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Working in a Cross Cultural Team


Diversity is like a universal language – there are no barriers to people. Instead, the language of diversity encourages and values difference(CIPD REPORT, 2005) Diversity encouraged everyone talk, exchange and contribute. Also, diversity mutual respect, obligation to and appreciation of others, irrespective of difference and a focus on contribution and value.

There are two main issues within it

Language barrier (different language speaker): From my personal experience, language barrier problem is always an obstacle of my Cultural Competence.

“no society is made up of people having one culture, one language” (Liu, 2011: 76) -about Berry’s Acculturation Theory .

So the fluency and proficiency of language is important for people in “ethnocultural group”. If those people have bad language skills (internal factor) then there will be serious barrier, which lead to marginalization.

Apart from the barrier from language skills, the attitude can also cause marginalization. Migrants with negative attitudes towards the country of origin will be considered as socially marginalized (Cohen, 2009: 11) . For example, the foreign group always speak their own languages.

Communication styles: Even when speaking the same language there still be differences.

A simple example: The distinction lies in high context and low context (Europe and Asian coun-tries). They have different way of emotion express and body language using (Schneider and Bar-soux, 2002).

According to Popescu et al, 2014: 527, there are four main communication styles. Those are action-oriented communication style, process-oriented communication style, people-oriented communica-tion style and ideas oriented communication style. From my self-reflection, I think my group mem-bers tend to have a process-oriented communication style, but I am closer to action-oriented com-munication style.

How to overcome the challenge

  • Foreign group needs to improve the language skills.
  • Change attitude: keep speaking the “large society” language.
  • “This cross-cultural project team needs to improve the Flexibility for being able to adapt her behavior to new and unknown situations” (Popescu et al, 2014: 531). That is, each members in-cluding mainstream and immigrant need to adapt each other.


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