpoints and alternatives  more and better ideas  higher productivity


18 When does diversity become most valuable?
When the need for agreement remains low and relatively high need for creativity is required, that means when an organisation wants to launch a new product, create new ideas or develop a new marketing plan from a new perspective, diversity becomes most valuable. Diversity can lead to better customer relationship because different market issues are handled from different points of view; customers are seen more individually and can therefore be treated more appropriately.

19 Team effectiveness from: N.Adler: International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior, p. 137

20 Team effectiveness “When well managed, diversity becomes an asset and productive resource for the team. When ignored, diversity causes process problems that diminish the team’s productivity. Since diversity is more frequently ignored than well managed, culturally diverse teams often perform below expectations and below organisational norms.” N.Adler: International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior, p. 138


22 Synergy “The combined effect of two or more things, processes, etc that exceeds the sum of their individual effects: the synergy achieved by merging two companies“ [Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary]

23 Synergy “The synergy approach assumes that we are not all the same – that the various groups within society differ and that each maintains its cultural distinctness. Appreciating a pluralistic, rather than a homogeneous, society underlies the synergy approach. Whereas the most commonly held assumption is that similarities among people are most important, cultural synergy assumes that similarities and differences share equal importance.” N.Adler: International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior, p. 107  Cultural diversity should be seen and treated as a resource!

24 Synergy David Kearns, chairman of Xerox:
“We have to manage diversity right now and much more so in the future. American business will not be able to survive if we do not have a large, diverse workforce, because those are the demographics.” Deresky, H.:Managing Human Resources Around the World, p. 446 If a company wants to develop new markets and merge with other companies, it has to be able to deal with differences and diversity!

25 Managing cultural diversity
Diversity Management is an instrument which describes all measures that lead to the recognition of differences and which makes sure that those differences are getting highly valued. Those measures should point out that diversity can have a positive impact on the company.

26 Managing cultural diversity
Task-related selection Recognition of differences A vision or superordinate goal Equal power Mutual respect Feedback

27 Managing cultural diversity
Task-related selection To maximise team effectiveness, members should be selected to homogeneous in ability levels and heterogeneous in attitudes

28 Managing cultural diversity
Recognition of differences Teams cannot begin to communicate without first recognising and then understanding and respecting cross-cultural differences

29 Managing cultural diversity
A vision or superordinate goal Members of diverse teams generally have more trouble agreeing on their purpose and task than do members of homogeneous teams

30 Managing cultural diversity
Equal Power Team leaders should distribute power according to each member‘s ability, not according to relative cultural superiority

31 Managing cultural diversity
Mutual Respect Mutual respect can be improved by selecting members of equal ability and by making prior accomplishments and task-related skills known to all members

32 Managing cultural diversity
Feedback Managers should give teams positive feedback - both as individuals and as a team - early in the team‘s life together Positive external feedback (given by a manager who is not in the team) generally helps the team to viewing itself as a team

33 Managing cultural diversity
The MBI Model of Managing Cultural Diversity for Personal and Team Effectiveness Map Under-stand the differ-ences Bridge Commu-nicate across the differ-ences Inte-grate Manage the differ-ences Value and utilise the differ-ences

34 Managing cultural diversity
COF - The Cultural Orientation Framework Map Under-stand the differ-ences 1) Relation to nature 2) Relationships among people 3) Mode of human activity 4) Belief about basic human nature 5) Orientation to time 6) Use of space

35 Managing cultural diversity
3 important skills to effective communication in a cross-cultural setting Bridge Commu-nicate across the differ-ences 1) Prepare 2) Decenter 3) Recenter

36 Managing cultural diversity
3 main integration skills Inte-grate Manage the differ-ences 1) Building participation 2) Resolving conflicts 3) Building on ideas

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