and Pitfalls of German/U.S.-American Cooperation in Workgroups
A three year research project aimed at identifying patterns and favorable conditions of synergetic cooperation in international teams was conducted at Regensburg University from 1995 to 1998, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. The concept of "synergetic cooperation" was loosely defined as mutual compensation and enhancement of cultural characteristics and working "styles" leading to high quality performance as well as high work satisfaction of team members.
An exploratory survey of experts' experiences with pluricultural teams yielded four distinctive categories of cooperation (dominance, coaction, integration, and innovation) which differ with regard to underlying strategies of intercultural action regulation. Acknowledging the scarcity of "truly" synergetic forms of intercultural cooperation, a process model is proposed which delineates four stages of team development with varying degrees of cultural diversification and interaction contingency. The model suggests essential conditions of transition from one stage to the next and points out potentials and pitfalls of team cooperation on each stage.
Qualitative observations and results of quantitative interaction analyses of German/U.S.-American problem solving groups are presented, which point to favorable conditions for bicultural team cooperation. In conclusion, recommendations for intercultural team building and facilitation are given.
Key words: interaction analysis, intercultural cooperation, international team, team work, team building, problem solving group
Psychologische Beiträge, Volume 41, 1999, p. 385-402