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Leveling the Playing Fields on Cross-Cultural Teams

Multicultural teams are currently all over the world especially due to the increased globalization and intercultural exchanges. With English being considered as a common language between speakers of different origins, it has become a major challenge for an efficient and collective team work in multicultural teams. Jin gives a perfect example of a cultural victim where they practice things differently and in an extremely different language; he is from China but had to be placed in a team with people from different origins and who happened to be conversant in English unlike him. He ended up feeling left out and alienated, this all because the team lacked awareness of the challenges faced by different team members due to the difference in their cultural norms.

Jin deserved understanding from the fellow team members and the manager since their team comprised of people from different cultural backgrounds. His failure in free vocal participation was not out of ignorance but adhering to his cultural tendencies of giving others room to speak and avoiding contradicting the team leaders. Jin while back in China was a confident and highly participatory team member, but the manager in his new team in the United States found him to be an incompetent team player and non-confident. He was given a negative recommendation which was entirely contrary to his true nature, but this was all due to reasons such as; not making the teams norms explicit where people with cross-cultural adaptation troubles may be identified in a team. There was also a lack of a psychologically safe and an inclusive team environment where for instance Jin would have felt included in the team if the other members had created an environment where he would feel free to express himself.

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