According to the study in The Economist, "Competing Across Borders," the two threats against the success of companies with cultural diversity in the workplace are differences in cultural traditions, and differences in workplace standards.
Need to Push Back Boundaries
With the current economic situation in Europe and the United States, many companies are taking their chance at opening foreign markets and exporting their products. As a result, they will bring even more cultural diversity in the workplace, which in turn will lead to the establishment of even more international relations than before.
A Company's Progress Depends on Understanding Multicultural Differences
Big companies are starting to realize the importance of considering cultural factors when working with multinational teams, as ensuring that collaborations between people from different countries go smoothly and successfully is a key consideration for companies with international aspirations.
43% of the companies surveyed in the study by The Economist think that communication problems have affected transactions like sales, supplier contracts, mergers, acquisitions, expansions of capital, and so forth, within their company. Seeing this type of data leads many companies to start making their employees learn not only languages, but how to understand the way other cultures think and work.
New Need in Companies
In view of this picture, most companies see that they should set aside part of their budget to help their employees communicate, understand and manage expectations during their dealings with multicultural teams.
As Nancy J. Adler, author of International dimensions of organizational behavior notes, "There is a misconception that just because reaching someone across the world is as easy as calling them via Skype or sending them an email, that you're really communicating in the best way." New technology without a doubt is a great help, but it's important not forget the educational, social and work contexts of the people who we communicate with.
Solutions for The Global World
We, the members of the Managing Virtual Teams staff, have set out to help all of the companies that are dealing with cultural diversity in the workplace. This means we are helping both remote or virtual teams and colocated teams alike. Our experience working with people all across the world can help companies maximize the achievement of their business goals. Contact us for more information!