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Culture Issues In The Context Of Multicultural Teams

4302 words - 18 pages

Essay
Culture Issue in the Context of Multicultural Team

1. Introduction

“Despite popular beliefs to the contrary,
the single greatest barrier to business
success is the one erected by culture”
E.T. Hall and M.R. Hall

1.1 Reason for chosen topic
1.1.1 Personal interest
Being born in Russia and having lived there more than half of my life, I could not even image that so many cultural differences exist. Later, I had the chance to experience cultural differences by living for 4 years in Austria ...view middle of the document...

This development has led to a significant effect for teams and their operations. These days, the teams of the globalized era, in addition to being entitled to manage traditional team tasks and their diversities involved thereof resulting for example from different demographic and functional background, they are nowadays also confronted with the management of the additional tasks of cultural diversity or multiculturalism in teams. According to Appelbaum (1998) multicultural task groups will become more common. This, as a direct result of the growing globalization and the emergence of new technology. The increased awareness of culture and its values will position such task force members throughout the organization to better understand each other. Growing knowledge of the various cultural backgrounds is building a better understanding among team members, which is very crucial for an organization and its success.

1.2 Problem Discussion
One of the main problems with the different methods to define a culture is the universalistic view they take. Universalistic approaches to the culture are Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions, Hall’s Culture Model, Culture Dimensions of Trompenaar, the Culture Model of Shalom H. Schwartz, the nine Dimensions of Globe Study, etc. In this essay, I will discuss Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions and its limitations. Hoftede’s Cultural Dimensions are very often mentioned in the scientific papers (Tian, 2004; Johan 2006; Luger, 2002; Johnston 2008 etc.) and used in the textbooks (e.g. Daft, 2008). Thus, this culture model has a high relevance in the science. Hofstede’s dimensions are very structured, comprehensible and plausible. But internationalization and globalization processes have shown that this perception is to be false or oversimplifying, where the coexistence of locality, group and culture is given. Moreover, according to Bolten(2001) and Hansen(2000) the usage of cultural dimensions models has been accused of improper simplification and stereotyping. This accusation can be understood if one considers that based of his Cultural Dimensions Model, every national culture was positioned on a specific scale for every of the five main cultural dimensions of the model and thus assigned a specific rating. Although when at the time a rating was assigned to a national culture, it was certainly done with the utmost possible care and accuracy, the question remains if it is really appropriate to maintain such ratings over decades whereas cultures may have undergone partly even dramatic political, social or cultural changes in the meantime, i.e. Russia after the breakdown of the communist system. The issue of the cultural dimensions and its challenges will be elaborated in the second part of this paper.

2. Culture
2.1 Definition
Every nation has its own, very specific culture, which consists of e.g. a shared set of beliefs, values and practices. As a direct result of the globalization, a new work force from...

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