Multicultural Teams & Groups
Class Discussion
• Discuss experiences in lego block
exercise in terms of Cultural Intelligence
– Meta cognitive
– Cognitive
– Motivational
– Behavioral
Working in Multi cultural Teams
• Meta cognitive CQ
– Develop learning strategies to learn what the
cultural differences in team members’ mental
models of a group, a leader, etc.
• Cognitive CQ
– Learn the content of these differences
Working in multicultural teams
• Motivational CQ
– Persist in trying to determine what these are
differences based on observation and
experience with team members
• Behavioral CQ
– Behave in ways appropriate to culture of group
Content of differences in multi
cultural teams
Points of differences in
Multicultural Teams
• Mental model of a team
• Rules of interaction
• Rules of allocation
Thomas, Earley
Mental models of a team
• Specific objectives vs. broad scope
• Voluntary membership vs involuntary
• Emphasis on Group goals vs. individual
– Social loafing
Rules of interaction
• Confrontational vs. face saving
• Hierarchical vs. egalitarian
– Information sharing (Janssen & Brett)
– Access to resources
• Relationship vs. task oriented
• Decision making
– Collaboratively vs. individually
• Interacts with task?
Allocation rules
• Based on seniority vs. experience
• Rules for allocating resources or
– Need, equity, equality
– Rewards depend on organizational norms
Group Composition
• Group Level outcomes
– Advantages and disadvantages of
increased cultural diversity in the group
– Sub-group formation in moderately diverse
• Individual Judgments
– Mental model of cultural diversity
Mental Model of Cultural Diversity
• Perception of self as a member of a culturally
homogeneous vs. heterogeneous team
Appropriateness of behavior
Perceived status
Perceived Cohesiveness and satisfaction
Identification of self with task vs. cultural group 
willingness to participate
• Perceived level of conflict,
• idea sharing
• Cost of effort to interact (e.g., benefits of learning
language etc)
Culture & Group Task
• Production vs. decision making groups
– Tool use
– Emergency
• Temporary, project-focused task forces
need good inter-member relations
because of intensity and duration of
member interactions
Interaction medium for
Multicultural groups
Fewer language difficulties
F-t-F is preferred for complex,
subtle, ambiguous messages
Social information difficulties are
Work Group identity is less
•Group formation is slow due to
asynchronous communication
•Cohesion is less due to lack of
physical contact
Technology imposes structure
Time to complete task is more
Structuring Multi cultural
Objectives while working in
multicultural teams
• Need to develop a shared/hybrid multi
cultural team identity based on
commonalities beyond common rules of
interaction and allocation
• Formal coordination mechanisms
• Participation norms
Earley, Thomas
Management Support
• Resource Support
– Member resources in terms of cultural skills
• Design of work
– Around groups vs. around individuals
• Norms of culture for diversity
Management Support
• Norms for rewards
– Equity, equality, need
– Group vs. individual rewards
• Evaluation criteria
– Encourage exploring vs. exploiting
Status of multi cultural group
• Cultural differences in the Degree to
which membership in high status group
is important for members
• Work Group status affects individual
and group performance
Status differences within
group members
• information access
• Resource access
Janssen & Brett
Training Support
• For being effective group members
• Using electronic tools for interaction
• Cross cultural training
Empowerment vs. self management
• Degree to which authority is delegated to
the group can have positive and negative
– Setting direction for group to empower vs
dictating work processes and procedures
• Feeling of empowerment > degree of self
– Empowerment = team beliefs in efficacy, task
importance, task significance, autonomy
– Self management=autonomy

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