A Cultural Perspective
Chapter 8: Cultural variations in group processes and work teams
Work groups are vital to organizations—whether they function in the monocultural or multicultural context. Various types of groups are created for accomplishing different goals and objectives of the organization and at different levels. They are called task groups, teams, and special purpose groups. Groups are necessary because contributions from individual members are more than the sum total of each individual contributing toward the group goal in his or her unique way. When people work together to perform a task and accomplish an important organizational objective, cultural differences between them become more salient. The reality of managing work teams (especially virtual teams) that are composed of culturally dissimilar members who are located in geographically distant locales (i.e., subsidiaries of large global corporations like General Motors, Toyota, Microsoft, General Electric, and Siemens) poses significant challenges. As we have noted in earlier chapters, globalization makes geographic boundaries unimportant in international business transactions, and managers increasingly find themselves managing virtual work groups and multicultural teams that function with minimal to no face-to-face interactions. In this chapter we take a closer look at the cultural issues involved in the functioning of work groups and teams in the context of multinational and global organizations of the 21st century.
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