International Business
A Reflection on Forming Effective Cross Cultural Group

There are natural principals governing effectiveness of group work that consisted of cross cultural team players (Kulik, 1998). By following these guidelines, cross cultural group work can become more successful. In this part, it is argued that there are certain guidelines to be followed by the individuals or the team players in a cross cultural group work, for more effective work and better performance.

Individuals have certain responsibilities and guidelines to follow, so that he can fit better in a cross cultural group. In my cross cultural experiences, I simply found these guidelines as follow to be true, and should be adopted by any individual involving in cross cultural group work. All these are critical to prepare me to better fit in cross cultural team processes.

Guideline #1: Have understandings on cross cultural differences. By having proper understanding on how people from different culture or different upbringings can have different behaviors, attitudes or thinking styles, it is more easy for me to talk to others, while also more tolerant to the other behaviors or wrongdoings (Chang et. al., 2004). As soon as I understand people can be so different, and the fact that they may not even understanding why they behave in certain way; I can blame less on them for their behaviors. Most of the times, I found that people wrongdoings are often non-intentional. In certain way, people simply are governed by their habits, and that habits may hurt other people. Thus, as I can know that it is actually their habits that are causing them to act in a particularly disturbing manner; they actually intend to do nothing harmful. After all, we all cannot deny that we too have certain cultural habits that may not liked by others.

Guideline #2: Think first, speak later. When talking to people from different cultural background, it is very important to think twice, and not to response to fast to certain actions or ideas from other. This is crucial because our initial interpretations may be wrong, and worst, our immediate response to others may invoke anger among people from different culture. However, when we think seriously and slow to react, people can sense take we are taking care to talk with them, and even when we talk wrongly, they are more easy to understand that we have try our best to communicate with them. Besides, by thinking before talking, people will tend to react in the similar way to us. That means, they will also soon to think first before talk back to us. This is crucial for meaningful cross cultural communication.

Guideline #3: Seek to understand, then only to be understood. In cross cultural communication, it is important for me to understand the point of view of other people first (Schneider et. al., 1997). Only by considering the point of views of others, I can more understand what they really means, and how the communication between people from different cultural background can take place. Interestingly, again, when I already understand the point of views of others, they are also more willing to listen to me.

Guideline #4: Be open-minded. It is important to be open-minded and prepare to learn new things from other people from different culture (Iverson, 2000). This is particularly true when someone is on a managerial position, whereby he should listen carefully on the feedback of people under him. He should not apply prejudices or stereotyping the other people from culture background different from him.

Guideline #5: Willing to face critiques or challenges from others. Not a single culture is perfect, or perhaps, it is more accurate to say that certain culture is effective in certain situation, particularly in different business management scenario. Thus, someone must not dogmatically stick to his own culture, and should be more willing to listen to feedback from other people.

Apart from that, there should be several system or best practices in place to cultivate a condition that cross cultural team work can be more effective. This means cross cultural group work effectiveness not only depending on the individuals participated in the group work, but also on the existing policies or practices working in the cross cultural team. These policies or practices or ideas are discussed as follow.

Idea #1: Have a vision. In business management, everybody must know what they are heading, and what can be expected in the future (Lowther, 2006). This is similar to managing a cross cultural team. For example, in the group work, we all understand that at the end of the day, we are to complete the tasks assigned by the tutors. That is very important for us to move forward.

Idea #2: Fairness. When dealing with people from different culture, it is important to respect the rights of each o the team members. Fairness is important, as the majority of the people should not suppress the rights of those minorities from different cultural background.

Idea #3: Put the right people in the right place. People from different culture have different behaviors. That is the strengths of a cross cultural team (Morrison, 2007). In different situation, or in different job design, certain people from certain culture can have more advantages or skills in dealing with that situation. Thus, the very essence of cross cultural management is to understand such a fact, and then to allocate the right person to the right place.

 

References & Bibliography

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Browaeys, M-J. and Price, R. (2008) . Understanding Cross-cultural Management (1st Ed.).Pearson.

Chang, Shanton, & Tharenou, Phyllis. (2004). Competencies needed for managing a multicultural workgroup. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 42(1), 57-74.

Devoe, D. (1999). Managing a diverse workforce. San Mateo, CA: InfoWorld Media Group.

Hofstede, G. (1993). Cultural constraints in management theories. The Executive, 7(1), 81-93.

Iverson, K. (2000). Managing for effective workforce diversity. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 41(2), 31-38.

Krefting, L. A., Kirby, Susan L., & Krzystofiak, F. J. (1997). Managing diversity as a proxy for requisite variety: Risk in identity-conscious inclusion and pressures to conform. Journal of Management Inquiry, 6(4), 376-386.

Kulik, C. T. (1998). Managing diversity in organizations: An exercise based on racial awareness training. Journal of Management Education, 22(2), 193-202.

Lasserre, P. (2003). Global strategic management, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lowther, R. (2006). Embracing and managing diversity at Dell. Strategic H.R. Review, 5(6), 16-19.

Miller, F. A., & Katz, J. H. (2002). The inclusion breakthrough: Unleashing the real power of diversity. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Morrison, J. (2006). The international business environment: Global and local marketplaces in a changing world (2nd ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Saraga, E. (1998).  Embodying the Social: constructions of difference.  London: Routledge

Schneider, S. & Barsoux, Jean-Louis. (2003). Managing across cultures (2nd ed.). Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall.

Schneider, S. C. and Barsoux, J-L. (1997).  Managing Across Cultures (2nd Ed).  Harlow: Pearson.

Sumantra, G. & Bartlett, C., (2002). Managing across borders: The transnational solution (2nd ed.). Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.

Walker, D., Walker, T. and Schmitz, J. (2003).  The Guide to Cross-Cultural Success: Doing Business Internationally.  U.S.A.: McGraw-Hill

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