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SP17 Chico

Page history last edited by Lisa Garel 3 years, 3 months ago





To investigate best practices for international virtual teamwork, our group analyzed Hofstede's cultural Factors Theory, and decided upon the best methods to mitigate theoretical situations in real world applications. Hofstede’s cultural factors provide a consistent, and well-researched framework to base cultural decisions, especially in the context of the workplace. His theory consists of 5 dimensions; Power distance, Individualism vs Collectivism, Masculinity vs Femininity, Uncertainty Avoidance, and Long vs Short Term Orientation. 58 countries were rated on a scale of 1-100 after analytics.


Power distance explores whether people with less power within a project team will expect and accept the delegation of power when it is unequal. The Individualism vs Collectivism dimension focuses on the team member’s feelings towards working together, and if they are more oriented towards group collaboration, or individual work. Masculinity vs Femininity examines how members of different cultures function together, with masculine cultures being inherently more competitive and win-focused, and feminine cultures being more collaborative.  Uncertainty Avoidance evaluates how a culture values predictability. It also focuses on how lower-ranking members either differ to leadership, or are confident in making their own decisions. Last, Long Term vs Short Term Orientation examines a culture’s patience and perseverance while waiting for results or resolutions of a project.


All of these dimensions were used to help guide us in defining best practices for real world applications amongst professional project teams We undertook research of these domains to provide the best methods to utilize this knowledge.These practices can hopefully be applied to future projects to help set the standard and avoid many issues in collaboration with other cultures.




Best Practices


Cultural Dimension: Power Distance 


Subject Area: Team Organization and Collaboration


Short Summary of Best Practice: Management needs to set expectations ahead of time regarding what type of contributions are expected from team members.


Example Application(s): When a manager asks someone to speak up, in the United State this is a sign that the manger values what that person has to say. However, this can be a stressful situation for someone from a high PDI country, because they will be inclined to agree with whatever management says. If management explains in advance what is expected, it can reduce this anxiety, and provide better collaboration.



How Widely Deployed is this Practice?: Should be very common within international groups


Owner / Originator Contact Information: http://www.management-issues.com/opinion/6571/cultural-diversity-and-speaking-up/


Submitter Contact Information: info@culturalq.com


Detailed Description of Best Practice: To reduce communication problems between team members of different countries, specifically coming from countries with low PDI and countries with high PDI, managers need to let everyone know, in advance, what is expected of them. Not only do they need to explain how they expect team members to "speak up", but also what types of contributions are necessary. It is also imperative to offer multiple ways to contribute, along with providing explicit details for when things are due.



Cultural Dimension: Power Distance


Subject Area: Team Organization and Collaboration


Short Summary of Best Practice: Team manager should communicate power distance cultural preferences with team members then set team protocols of communications, leadership and decision making that reflect the team’s cultural diversity.


Example Application(s): When managing a team that has members from the US and India, the team manager should communicate the leadership and decision making style in accordance with the team members' cultural leadership and decision making preferences that will ultimately serve the project deliverables.This way if the team manager is Indian, they will not make a decision on their own without consulting with the management in the US, and same applies for the the American team manager.


How Widely Deployed is this Practice?: Common within international groups.


Owner / Originator Contact Information: http://www.asherman.com/downloads/article-ciite.pdf


Submitter Contact Information: cass@itapintl.com


Detailed Description of Best Practice: In multicultural teams, power distance can affect how people from different cultures will perceive and describe the qualities and characteristics of an effective leader. Learning about the different perceptions of an effective leader and team member will enable the manager to create a specific leadership style that will work with all team members. A manager should then set team protocols of communications, leadership and decision making that reflect the team’s cultural diversity in order to minimize misunderstandings and avoid conflict.A manager should also manage the team in accordance with culture preference that were communicated and made clear early on.





Cultural Dimension: Individualism vs Collectivism


Subject Area: Team Organization and Collaboration


Short Summary of Best Practice: Train employees on how to communicate with management and with each other.


Example Application(s): If an employee who has individualist tendencies is not cooperating with a team that leans more collectivist, there will not only be communication problems, but the collectivistic employees can be alienated by the individualistic employee not working with them.


How Widely Deployed is this Practice?: Should be very common within international groups


Owner / Originator Contact Information: http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/style-individualism-business-2184.html


Submitter Contact Information: newstips@arizonarepublic.com


Detailed Description of Best Practice: Individualism and collectivism can cause communication disparities within companies. Most companies encourage collectivism so employees work together more than they would in an individualistic environment. This can be difficult for employees who lean towards individualism. Management needs to train employees on how to work and communicate with each other, so these disparities don't cause irreparable problems within the organization.      



Cultural Dimension: Individualism vs Collectivism  


Subject Area: Team Leadership


Short Summary of Best Practice: Reward employees for outstanding team work and efforts and encourage collaborative ideation. Recognize and Reiterate positive results of the collectivism amongst the entire group. 


Example Application(s): A team may have great individual ideas but not share them with the group. This leads to delay in devising a course of action and ultimately prolongs the duration. If a brain storming workshop is held before the project begins collaboration will be ensured for the groups ideation.  


How Widely Deployed is this Practice? Should be very common within international groups


Owner / Originator Contact Information: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/teamwork-vs-individualism-25597.html


Submitter Contact Information: 713-362-7211


Detailed Description of Best Practice: Initially, inform the team of the importance of team work for project success. Host frequent brainstorming workshops as part of the meetings to collaboratively figure how each task will get completed. Also, trust exercises should be a segment of the each meeting to promote a feeling of loyalty throughout the group. These strategies will make it easier for a team to be aligned in goals which yields a higher success rate in projects.



Cultural Dimension: Masculinity vs Femininity


Subject Area: Team Management and Leadership  


Short Summary of Best Practice:  Androgynous approach: assign members from masculine and feminine countries to leadership roles equally, to create an inclusive atmosphere, balance the focus of the team, and not allow one approach to dominate the other.  


Example Application(s): When managing a multicultural team composed of members form masculine and feminine cultures, a team manager should assign roles and tasks to both men and women who qualify to do that job and fit in that role in order to create a balance of goal-focused and sustainable results that otherwise would not have been achieved with one (masculine or feminine) approach dominating the team.


How Widely Deployed is this Practice?: Not widely used in multicultural teams 


Owner / Originator Contact Information:



Submitter Contact Information: aqeel.tirmizi@sit.edu, Clair B. Halverson 


Detailed Description of Best Practice: Masculinity vs Femininity (MAS) is the perception of who is expected to be in charge and what their qualities should be based on their gender; masculine (tough), versus feminine (tender/emotional). This approach is based on androgynous leadership, which integrates the effective skills that are associate with both masculine and feminine leadership. When managing a multicultural team, a manager should create an inclusive atmosphere when assigning leadership roles to team members. They should do this by utilizing the different cultural perspectives on gender in the team in order to challenge stereotypes. This will allow for more intercultural understanding and openness among the team members, higher performance, less conflict, and higher quality results.  



Cultural Dimension: Masculinity vs Femininity


Subject Area: Team Leadership


Short Summary of Best Practice: Authenticity: Do not attempt to shift your personality to the masculine or feminine traits of the team member's respective countries. 


Example Application(s): A team manager has member's from both Japan and the United States, which have different cultures. The team leader does not adjust how he leads the team, but does take special considerations when dealing directly with the different team members.


How Widely Deployed is this Practice?: Wide - there is an abundance of research on Masculine vs Feminine traits.


Owner / Originator Contact Information



Submitter Contact Information: David Giber, Samuel M. Lam, Marshall Goldsmith, Justin Bourke


 Detailed Description of Best Practice: Different cultures contain more masculine and feminine traits. As a team leader, there can be a desire to adjust your own leadership style to that of your team member's as a good manager will utilize consensus. However, you can use this knowledge to respect the needs of the various members of your team in regards to their cultures and personalities. A manager not adjusting their leadership style to the various members of their teams also allows for a cultural of consistency within the team, as team members will be able to adapt better to a constant management approach, instead of being concerned with how their manager is going to be. 



Cultural Dimension: Uncertainty Avoidance


Subject Area: Team Organization and Collaboration


Short Summary of Best Practice: Give advanced warning for when and how you would like people to contribute.


Example Application(s): As a manager conducting a meeting, asking someone from a high uncertainty avoidance culture to speak up spontaneously can be very intimidating. If they are given advanced notice of what is expected of them, they can adjust to that accordingly.


How Widely Deployed is this Practice?: Very common with international groups


Owner / Originator Contact Information: http://www.management-issues.com/opinion/6571/cultural-diversity-and-speaking-up/


Submitter Contact Information: info@culturalq.com


Detailed Description of Best Practice: While managing a team of international constituents, it is very important to manage expectations of contribution. In countries with high uncertainty avoidance, this can become a problem when managers require team members to contribute on-the-spot, without any prior notice. If there is a member of a team who comes from one of these countries, managers need to set expectations ahead of time by telling them exactly what type of contribution they want, and by when. This minimizes the anxiety from those team members, because generally, they are accustomed to simply agreeing with what their managers say. Setting expectations ahead of time should allow them to prepare what they truly want to say. 



Cultural Dimension: Uncertainty Avoidance


Subject Area: Team Organization and Collaboration


Short Summary of Best Practice: When managing a cross cultural team that involves member from low and high uncertainty avoidance countries, a manager should have an understating of both cultures and their associated archetypes in order to create a global understanding of expectations and to avoid conflict. 


Example Application(s): A group consists of Japanese and American members. The Japanese members are used to copying their managers on almost all their correspondence, which is viewed as a lack of trust in the American business culture. When managing a multi cultural team, the team manager should communicate that there is no need to include all functional leaders in all correspondences unless their are directly involved in the communication. The should also communicate the difference on how this issue is perceived in both the Japanese and American cultures before setting a communication protocol. 


How Widely Deployed is this Practice?: Very common with international groups


Owner / Originator Contact Information: https://viaconflict.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/high-and-low-uncertainty-avoidance/


Submitter Contact Information: oconnellmichaelryan@gmail.com


Detailed Description of Best Practice: When managing an international, multicultural team it is critical for the manager to understand their own culture and cultural learnings in order to get a sense of what the other side may expect, and know how to resemble that model for the sake of their teams. Second, it is crucial to understand others cultural archetypes in order to establish a baseline for their cultural learnings and adjust the team functionality, accordingly, to create a consensus and mutual respect. Through understanding the culture and the associated prototypes of team members in a cross-cultural, a manager will be able to address and bridge the cultural differences of the various involved stakeholders to ensure smooth communication and avoid conflict over issues such as risk tolerance and procedures. 



Cultural Dimension: Long Term Orientation vs Short Term Orientation


Subject Area: Team collaboration


Short Summary of Best Practice: A team may consist of members that are located from across the world. The facilitator should request a poll of team members concerning their cultural backgrounds and standards , therefore norms can be set early on, accommodating everyone as much as possible. 


Example Application(s): Team members can be stationed in Dubai, Africa, and the United States and have to participate in a project project that consolidates their companies into one organization.They all of are from different cultures that each value things differently than the other. A poll of their policies and standards should be taken along with some background information at the first meeting along with introductions.


How Widely Deployed is this Practice?: Common amongst diverse groups and teams


Owner / Originator Contact Information: http://hopeinterculturalcomm.weebly.com/long-term-orientation.html


Submitter Contact Information: 



P.O.BOX 34689
JEDDAH 21478
TEL : 920003331
FAX : +966-12-6377447


Detailed Description of Best Practice: Organize a meeting specifically for learning each other's professional policies, traditions, and values to collectively be on the same page as far as "success" amongst projects. Create workshops to take polls of this information and use it towards creating ethical and culturally respected policies and normalities within the team. Also, acknowledging cultural professional traditions and arriving at a compromise as a team could increase the feeling of fairness and equality within the team.



Cultural Dimension: Long Term Orientation vs Short Term Orientation


Subject Area: Team collaboration


Short Summary of Best Practice: A team manager should be aware of differences in orientation, and carefully observe the behavior of team members from long and short term oriented cultures.


Example Application(s): A team manager is on a project that is expected to last longer than usual is aware of members of his team who are from short-term oriented cultures. The manager does not assume how these members will react to the duration of the project, but also keeps an eye on how their work relates to the long-haul nature of the project when leading these members.


How Widely Deployed is this Practice?: Not widely deployed, as the best way to handle long term vs short term cultures is still being analyzed.


Owner / Originator Contact Information: http://ulfire.com.au/long-term-orientation-virtual-teams/


Submitter Contact Information: francis.norman@ulfire.com.au


Detailed Description of Best Practice: A team leader should carefully observe the development of relationships and communication patterns across the life cycle of the project and adapt communication styles to reflect these developments. Instead of making assumptions of how team members will react to changes in the project, management needs to watch how the project is being handled, and adjust accordingly.


Cultural Dimension: Indulgence vs Restraint


Subject Area: Team Norms and Professional Standards


Short Summary of Best Practice: When conducting team activities, the goal should be clearly stated. Also roles and responsibilities should be delegated for the project. Once standardization is completed, rewards for milestones can be established and non- traditional approaches can be used, given that the standards are accepted and practiced amongst the team. 


Example Application(s)A team has a strict deadline to reach for an up coming project . Everyone is given strict responsibilities and roles to be accountable for. The urgency of time is constantly reiterated throughout the project life span. If the project is completed "successfully" on time, a social luncheon could be provided to the team members. 


How Widely Deployed is this Practice? Should be very common within international groups


Owner / Originator Contact Information: https://www.communicaid.com/cross-cultural-training/blog/indulgence-vs-restraint-6th-dimension/ 


Submitter Contact Information: info@communicaid.com


Detailed Description of Best Practice: When managing a project, normal behavioral standards should be established in the beginning by collaborating to accommodate the goals and the feelings of the group functions. Once these policies are put in place team members are responsible to exhibit these behaviors. After normalities are put in place, the resistance is active within the group. Small goals or milestones should be set for the project, and when reached, they should be publicly recognized and . Once the ultimate goal has been achieved, gifts, freebies, small social gatherings, etc should be put in place for this time.



Cultural Dimension: Indulgence vs Restraint


Subject Area: Team Leadership


Short Summary of Best Practice: Provide an easy, non threatening way for employees to provide feedback, such as anonmouys feedback collection or policy.


Example Application(s): Creating an anonymous survey that allows team members to provide feedback during a project, or having an open door policy within a team. Something like this would probably work really well in the cell to the left. In here, it would be really awesome if we had something like your above examples.


How Widely Deployed is this Practice? Not widely deployed as this is a newer domain


Owner / Originator Contact Information: https://books.google.com/books?id=RzpGDgAAQBAJ&pg=PA162&lpg=PA162&dq=Indulgence+vs+Restraint+virtual+team+feedback&source=bl&ots=TF2OPFKK5V&sig=p_4TF9UFWk596BTX0lUij0ldipQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQuojc5JjUAhWq6YMKHdAGBXsQ6AEIJDAA#v=onepage&q=Indulgence%20vs%20Restraint%20virtual%20team%20feedback&f=false


Submitter Contact Information: Russ J. Martinelli, James M. Waddell, Tim J. Rahsculte


Detailed Description of Best Practice: Employees from restrictive cultures are more likely to keep any unhappiness within a project to themselves. By providing an easy way to provide feedback, and encouraging them to do so, your team can remain on a level playing field and it may be possible to reduce turnover on a project. Same thing again - just give an example of a specific way to give feedback.





Conducting meetings with internationally-located team members and divergent cultural backgrounds can be a challenging process. Companies, and teams within those companies, sometimes have a difficult time navigating cultural problems that can arise from various upbringings. These issues can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint due to the nature of cultural values and mores being subjective. We would like to propose these practices to help alleviate and diffuse these issues when they arise.


Doing research before assembling a team in the business world can provide a huge amount of insight into how teams can effectively function together. This can also tease out any potential problems that may occur due to serious cultural differences.


Hofstede’s framework provides a solid, research-backed method of examining these cultural differences and applying effective team management techniques to mitigate issues. By conducting research before being part of a multi-cultural team, teammates can set expectations for how conflicts and communications are to be resolved.  Applying Hofstede’s rankings to cultural backgrounds can help management understand not only how team members expect the workplace to be, but also how they validate external factors in the world. This will lead to stronger and more unified teams.




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