In This Article
- 1 Cross-Cultural Management or Managing Multicultural Teams
- 2 What is it; A Definition
- 3 Cross-Cultural Management is Not Easy
- 4 The Benefits and Pitfalls of Cross-Cultural Management
- 5 How to Beat the Competition?
- 6 Want to Learn More?
- 7 Get a Taste of How Chris Presents, Watch his TEDx Talk
- 8 Book Chris Smit as a Speaker
Cross-Cultural Management or Managing Multicultural Teams
What is it; A Definition
There are many ways of defining what a multicultural team is. Having checked Wikipedia, I couldn’t find much of a definition. So I’ll come up with my own 😉
I would consider three ways of phrasing the same thing:
- Cross-Cultural Management
- Managing Multicultural Teams
- Global Management
They all border or huddle around the same thing: having people with different cultural backgrounds and upbringing work harmoniously and effectively in one location. What I mean by a multicultural team is a team that works in one location. Of course, within one organization you can have different locations across the globe where people with different cultural backgrounds work. It is there where Global Management comes in.
Cross-Cultural Management is Not Easy
In a survey done some time back (in fact this kind of survey has been done many times over) the same thing comes up time and again: Managing people from different cultures is not easy. Cross-cultural management is hard. A lot harder than people think from the start.
Below is an overview of a management survey done by Price Waterhouse Cooper:
“Challenges US and European senior executives say they face when managing across different countries“
- Changing individual behavior 69 %
- Cultural differences 65 %
- Business practice differences 52 %
- Headquarters too remote 44 %
- Labour law differences 41 %
- Accounting and tax differences 36 %
As you can see managing multicultural teams ranks second. Hopefully not surprisingly.
The Benefits and Pitfalls of Cross-Cultural Management
Let’s start with the negative pitfalls first. In my 20 year experience, most people that have a global management position tend to focus on the so-called “hard variables“: Accounting, rules, regulations, and things like that. The saying goes that “Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast“. In other words, only focusing on systems, tools and rules will in the end not lead to a successful cross-cultural management operation. People will find workarounds to beat the system.
Now let’s look at the benefits. There are plenty of organizations, like Google, Apple (and smaller too) that have mastered the way to work successfully by managing multicultural teams well. What do they get in return for this?
When managed well, diverse teams (compared to homogeneous teams):
- Are more creative
- Generate more and better alternatives
- Generate more and better criteria for evaluation
- Perform better on complex decision-making tasks
How to Beat the Competition?
If you do work for an organization that works internationally and you value global management or you are managing multicultural teams there is really no way around this:
Your team has to become culturally competent
Cross-cultural management involves taking the responsibility as a manager to make sure your people understand not only the others but also themselves. Telling people to simply work together won’t work.
Often perceptions of each other have been shaped and set and when that has happened it is very hard to offset that.
However, if you provide people a framework within which they can place their stereotypes, their perceptions, and their frustrations, you can slowly peel away at the layers of misconception that often have been around teams that don’t really understand each other.
So if you want to beat your competition pay attention to cross-cultural management when you’re managing multicultural teams. Engage in global management and invest in yourself and in your people.
Want to Learn More?
If you want to learn more, below are three links to podcasts that I have recorded earlier that will help you better understand this topic.
Get a Taste of How Chris Presents, Watch his TEDx Talk
Call Direct: +32476524957
European Office (Brussels) Whatsapp: +32476524957
The Americas (USA; Atlanta, GA; también en Español): +1 678 301 8369
Book Chris Smit as a Speaker
If you're looking for an Engaging, Exciting, and Interactive speaker on the subject of Intercultural Management & Awareness you came to the right place.
Chris has spoken at hundreds of events and to thousands of people on the subject of Cultural Diversity & Cultural Competence.
This is What Others Say About Chris:
- “Very Interactive and Engaging”
- “In little time he knew how to get the audience inspired and connected to his story”
- “His ability to make large groups of participants quickly and adequately aware of the huge impact of cultural differences is excellent”
- “Chris is a dedicated and inspirational professional”
In addition, his presentations can cover specific topics cultural topics, or generally on Cultural differences.
Presentations can vary anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours and are given World Wide.
Book Chris now by simply sending an email. Click here to do so.
Read more about what Chris can do for you.
- Percentage of People Rating a Presentation as Excellent 86% 86%
- Rating the Presentation as Practical 89% 89%
- Applicability of Chris' presentation 90% 90%
About Peter van der Lende
Peter has joined forces with Culture Matters.
Because he has years and years of international business development experience joining forces therefore only seemed logical.
Being born and raised in the Netherlands, he has lived in more than 9 countries of which most were in Latin America.
He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) with his family.
You can find out more at https://expand360.com/
Or find out what Peter can do for you here.
- 158 Cultural Differences Between North & South America - 5. October 2021
- 157 Peter van der Lende and Chris Smit Interviewed by Leonardo Marra - 9. September 2021
- How International Business Schools can Benefit from Cultural Competence - 9. August 2021