Managing international teams: How to address the challenges and realize the benefits of national diversity in a team

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Marketa Rickley, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: -International teams are increasingly common in all levels of organizational hierarchy.-Companies led by diverse teams are more profitable, but not all circumstances call for usingan international team. -National and cultural differences among team members activate differences in ways of thinking and in social categorization, allowing the team to leverage non-redundant information. -However, cognitive and identity-based differences can hinder effective communication andfuel conflict, limiting process efficiency.?-International teams outperform homogeneous teams when: -The task is cognitive, complex, and indecomposable – as opposed to manual and routine. -The task requires innovativeness and creativity – as opposed to speed and efficiency. -The task involves problem analysis – as opposed to solution implementation. -To realize the benefits of national and cultural diversity in a team: -Choose team members whose knowledge, skills, and abilities align with the problem. -Be mindful of team proportions to avoid the formation of subgroups, status differentials, power dynamics, and tokenism. -Assign a team leader with a global identity. -Allow the team to practice solving simpler problems together before tackling more complex problems.If you were to look at the top management team of the world’s largest steel company, ArcelorMittal, you would find that its seven members come from five different countries(ArcelorMittal, 2020). This may seem unique, but international teams are increasingly common. In fact, among firms belonging to the Fortune Global 500, 13% of CEOs and 15% of top management team members are foreigners (Ghemawat & Vantrappen, 2015). This trend is also apparent among middle managers and project teams across a variety of industries.In Germany, the advertising team at Ogilvy & Mather’s Berlin office has members of 14different nationalities working on its marketing campaigns. At General Electric Aviation in the Czech Republic – which happens to be GE’s only foreign location that designs, manufactures, sells, and services GE aircraft engines outside the United States – you would find 18 different nationalities among its 650 personnel. Overall, according to a recent study, 74% of respondents have worked with colleagues from other countries to improve business processes (EIU, 2009).

Additional Information

The X-Culture Handbook of Collaboration and Problem Solving in Global Virtual Teams
Language: English
Date: 2022
International teams, National diversity, team efficiency, teamwork, workplace diversity

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