Multicultural project teams and their management
Prabhakar, G. P. and Duda, D. (2009) Multicultural project teams and their management. Journal of Social Management, 7 (2). pp. 95-112.
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Organisations are becoming more and more diverse due to the increasing globalisation of business operations. Multicultural project teams can potentially assist in better decision making and bring in greater creativity and innovation. Additionally, the possibility for an organisation to learn through multinational project teams is perceived as the main attributor of the more international viewpoint. However, multiple cultural backgrounds of project team members can also create conflicts, communication breakdowns and increase stress levels. It is therefore necessary to fully appreciate multicultural project teams, together with their advantages and drawbacks and understand their management. This paper explores the literature available on managing multicultural project teams. Three main challenges facing multicultural project teams are presented: cultural diversity, communication and trust. Furthermore, managerial approaches to deal with those challenges are discussed. Four leadership styles are found and investigated for leading such teams, namely: Ethnocentrism, Synergy, Polycentrism and Switch Leadership. Lastly, methodological limitations are pointed out and further research directions are suggested.