Discuss the Challenges of Managing a Multicultural Team

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Discuss the challenges of managing global/ multicultural teams in organisations.

In order to answer this question I first intend to discuss a number of cultural differences that can cause problems for managers of global and multicultural teams. I will then go on to explain one of Hofstede's models, known as the five dimensions of cultural differences which takes into consideration the underlying factors that can also create problems in multicultural teams. Lastly I will discuss different ways in which it is possible to develop managers so that they are more prepared for these difficulties and can therefore reduce them.

It is becoming increasingly recognised that managers must be far more understanding of the aspects of many different cultures if they are to run a successful multinational team. To quote Hofstede, "There is something in all countries called management, but its meaning differs to a larger or smaller extent from one country to the other, and it takes considerable historical and cultural insight into local conditions to understand its processes, philosophies and problems" (1993).Without this understanding, managers are likely to have to deal with unnecessary amounts of conflict, which in most cases would increase the time it takes to complete tasks.

Working in a global team means that managers are often faced with the issue of time differences as well as attitudes to time. Time zones pose a great problem to global teams as, for example, when workers in a place such a New York are finishing up for the day, their team members in China are only just getting started. This leaves a very small gap in which managers are able to communicate with their counterparts and can lead to lengthy delays. As a result, time differences mean that in most cases people have to work extended hours in order to get things done on time, however this can come at a high price. A report from Circadian Technologies Inc found that "U.S businesses lose $206 billion each...
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