Process Difficulties in Multicultural Teams
The cultural values espoused by managers from different nations predispose them to prefer particular ways of handling the issues that arise during teamworking. For instance, team members may prefer viewpoints to be expressed directly or indirectly, they may prefer tasks to be assigned collectively or individually, they will have preferences for differing styles of leadership and so forth. This paper is derived from the event management theory of leadership within organisational contexts, first formulated by Smith and Peterson (1988). Leaders (and other team members) are seen as relying upon a variety of sources of guidance in giving meaning to the events occurring within their work environment. Studies based upon this theory have so far included samples of managers from more than 40 nations. Wide variations have been found in the relative degree of reliance on different sources of guidance. These data can be used to predict the types and extent of difficulty that will occur within teams drawn from particular pairs of nations. Illustrations using this perspective are provided from studies conducted within joint ventures and foreign direct investments in China and in Europe.
Key words: multicultural teams, process difficulties, event management
Psychologische Beiträge, Volume 41, 1999, p. 356-367