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Getting Cross-Cultural Teamwork Right | HBR Article Policy ThinkShop Review

Cultural diversity and cultural conflict at the workplace are often treated as simple communication problems.  Are we oversimplifying cross cultural communication? Is it more than just being patient and trying to be nice? This HBR article opens an important conversation …. What do you think?

Although I think that articles like this one begin to give us the ideas, examples and interpersonal communicative behaviors necessary for navigating intercultural communication and interaction, I do think we need to acknowledge the role of leadership and power relationships.

For example, when two individuals are having conflict based on communication issues alone, this sort of cross-cultural relationship management works well. However, cross-cultural and international collaborations are difficult for the same reasons that all business collaborations are hard; they are challenging because there are competing agendas, whether these be interpersonal (personal career considerations) or inter organizational (each organization has a particular agenda and value expectations regarding the collaboration).

When we interact as individuals on our “home company” team’s behalf, we are performers on that team and our participation impacts how well we do back home; where, after all, is where we get our bonuses, our reputations, and how we are measured regarding home company people we naturally complete with.

Also, the cultural interaction abroad is greatly colored by power relationships of differing status; for example, when they are either asymmetrical, equal or of longer or shorter duration.

Cross cultural communication is quite complex–often, the challenges of cultural dissonance are relatively minor when we take into account the many variables that drive human behavior, interpersonal communication, and context variables that drive business motivation and goals.

Read the article and see the Policy ThinkShop comments by Paul

http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/09/getting-cross-cultural-teamwork-right/

via Welcome! | LinkedIn.

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