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Working in a Cross Cultural Team

Flexibility

One of the major challenges of working in a cross cultural team is that some people aren’t flexible at all. It means that they aren’t willing to accept that people may work differently from them and it means that people won’t be as willing to change their style of working to benefit the rest of the team. This can be caused due to a wide variety of reasons, including the way that they were bought up through friends and family, previous bad experiences of working with a specific race or group of people or believing that, because you’ve done it that way all of your life, that it’s the best and only way of doing things. Another of the reasons as to why flexibility can be a big problem is because people sometimes aren’t willing to change their speed and efficiency to the other people in the group.

This isn’t an easy challenge to tackle as a manager as normally, when people are inflexible, they don’t plan on changing or experiencing a different way of working or a different culture. You could force someone to work with people of a different culture, but then this could cause people to believe even more that their culture and way of working is better for working with. Alternatively, you could get them to work in a team where the majority of people are from a different culture. This, however, could be equally as bad because, if someone isn’t willing to adapt and thinks that the cross cultural team should be working their way, then they will try to convince the team that they should be doing it their way, which, once again, shows just how inflexible can be.

This leads to some people believing that single culture teams work better together than cross cultural teams. Some tasks will also be avoided by some people in cross cultural teams if they aren’t used to it and don’t want to do it.

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