Managing Multicultural Teams.
By: Brett, Jeanne, Behfar, Kristin, Kern, Mary C.,
Harvard Business Review,
Nov 2006, Vol. 84, Issue 11
Four categories of issues that cause difficulties in Managing Multicultural Teams.
direct versus indirect communication;
trouble with accents and fluency;
differing attitudes toward hierarchy and authority; and
conflicting norms for decision making.
The most successful teams and managers we interviewed used four strategies for dealing with these challenges:
adaptation (acknowledging cultural gaps openly and working around them),
structural intervention (changing the shape of the team),
managerial intervention (setting norms early or bringing in a higher-level manager), and
exit (removing a team member when other options have failed).
Jeanne Brett is the DeWitt W. Buchanan, Jr. , Distinguished Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations and the director of the Dispute Resolution Research Center at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois.
Kristin Behfar is an assistant professor at the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California at Irvine.
Mary C. Kern is an assistant professor at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College in New York.