Theme 2- The challenge of managing diverse teams !!

“Strength lies in differences, not similarities”- Stephen R.Covey

Cultural diversity (also called as diverse group or multiculturalism) is a group of diversified individuals from distinctive cultures or societies (Lombardo 2016).

It is the duty of a leader to organize and coordinate his distinctive group in the right track to achieve the defined objectives (Mullins 2013: 26-32). The main focus of this blog is to identify the benefits, demerits and fundamental requirements of working with people from diverse cultures.

 

Figure 1: The actual need for diverse teams

(Source: Emens and Emens 2012)

 

What could be the benefits of working in a diverse team?

The competitiveness and achievement of an organization depends on its capability to grasp diversity and recognize their benefits (Greenberg 2004). It also includes the following:

  • Employees from varied culture bring individual skills and experiences in suggesting concepts sufficient to meet customer and market demands. Also, there would be a collection of numerous viewpoints from employees and a higher supply of solutions for problems arising within and external to the organization and thereby effective decision making (Phillips 2014).

However, there could even be objections faced by diverse teams. It includes,

  • An upsurge in conflicts. Clashes occur when two or more individuals or teams do not see eye to eye on a precise situation. Lack of recognition and ignorance could also be a cause for conflicts (Henry & Evans 2007).
  • People from diverse cultures lack proper communication skills. Indecisive communication leads to confusion, reduction of morale and team work (AVERWEG and ADDISON 2015). Dr. Beeka had conducted a group activity challenge on week 2 Leadership class named “Can you tie a tie?” It was a straightforward challenge in which one person had to communicate to the other how to tie a tie. The person who spoke used sentences like ‘put this one inside that one and take that from this one then circle it’ and so on. It was a total chaos. Neither did the person who was assigned to tie the tie nor did we understand it. Though it was a simple exercise, everyone realized the importance and turmoil of communication.

As the topic deals with managing divergent teams, let’s analyze Hofstede’s model of cultural dimensions.

Professor Green Hofstede (by the term of 1970’s) organized one of the greatest analysis of how principles in an organization are affected by culture (Geert-hofstede 2016). The figure below gives a detailed explanation about the theory.

McSweeney’s critique (2002) denies Hofstede’s model and discovers organizational culture unreasonable as a consistently spontaneous factor of employee behavior; its logical inconsistency, premises and paradigm (Williamson 2002). Similarly, results propose that cultural diversity points to process failure through work conflicts and diminished social integration (Stahl et al. 2009).

 

Figure 2: Hofstede’s Cultural dimensions

(Source: Usdkexpats 2011)

 

In order to get a sharpened idea, let’s examine Hofstede’s cultural dimension model applied to Google Company, India.

 

Figure 3: Cultural dimensions of India

There is an infinitesimal dissemination of Power distance between the leader and subordinates of the institution. This could be either due to the staff member’s job profile or involvement within the organization (Abadal and Codina 2008).

(Source: Geert-hofstede 2016)

The organization emboldens and triggers collectivism, team work and is anxious about its employee’s well-being, thereby, provides every freedom to grasp finest practices through teams and team events which illustrates individualism (Head 2006).

It can be approximately stated that the company boosts masculine value system because of the prosperity it furnishes for their employees. Benefits include annual bonus, transportation, health and medical coverage, outings, entertainments et cetera (Head 2006).

Google has an alertness that business status varies promptly. Hence, there is no procrastination to take steep risk which illustrates the Company’s uncertainty index (Abadal and Codina 2008).

Google has a long term orientation perception with respect to serving the forthcoming of employees by overseeing their pleasantness with current job and considers that business verdicts will be made with long term benefit for the company and their shareholders (Clearlycultural 2016).

I intent to work as a Finance adviser and working in a diverse team is crucial as it helps gather accurate financial and non-financial data, establish and resolve diversity approach, policies and proceedings together. A case study on KPMG (UK), a professional services institution that pursues in audit, tax and advisory services, has a devoted diversity and admittance team (Accaglobal 2014). KPMG guides its employees by contributing connection to networks, expansion opportunities and emphasizes the importance of hard and soft measures as the company is aware of the benefits diverse groups bring like; information diversity, perception, adaptability and rational thinking (Jada, Jena and Pattnaik 2014).

Overall, it’s hard to find organizations in this era that exists without workforce distinctiveness and it provides an added advantage in terms of creativity and better efficiency. Managers must initially figure out the organizational culture and then implement diversification policies (McKinsey & Company 2015). However, there could be challenges like discomfort, rougher interactions and lack of trust if the leader fails to communicate to his employees in an open and lucid manner about the organizational goals and requirements (Phillips 2014). Furthermore, diversity training’s should be conducted to eliminate cultural conflicts and thereby engage them to work in teams to secure high achievements and a regular two-way feedback session helps in knowing one’s present performance and hence encourage further improvement (Tsai, Lin and Su 2011).

 

[803 words]

 

 

References

 Accaglobal (2014). Diversity management. [online] Available at: http://www.accaglobal.com/content/dam/acca/global/PDF-technical/human-capital/pol-tp-tbcfdm-diversity-management.pdf > [Accessed on 25th February, 2016].

AVERWEG, U. and ADDISON, T. (2015). Managing challenges of multicultural Information Systems project teams in South Africa. African Journal of Information Systems, [online] 7(4), pp.17-20. Available at: http://web.a.ebscohost.com/bsi/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=01814e68-2376-4252-af23-1d3807b00344%40sessionmgr4003&vid=24&hid=4107 [Accessed 25th Feb. 2016].

Beverly Head, Smh.com.au, (2006). Google in need of the feminine touch – Technology – smh.com.au. [online] Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/04/17/1145126035129.html [Accessed 25 Feb. 2016].

Clearlycultural, (2016). Long-Term Orientation | Clearly Cultural. [online] Available at: http://www.clearlycultural.com/geert-hofstede-cultural-dimensions/long-term-orientation/ %5BAccessed 25 Feb. 2016].

Emens, R. and Emens, R. (2012). Lost In Translation – Working With Global Teams. [online] UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley. Available at: http://svprojectmanagement.com/lost-in-translation-working-with-global-teams [Accessed 25 Mar. 2016].

Geert-hofstede, (2016). India – Geert Hofstede. [online] Available at: http://geert-hofstede.com/india.html %5BAccessed 25 Feb. 2016].

Jada, U., Jena, L. and Pattnaik, R. (2014). Emotional Intelligence, Diversity, and Organizational Performance: Linkages and Theoretical Approaches for an Emerging Field. Jindal Journal of Business Research [Accessed 25 February 2016].

Jennifer Lombardo- Study (2016). Cultural Diversity in the Workplace: Definition, Trends & Examples – Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com. [online] Available at: http://study.com/academy/lesson/cultural-diversity-in-the-workplace-definition-trends-examples.html [Accessed 25 February 2016].

Josh Greenberg, Multiculturaladvantage, (2004). Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges and Solutions. [online] Available at: http://www.multiculturaladvantage.com/recruit/diversity/diversity-in-the-workplace-benefits-challenges-solutions.asp [Accessed 25 Feb. 2016].

McKinsey & Company, (2015). Why diversity matters. [online] Available at: http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters [Accessed 25 Feb. 2016].

Mullins, L. (2013). Management and Organisational Behaviour. 10th ed. FT Publishing International, p.26-32. [Accessed 25 Feb. 2016].

Ongori Henry and Agolla J.Evans ,Academicjournals (2007). [online] Available at: http://www.academicjournals.org/journal/AJBM/article-full-text-pdf/2D1C0DE16759, pp. 072-076 [Accessed 25 Feb. 2016].

Phillips, K. (2014). How Diversity Works. Sci Am, [online]  Available at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-diversity-makes-us-smarter/, 311(4), pp.42-47 [Accessed 24th Feb, 2016].

Stahl, G., Maznevski, M., Voigt, A. and Jonsen, K. (2009). Unraveling the effects of cultural diversity in teams: A meta-analysis of research on multicultural work groups. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(4), pp.690-709 [Accessed 25 Feb. 2016].

Tsai, M., Lin, Y. and Su, Y. (2011). A GROUNDED THEORY STUDY ON THE BUSINESS MODEL STRUCTURE OF GOOGLE. International Journal of Electronic Business Management, [online] 9(3), pp.231-235. Available at: http://web.a.ebscohost.com/bsi/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=01814e68-2376-4252-af23-1d3807b00344%40sessionmgr4003&vid=34&hid=4107 [Accessed 23 Feb. 2016].

Usdkexpats, (2011). Hofstedes Cultural Dimensions. [online] Available at: http://usdkexpats.org/theory/hofstedes-cultural-dimensions [Accessed 24th Feb. 2016].

Williamson, D. (2002). Forward from a Critique of Hofstede’s Model of National Culture. Human Relations, 55(11), pp.1373-1395 [Accessed 25 Feb. 2016].

 

 

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Theme 2- The challenge of managing diverse teams !!

  1. A very good article indeed. This article helped me to change my concept about managing a diverse team. sometimes we tend to think about living in a small group and working in a small group, but only when you work with a diverse group of people ,you can develop and improve. I respect the author for the way she has presented this article. I also liked the example of tie to tie. kudos to the author for this wonderfully written article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Flourry,

      Thank you for those words and appreciation. I too had the feeling that working in a small group is much easier. But, now I realize the significance of working in a culturally diverse group.

      Like

  2. Hi Roshny,
    I am quite influenced by your blog. It is certainly an important and accelarated topic.
    I believe teams are a critical asset used to improve performance in all kinds of organization’s. Yet today’s business leaders consistently overlook opportunities to exploit their potential, confusing with teamwork, empowerment or participative management. We simply cannot meet 21st century challenges, from business transformation to innovation to global competition, without understanding and leveraging the power and wisdom of teams.
    I liked your recommendations and the Hofstede model applied to Google company. Specially, your writing was crisp and clear with examples which makes a more lucid understanding. But, I personally think that you could have avoided the use of long sentences and could have made them short. Hoping to see your further posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ms. Shyma Joseph. I am indeed happy to receive your valuable feedback for my blog and will try maintaining clarity and a good standard throughout my upcoming blogs.

      Like

  3. Hi,
    Workplace teams today are more diverse than ever before. The challenge of leading groups of people from different backgrounds, with wide ranging aspirations and experience, of different gender and ages shouldn’t be underestimated. I feel the recommendations like regular feedback sessions are effective. I am happy to hear and learn about new new frameworks through your blog and the example of Google has made it more clear and rigid.. Maybe a small suggestion that you could have explained Hofstede’s model before just starting your application to the company. Thanks a lot for this blog Roshny.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sudhi,
      I’m happy to hear from you that the example of Google company on the framework has drawn a clear picture on Hofstede model for you. I would certainly recommend everyone working in groups to conduct a regular feedback session which helps reducing barriers and I myself have felt them very effective in our Leadership class.

      Like

  4. Hi Roshny,
    I feel your blog has a great managerial thought!
    Diversity management is the key to growth in today’s fiercely competitive global marketplace. Diversity can no longer just be about making the numbers, but rather how an organization treats its people authentically down to the roots of its business model. In today’s new workplace, diversity management is a time sensitive business imperative. I enjoyed going through your blog and I staunchly agree with you that working in diverse teams increase information diversity, ideas and opinions. Similarly, the drawbacks you mentioned are also true.
    The selection of figures are apt and you have explained things well which give readers a better idea on the concept. However, a brief description of the framework and its literature review could have given the blog a further professional touch according to my point of view.
    Hope you would be uploading more exciting blogs soon. Waiting for them.
    All the best for your work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mr. Joseph Chacko,

      I’m glad on hearing from you that my blog was well explained. Even I concede to the fact that diversity is not all about numbers but its all about exploring the felling of working together, brainstorm ideas, information diversity and so on. I would definitely take your suggestion positively and try my maximum to improve my blog accordingly.

      Hope you felt my blog useful and thank you for your support. I assure to upload by next blog as soon as possible.

      Like

  5. Roshny,

    Your blog is actually very interesting…. An excellent piece of work.
    I get along with your view that one of the major challenges for teams composed of odd speakers of different languages is the building of trust and relationships which are language dependent. Based on published research and illustrative empirical data, findings indicate that language diversity has a significant impact on socialization process and team building. I think your recommendations are crucial for this aspect and the example of tie a tie was meaningful. I too have a small suggestion that you could have explained the framework in short at its start which might have been more easier and understandable
    Thank you for such a meaningful blog and I’m eagerly awaiting your new blog posts.
    Best of luck,
    John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mr. John Chacko,

      Thank you for such refreshing feedback. I’m also happy to hear from you that the recommendations suggested by me were felt as crucial for you. I included the example of tie a tie based on a real activity that had taken place in my Leadership class so that people can grasp the concept more easily. I assure to upload my blogs in the upcoming days.

      Like

  6. Hi Roshny ,
    The blog is great !! It brings to light about how important communication is, brought about by a diverse group of individuals .
    It allows individuals to appreciate their colleagues’ difference of opinion and embrace these view points to achieve the desired goal!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sabrina ,
      Thank you for such encouraging words. I agree that working in distinct groups help to know yourself and your colleagues better which makes it much easier to achieve your target.

      Like

  7. Good!!!
    Diversity encompasses of race, gender, ethnic group, age, personality, cognitive style, tenure, organizational function, education, background and more… you have covered it all efficiently and have used pictures and explanations in a way that anyone can interpret the concept as your description is simple and valuable. I appreciate your usage of framework on Google Company which thus made the concept more clear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mr. Mathew Lonth,

      It indeed is a pleasure on hearing such motivating words from you. I also thank you for spending some of your precious time by going through my blog. I would have loved to explain Hofstede’s model on Google Company in a bit more depth, but, my word count restricted me.

      Like

  8. Hi Roshny

    Working with people from very different backgrounds can be stimulating and educational. when you are the manager of a diverse staff, the essential tools are keeping an open mind, being alert to any discomfort among employees and developing sensitivity to cultural variations.
    I whole-heartedly enjoyed reading your blog and agree that communication could be a barrier faced by people belonging to different diverse groups. Your example on “tie a tie” was impressive. Maybe by including some more examples like the tie-a-tie, the work could have been more accelerating.
    Thank you for such meaningful blog and hoping to see more blogs from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Magi Jose,

      I am even quite impressed by your view on the requirements of being an effective manager or leader. Thank you for such invaluable comment on my blog. Hope the concept was clear for you and you felt them meaningful. I guarantee you that my third blog would be uploaded soon.
      Thank you once again for your support.

      Like

  9. Hey Roshny..

    I have read your first blog and feel that you have shown greater improvement in your second blog compared to the previous one.
    I agree that successful complex project managers appreciate the power of teams. Success stories about Motorola surpassed the Japanese in the battle to dominate the cell phone market by using teams as a competitive advantage.
    I support to your point that we must learn how to form, develop and sustain high-performing teams if we were to deliver on complex projects. Teams are powerful. …
    I also liked the way you expressed your job ambition and the requirement of diverse team in it. I got to know more about frameworks that can be suited for each topic. But, for a reader like me who hasn’t even heard about the framework, you could have explained at least in few sentences describing the theory. But, a well done piece of work…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mr. Abin,

      Thank you so much for such encouraging and motivating words. This creates an optimistic feeling and confidence in me to work hard and keep up the work for my next blogs. I believe a culturally diverse team can perform wonders even though there could be minor drawbacks as my experience have taught me. I’m happy to hear that the framework was understandable and not in a complicated way.

      Like

  10. A well prepared article. Many have faced the difficulty in managing a team from diverse backgrounds. You have pointed out the benefits and various advantages of having a diversified team. The examples were understandable. Looking forward to more of your works

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Angela,

      Thank you. I do agree that there are people who have suffered from working in teams with diverse backgrounds. I am one among them. But, at present I recognize that the benefits in working in teams outweigh the disadvantages. I would hopefully be uploading my next blog as soon as possible.

      Like

  11. Hi Roshny, your blog is really informative and broadens my knowledge on diversity and accepting different culture.Even though there are benefits and shortcoming there seems to be more pros than cons so this truly shows diversity is needed in every work field. I also felt that you could have just introduced you framework before citing an example but I can understand the issue of word count and I’m happy that you have included a table which states all the terms clearly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Christina ,
      Thank you for the comment and understanding the key concept which I initially intended to bring out through this blog. Like two sides of a coin, there would always be pros and cons. But, working in a diverse team outweighs pros than their cons.

      Like

  12. Really like to read a article such like yours, which is informative and interesting. I have read the Hofstede dimensions and regard to your cultural dimensions in your home culture, India. Well, it is very similar with China, that the power distance is really strong, the authority in China is really powerful in numerous industries. And also, the restraint apparently indicates, the Chinese people fear to show them self and they want to maintain the stability and afraid to be indulgent. It may due to the stress from work and life. The cultural differences could not to change or avoid, but we could minimize, if we remember to consider things in his/her points of view.
    Anyway, a nice work. Hope you get improved in further blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ivychenxx. Its interesting to know that China also follows almost the same cultural dimension. I would surely try to eliminate by negatives in the upcoming blogs.

      Like

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