Being exposed to people who are of different backgrounds and cultures, brings about new ideas, solutions to challenging problems, and other positive influences, especially in the workforce.
With that in mind, a vast majority of businesses across the globe are creating multicultural teams to not only bring in fresh ideas, but to have a different perspective in the workforce. There are several aspects that make up a multicultural team as each person brings their own cultural upbringing, behaviors, expectations, and ideas to the group. In this paper, I’ll be discussing and demonstrating the various dynamics of a multicultural team and how those characteristics have affected the evolution of a diverse team. It is important for one to understand what a culturally diverse team is. Society has come to know a multicultural team as one in which its members are made up of individuals who were born and raised in a different country and like so, have learned and acquired different ideas, beliefs, values, perspectives, languages, expectations and behaviors. It can also be said that multicultural teams also include people of different age, sex, religion, and practical knowledge and skills. These aspects combined, are what it means to be a multicultural team. One does not simply work on a multicultural team, but a diverse work environment.
In this inclusive environment, there are a multitude of underlying forces that form a diverse team such as the variety of perspectives, cultural values, decision making, and expectations and acceptable behaviors. When a culturally diverse team is formed, each team member will bring about a different perspective, especially on how the team should go about conducting assignments or how work should be carried out. This arguably, may lead to members clashing on what the right way to accomplish tasks are, however, once all ideas are laid out, the team may find that each person has views that can be used to help the group complete what needs to be done. Different perspectives allow the team to perform the best and brings about higher collaboration between members.Within a diverse team there will be a collection of different cultural values.
Cultural values can undoubtedly yet profoundly affect the team composition. When a group is made up more so of individuals with similar values, generally, the team will have a natural and civilized flow as the expectations between each individual is readily understood. When a team is composed of people with different cultural values, many outcomes can transpire. For example, the team may lack awareness of those specific values or how significance those values are to the individual and thus may choose to ignore them, the different values and beliefs of the members may be supported and clearly shared, however a few select members of the group may be pressured to accept others values, or the differences in values can be recognized by the team as a whole and an acceptance of multicultural values is developed that meet all members’ expectations.
When it comes to decision making, tensions can arise between people of different backgrounds. This happens simply because individuals of differing cultures have contrasting yet distinct approaches to how they go about in making decisions. Additionally, conflicting views on authoritative figures and hierarchy play a role in how individual team members make decisions, as well as who is accountable for making decisions for the team and how they will go about making the best decision for the group.
Some cultures are very inclusive and people are expected to help and have an input when it comes to making decisions, while other cultures prefer that the people have no say or contribution in the decision-making process. Thus, different perspectives on how each team member makes decisions must be taken into account, as well as the skills of each individual, and the task at hand in order for the team to determine the best decisions for the group. Finally, within a multicultural team there will be a variety of differing expectations and behaviors.
The expected expectations and behaviors found within the group will highly depend on where each individual comes from. Some cultures value more formal, respectful behaviors such as the way one greets others, while other cultures have a more informal expectation for behaviors, for example, how certain cultures feel about what it means to show up on time. Some behaviors may be acceptable to the group as whole, while other behaviors that individuals choose to express may be upsetting or unpleasant to some team members therefore, setting up and outlining universally expected and acceptable behaviors will help guide a multicultural team on what to expect and what is appropriate behaviors and responses while working together as a group.
With these dynamics in mind, it is arguably apparent for one to comprehend how each aspect would play a role in and affect the evolution of a team. Multicultural teams evolve in several ways due to the fact that there is a number of elements that are influential in how they mature. It is the differences between others that helps bring a team together. There may be hurdles during the formation and beginning stages of the team, however, learning from these challenges helps to unify the group as one and thus allowing the team to evolve over time. With the dynamics outlined, there are debatably a few stages that multicultural teams experience that allow the team to evolve.
During the beginning, the diversified team members learn about the people on their team and their perspectives. After the establishing stage, the members begin to try out and share new ideas and values, which leads the team to learn from others, how they work, how they make decisions, and their behaviors. As the team progresses, the group begins to unify. As a whole, if differences should arise, the team can easily work it out. During this stage, the team members have become more content and connected with one another. Lastly, the group has come together and achieved their goal.