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Managing Global Teams

by on January 20, 2010

As the waves of globalization sweep across the world, organizations have had the opportunity to dramatically extend their business across the world by establishing global teams. Global team has been regarded as one of the company crucial assets and an innovative strategy to survive in today’s competitive world, because it allows the most experienced and talented professionals to work collaboratively and deliver outstanding results for the organization.

However, there are still many challenges exist in managing global teams, such as incompatible communication styles, violation of authority, and unclearly defined expectations. They may damage the team harmony and even ruin the project. In this case, how to overcome these challenges and how to motivate people with different cultural backgrounds and experiences to work together effectively has become one of the most difficult management problems for this generation of global project managers. This paper researches this issue by examining the unique characteristics and crucial challenges faced by global teams. Moreover, it discusses the strategies to overcome the challenges, using the support of industry examples from Korean-U.S. negotiation, U.S.-Japanese cooperation, the global manager at Sun Microsystems, the CIO for DHL Express Asia-Pacific and a case study in Harvard Business Review.

Strategies explicitly discussed in this paper include: fostering face-to-face communication, understanding the communication norms of one culture, and learning multicultural work skills through training. Beyond those strategies, global team managers should be aware that there is no one right way or single strategy to deal with all the problems in global teams, because every team is unique and structured in different way. They need to flexibly adopt appropriate measure to solve team conflicts as the project goes through different stages.

-Jessie Qian Wang

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From → Coursework

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