Managing teams across cultures

By: Annette Sinclair and Gemma Robertson-Smith

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Research highlights:

  • A new model which highlights that managers of multi-cultural teams need to be great communicators, efficient at encouraging participation and also extremely self-aware.
  • The importance of cultural sensitivity and emotional intelligence which are vital to effective intercultural management.
  • Multi-cultural teams need to invest in more time to build effective working relationships.

This report is based on in-depth interviews with managers, multi-cultural team members and organisational representatives from 12 global organisations.  It aims to highlight the areas that managers need to concentrate on in order to successfully manage multi-cultural teams.

Part one – explores how managers and organisations are dealing with the key issues and challenges that arise from working across cultures

  • Investing in beginnings and managing expectations
  • Building relationships across cultures
  • Communicating across cultures
  • Encouraging participation in cross-cultural teams
  • Motivating multi-cultural teams
  • Managing performance across cultures
  • Raising cultural awareness and understanding
  • Managing multi-cultural conflict
  • Encouraging ethical standards in cross-cultural teams

Part two – highlights the key areas which make an effective multi-cultural manager

Who is this report for?

The issues raised in this report will be essential reading to a wide range of people working in organisations that embrace a number of national cultures. In particular:

  • For managers – it offers practical examples of what other managers are doing and provides a model to consider what makes an effective manager of cross-cultural teams
  • For HR professionals – it offers insights into the challenges and responses from a manager’s perspective to help HR  professionals provide practical support. The framework for exploring what makes an effective multi-cultural manager highlights criteria for success, which may be useful for selecting and developing managers of multi-cultural teams
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