Fielding/Team Handbooks Summer 2009/Handbook 1

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Handbook 1 - Team Orange Express


Culturally Diverse and Geographically Dispersed Teams


      Compiled by

Orange Express International 604
Consulting Group


This handbook was envisioned to help companies that must create, develop and manage culturally diverse, geographically dispersed work teams in order to effectively compete in today’s fast-paced global marketplace.
Our consultancy, Orange Express International 604, has approached this task as if consulting with a fictitious company, Global Holdings Corporation, Inc. However, the concepts and advice contained in this handbook could be applied to any company wishing to thoughtfully deal with the complex issues inherent in working with and for multi-cultural and dispersed work teams.
Fielding Graduate University
Organizational Management Development 604A
Global and Intercultural Strategies and Skills: Summer 2009
Professor Gary Fontaine
ã Orange Express International 604, 2009




TABLE OF CONTENTS              3

Consultant Biographies              4

INTRODUCTION              5

Chapter 1: Leading & Managing a Diverse Workforce              6

Chapter 2: Hiring Practices and Team Selection              9

Chapter 3: Training and Development              11

Chapter 4: Team-Building              14

Chapter 5: Decision-Making              17

Chapter 6: Problem-Solving              20

Chapter 7: Facilitating Technology              22

Chapter 8: Conflict Management              26

Chapter 9: Team Evaluation Process              30

Chapter 10: Team Transition and Dissolution              32

References              35

Index              38

Consultant Biographies


Christian DeSario is a graduate of the Evidence Based Coaching certificate program at Fielding Graduate University and is currently enrolled in the Fielding Organization Management and Development Master of Arts program. In addition to his current function as Human Resources Business Partner for an OEM manufacturer of aircraft and defense products, Christian is also proprietor of The Karma Factory, providing coaching and consulting services to individuals and businesses.

Howard A. Fox brings 18 years of consulting with large scale IT companies to his current employer and coaching clients. Howard specializes in Business Process Redesign, Enterprise Content Management & Collaboration, Learning & Development, Organizational Development, and Life and Executive Coaching. He is a graduate student in Fielding Graduate University’s Organization Management and Development Master’s program and a graduate of the Fielding Evidence-Based Coaching program. He is an adjunct faculty member at the Adler School of Professional Psychology where he teaches a course in Executive Coaching and Leadership. He is a Certified MBTI Practioner. And in addition to the US, He has spent time working in cities throughout Canada, and has lived and worked in the UK. Howard's native language is English.

Jill Johnston resides in Toronto Canada and has worked in the contract office furniture business for various US and Canadian manufacturers and distributors for over 20 years, primarily in sales, sales management and marketing. She has a true passion for leadership and finds the most satisfying part of any job is powering the potential in people. She has a particular interest in helping executives recognize the need to develop their own leadership abilities and assisting them in that development. She is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Organization Management and Development at Fielding Graduate University. She and her husband enjoy traveling the world together with their three daughters.

Anne Kratz is vice president for university advancement and development at Fielding Graduate University where she is also enrolled in the Master of Arts in Organization Management and Development. She is also a recent graduate of Fielding’s Evidence-Based Coaching certificate program. Over the past 30 years, Anne’s work experience has included development, training, volunteer management, marketing, communications, and event management. Anne has also enjoyed extensive experience as a volunteer in leadership roles at various not-for-profit organizations such as the American Red Cross and Literacy Volunteers of America.

Maren Showkeir is a managing partner in henning-showkeir & associates, inc., along with her partner and husband, Jamie. They are co-authors of Authentic Conversations: Moving from Manipulation to Truth and Commitment. They are committed to assisting their clients with harmonizing the demand for business results with creating cultures where individuals can find meaning and purpose at work. Previous to her consulting work, Maren spent nearly 25 years as a journalist, editor, and manager of major-market newspapers in Arizona and Florida. She is fluent in Spanish, and as a Knight Fellow for the International Center for Journalists, taught journalism at universities in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Lima, Peru.



In an effort to capitalize on the $425 billion global market for energy and environmental technologies, Global Corporation will consolidate and operationalize its holdings with a mission of researching, developing, and commercializing renewable and sustainable energy sources worldwide.

Global Holdings Corporation has contracted with Orange Express International 604, a Organizational Development Consultancy specializing in international microcultures, to create a handbook of best practices designed to enable Global Corporation to leverage and sustain a global presence while embracing the uniqueness of its individual microcultures.

Global Corporation was founded in 1905 as a manufacturer of pumps and valves for various commercial applications. Beginning in the 1940s, Global Corporation began acquiring diverse manufacturing companies that produced engineered industrial and commercial products. Serving primarily as a holding company, Global Corporation did not produce or sell products or goods directly, nor was it involved in operations management of its acquisitions. During this time, Global Corporation changed its name to Global Holdings Corporations.

Over the years, Global Holdings Corporations strategically acquired companies with a niche market in various manufacturing industries, including:

    * Pumps and Valves

    * Residential and Commercial Appliances

    * OEM Electronics

    * Automobile Parts

    * Solar & Wind Technology

In 2009, Global Holdings Corporation made the bold decision to move from a holding company to an operating company. With subsidiaries around the world and operations in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia, Global Holdings Corporation seeks to create a standardized business system to deploy throughout all its business units and form a cohesive organizational culture and operating structure. This transition will affect all aspects of operations, from employee selection to leadership development.

Chapter 1: Leading & Managing a Diverse Workforce


Diversity Management is a key business skill for leaders of the future, and it will have an enormous impact on their success – and the success of their organizations.”

R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr.
CEO, Roosevelt Thomas Consulting & Training, Inc.
President, The American Institute for Managing Diversity (AIMD)



Defining Diversity


Diversity refers to differences, similarities, and tensions that can and do exist between the elements of different mixtures of people.  Representation refers to the presence of multiple races and both genders in the workplace.  Leaders who manage representation and diversity will gain a competitive edge by fully accessing the potential of all of their associates. 


Global Holding leaders need to be proactive about learning from diversity and committed to establishing a climate of openness, equity, tolerance, and most important, inclusion.  Recognizing the importance of leadership diversity is only the first step.  No change will occur unless an effective strategy is developed for achieving inclusion through a commitment to diversity at all levels of the workforce, especially at the senior management levels where it is most strategically important (McCuiston, Ross Wooldridge, & Pierce, 2004).



Benefits of Diversity:  Profit, performance, and talent


Many companies will not seek diversity unless this business competency results in increased profit and metrics that substantiate the necessity to expand the emphasis on diversity (Diversity Inc., 2002).  Irrefutable measurable benefits can be derived from properly implemented policies to promote diversity (Jamrog, 2002). 


The most evident measurable benefits are:


  • Improved bottom line.  Diversity initiatives benefit companies’ bottom line and help them maintain a competitive edge, according to a 2001 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management and Fortune magazine (SHRM, 2001).
  • Competitive advantage. Recruiting and retaining people of diverse backgrounds who can share a common set of values...and approach to business – is a priority for today’s competitive organization (McCormack, 2002).
  • Superior business performance. Diversity in gender, race, and age on senior management teams is correlated with superior business performance in worker productivity, net operating profits, gross revenues, total assets, market share, and shareholder value (Bureau of National Affairs, 1998).
  • Attract the best and the brightest.  Promoting diversity attracts talented workers, reduces turnover, and unleashes creativity (Silverstein, 1995; Diversity, Inc. 2002).
  • Employee satisfaction and loyalty.  Strong CEO and upper-management support for diversity initiatives build employee loyalty and a growing commitment to a company’s business goals (SHRM, 2001; Diversity, Inc., 2002).
  • The cost of ignoring diversity.  The greatest loss to a company, when diversity is not a priority, is loss of potential business in the form of new customers in growth markets, customers who are providing increasingly loyal to companies that understand their culture and their needs (Diversity, Inc. 2002; WCC/HI, 2002).



Enhancing Leadership Effectiveness with a Diverse Workforce


“Understanding that leadership is a contact sport” (Jamrog, 2002) is imperative before any change can occur.


This approach is predicated upon the premises, guidelines and actions recommended by McCuiston, Ross Wooldridge, & Pierce (2004):


  1. One size does not fit all. What works in one situation, with one worker, in one organization may not work for others.
  2. Not everyone can be a leader. A leader cannot lead without followers.  Organizations should not assume that everyone can be or wants to be developed into an effective leader.
  3. Leaders can be at any level or function. Leadership is a process of influence and guidance, not a position.  An employee, a manager or an executive can be a leader.


The following summarizes five guidelines for managers, leaders, and followers to recognize and value diversity:

  1. Communicate, communicate, and communicate. Share your thoughts, opinions, suggestions; request others to share their thoughts, opinions, and suggestions. The more the communication, the clearer and more consistent the message.
  2. Build contact into your daily actions and duties. Keep contact in your conscious mind throughout the day.  Plan your actions, meetings, and duties so as to maximize contact with multiple people in the organization.
  3. Manage and lead by walking around.  Being seen outside your office demonstrates your willingness and ability to interface informally with others of different levels, functions, background, and experience.
  4. Champion diversity.  Become a cheerleader, a champion, a coach or a mentor for inclusion.
  5. Sponsor diversity.  Support diversity policies and efforts in your conversations, your actions, and your interaction with colleagues, superiors, and direct reports.  Your support will encourage others to follow your lead. 


A sequence of five actions for managers and leaders to identify, assess, develop, and reward other leaders’ and workers’ inclusion efforts are recommended:


  1. Assess leadership potential for all workers in your organization.
  2. Provide ample training and tools.
  3. Take the responsibility for inclusion at your level.
  4. Measure and reward inclusion efforts.
  5. Be patient.  Encourage your organization to be patient.




In order to realize the benefits of successfully leading a diverse workforce, both leaders and employees must accept their responsibility in understanding one another’s diversity.  Leaders need to be proactive about learning from diversity and committed to establishing a climate of openness, equity, tolerance, and most important, inclusion.  However, commitment alone will not guarantee results.


“With execution of a systematic, goal oriented, business-based, measurable, implementation plan for achieving inclusion [diversity] at all levels of the workforce, especially at senior levels, effectively aligning  business strategies with current demographic and market realities, an organization can achieve growth, profitability, and sustainability” (McCuiston, Ross Wooldridge, & Pierce, 2004).

Chapter 2: Hiring Practices and Team Selection

With diversity comes the potential for more creative solutions to organizational objectives and the challenges facing the organization.  Research and experience shows that organizations can positively impact achievement and productivity by leveraging breadth of experiences, as well as engendering an environment where employees can learn from each other’s unique backgrounds and cultures (Johnson & Johnson, 2006, p. 442).  These ideals should inform the various facets of a company’s initiatives, not the least of which is the process for selecting talent who share the common values and vision of the organization. 

Stemming from the positive features of diversity, an organizational commitment to an employee selection process that respects alternate perspectives and seeks individuals who possess and value cross-cultural awareness is strongly recommended (Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 1998, p. 193).  The touchstone for the selection and hiring process is a structured, in-depth behavioral interviewing model, which enables leadership to:

  • Ask thought-provoking questions to assess a candidate’s understanding of diversity, the benefits of heterogeneous workforce, and his/her ability to work in a deeply multi-cultural organization. 
  • Assess a candidate’s fit within the broader organizational and social context.
  • Determine how an individual “links[s] personal and team identity” within the organization’s cultural parameters (Earley and Gibson, 2002, p. 78). Consequently, it is strongly suggested that interviewers ask candidates about:
    • Cultural/Social Awareness
    • Their personal commitment to the environment as an agent of change
    • Respect for differing viewpoints and empathy
    • Their expectations of the organization as it relates to their own growth

Additionally, the nature of an in-depth interviewing process, with its focus on selecting individuals who would thrive in a highly diverse workplace, makes it possible for candidates to articulate their personal worldviews, culture background, and other paradigms and how those fit and/or align with that of Global Holdings.  Knowing that cultural experiences and backgrounds can deeply influence one’s orientation with regards to problem solving, interacting with peers or colleagues, and response to stressors in one’s environment, managers are invited to ask candidates to describe their past experiences with cultural dilemmas such as:

  • Challenges experienced when interacting with individuals from other cultures or drastically different backgrounds from their own.
  • Dilemmas concerning differing relationships to time than an individual from a different culture (i.e. punctuality or time management).
  • How the candidate responds in different natural environments, climates, or other external conditions (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner,  p. 186).

From research in the area of organizational heterogeneity, one can extrapolate the benefits of including a multi-cultural group of current leaders to participate in the interviewing and selection process.  Again, using the strengths of diversity, leadership is better able to select candidates using consensus from a diverse group of people including:

  • Different cultural backgrounds
  • Different work functions and experiences
  • Different educational backgrounds  (Earley and Gibson, p. 22)

After interviewing a candidate, it is recommended that managers take an opportunity to immediately provide insights and thoughts from their interview experience through an open dialogue.  This time of information processing enables interviewers to come to a collective understanding of the candidate through different cultural lenses.

Additionally, using a standardized score guide can support leadership to provide both quantitative scoring and narrative comments. Using these score guides later will provide a snapshot of all candidates interviewed, and allow for a comparison of the candidates in the context of a broader awareness of the needs and skills necessary for the position (Earley and Gibson, p. 22-23).  Review of this meta-information by the interviewing panel is strongly encouraged before making a final selection.

With the selection of individuals from varying backgrounds and cultures, Global Holdings Corporation may then build upon this selection process to assemble teams that are not only diverse but truly foster an environment that is respectful of differing opinions, as well as one that challenges and stimulates critical thinking and decision-making for employees.

Chapter 3: Training and Development


Attention to training, learning and development are important aspects for success in an international assignment. A substantial body of research ties proper training to success in an overseas or cross-cultural assignment, yet it is often overlooked. For instance, estimates are that only 20 percent of American assignees without special training do well (Fontaine, 2006), which clearly has a serious impact on the success of international assignments.

People who are in cross-cultural and international work environments face four specific challenges (Kealey et al, 2005):

  • “Culture shock” stemming from an unfamiliar geographic location, a diverse workforce and differing cultural styles (i.e. hierarchy vs. egalitarianism, task orientation vs. building personal relationships, and individualism vs. loyalty to the group (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1998).
  • The effects of distance on organizational processes (i.e. supply chains, difficulties in communication between field personnel and corporate headquarters).
  • Unfamiliarity with the political, legal, regulatory, macroeconomic and social environment of the host country.
  • Different views of situations, interests, and incentives of local and foreign companies and individual workers (i.e. difficulties that may arise when an expatriates on temporary assignment must initiate change with a population that will remain in place after the expat manager leaves).

Typically, training for international assignees has focused on developing interpersonal and cross-cultural skills, with an emphasis on openness, communicating and listening, tolerance and knowledge of the host country (Ptak, Cooper, & Breslin, 1995). Although this focus on individual needs is important, it neglects other important contributors to success.

Three types of training can benefit candidates preparing for an international or cross-cultural assignment: technical, intercultural and organizational. For the purposes of this handbook, we will assume that Global Holdings’ team members have the technical expertise and skills needed for the assignment and will focus on the organizational and intercultural training. We will also explore the “task ecology” referenced by Fontaine (2006), and the importance of supplementing preparatory training with on-site training once the assignee arrives.

Cross-cultural vs. Intercultural Training

As Fontaine notes, cross-cultural training (how other cultures do business) is distinct from intercultural training (how to do business with other cultures). “Most cultural training programs in the past have missed this distinction and, as a consequence, those programs have had mixtures of both without clearly specifying the objectives of either in terms of supporting success abroad” (p. 148)

Recent studies have called into question the overall effectiveness of cross-cultural training. The findings of Puck, Kitler and Wright (2008) indicate that pre-departure cultural training generally does not improve the adjustment of expatriate managers to their new environments and suggests that candidate selection is a more important factor in determining overall success. Once capacity has been established, they suggest offering “tailored cross-cultural training to those who are predisposed to succeed abroad.” The Handbook of Intercultural Training (Fontaine, 2004), also suggests customization: “Although [training materials] are immensely helpful to trainers in providing content and method ideas, trainers almost always need to customize commercially produced materials to meet client needs” (p. 40).

Other studies suggest that a combination of pre-departure and continued on-site cultural training may have a positive impact on an expatriate manager’s ability to adjust.  The role of on-site training and support in successful expatriation has been observed in several discussions concerning expatriate management, with host-country support being seen as vital to family and workplace adjustment.

In the Suutari & Burch study (2001), the following advice was offered to individuals on an international assignment:

  • Learn the local language and familiarize yourself with the culture, customs and local history.
  • Get clarification of your job details before you arrive at your international assignment.
  • Take initiative for involving yourself in the community — don’t wait for others to involve you.


Advice offered to those in organizations was:

  • Provide training on customs and culture before the international assignee arrives.
  • Assign a mentor for the initial settling-in period, and provide a 24-hour contact number.
  • Introduce newcomers to the “professional life,” including working styles, social interactions, etc.
  • Create a standard list of all the things newcomers might need, and go over it with them.
  • Organize “ice-breaker” gatherings between newcomers and locals to provide social interaction.


In addition to training the expatriates, the importance of “host-country training” to help local workers adjust to working with expatriate employees and managers should be considered. “This kind of training could be naturally linked to the expatriate on the specifics of a local culture and environment” (Suutari & Burch, 2001, p. 301). As Fontaine notes, the way people in a host country do business with each other is not necessarily how they do business with expats, and such training will benefit everyone.

Intercultural training will help assignees deal with ecoshock, deal with diversity and maintain motivation to complete their assignments.


Assignment ecology

Identifying the “ecology” of an assignment is essential to understanding the requirements of preparation, training, and support to those with international postings. Training and development should address task ecology, including “the characteristics and needs of the assignees, the characteristics of the assignment destination, the time and resources available” (Fontaine, p. 150).

One of the goals must be to enhance self-awareness so that people realize they are constantly assigning meaning to the actions and objects they observe. It’s not enough to deliver detailed information about a country and its customs/culture, because that has the effect of only reinforcing cultural stereotypes. “General self-awareness accepts that we follow a particular mental cultural program and that members of other cultures have different programs” (Trompenaars, 1998, p. 196).

Knowledge and familiarity with people in the host country allows workers to deal with individuals rather than stereotypes, allowing more effectiveness at work as the stress of ecoshock begins to diminish. Fontaine recommends that training emphases include:

  • Self-awareness training, which helps people realize their own cultural biases and expectations.
  • Sensitivity training, to help them understand perspectives through a different culture’s lens.
  • Role-playing or simulation, which gives assignees a taste of what to expect in new cultural surroundings.
  • Interaction, where they are asked to complete a simple task in their new environment and describe the experience.
  • Task analysis, which gives them an awareness of task ecologies, alternative strategies for completion, and assessing which strategies are most accommodated to those task ecologies.
  • Stress management, to give assignees the skills necessary to cope with the stress of an international assignment.


Chapter 4: Team-Building

Upon hire, employees should immediately begin their integration into the organization’s culture with an immersion process in different areas of the business.  On the first day, the new employee will discuss with his or her manager Global Holdings’ commitment to the respect of diverse viewpoints and perspectives as a key driving force of our organizational culture.  The management team will select key departments or functional areas that will best promote the growth and learning for the individual employee in addition to practical work areas (i.e. the areas in which the employee will commonly interface in the future.)


As Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner suggest, managers should encourage discussions pertaining to the “local” culture of a given environment, site and/or department.  This dialogue allows for the new employee to gain overall knowledge of the macro-organization in addition to how the local culture operates with regard to expectations, communication-style, rewards and incentives (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, p. 195-198).  The importance of leading by example, especially during the first few days of employment, is crucial to the team-building process as it reinforces a commitment to building trust, empathy, and the understanding of others. 



Building Cultural Integration and Awareness


It is recommended that Global Holdings’ employees, on an annual basis, attend a structured retreat or workshop that focuses on building cross-cultural awareness.  During this retreat, employees should be assigned at random to participate with employees from other countries and business units within the organization in order to best introduce themselves to different perspectives and cultures.  Utilizing a structured approach, employees will gain an opportunity to discuss how they operate within various cultural orientations and the roles they play in teamwork, interpersonal interactions/communication, productivity, and their environment.  The various orientations discussed include:  


      1. Universalist versus Particularist, or one’s propensity towards a rules-based culture versus an exceptions-based culture strongly rooted in personal relationships (Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, pgs.  29-33)
      2. Individualist versus Communitarian, or how an individual reacts to various situations as a result of personal needs or achievement and the needs and objectives of the greater cultural organism (“I” versus “We”) (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, p.  51-61)
      3. Neutral versus Affective, or an individual’s comfort level in displaying or sharing emotions.  This may include the use of verbal and non-verbal emotional cues, and use of humor (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, pgs. 70-78)
      4. Specific versus Diffuse, or how much an individual compartmentalizes various facets of her life and/or personality with co-workers.  This continuum may span from someone who only connect with others regarding the specific tasks involved with the place of employment to one who interacts with co-workers on a more personal- or social- level (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, p. 83-85, 99-103)
      5. Ascriptive versus Achievement, or the importance an individual places on personal achievements versus ascribed status, which may include such factors as titles, length of service, age, gender, social status, or past educational and/or work experience (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, pgs.  105-119)
      6. An employee’s preference for conceptualizing time (i.e. past-, present-, and future-orientation) (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, p.  123-133)
      7. Personal relationship to our external environment (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, p. 145-156)


The goal of the cross-cultural awareness retreat is to create a regularly scheduled dialogue, in an open and safe space, for employees to share with one another their particular perspectives and challenges when interacting with other cultures.  Per Earley and Gibson, creating a “communal sharing” event may help positively reinforce organizational values and allow employees to leave the event with a broader appreciation of the significance of a multi-cultural tapestry (Earley and Gibson, p. 136-139).   



Preparing Employees for Transcultural Competency


In addition to an annual retreat, it may be beneficial for Global Holdings Corporation to offer a boot camp for individuals traveling out of state or working as expatriates in foreign countries.  The boot camp addresses how to reconcile cultural differences by building transcultural competency.  This process includes building self-awareness of how one interacts in various environments and experiences and immersing the participants with various situations they may face in their new locale (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, p.  200-206). Another opportunity of such an intervention includes employees receiving the tools required to deal with ecoshock, or the experience of being placed in an environment alien to the employee.  Fontaine posits that employees who learn how to accomplish their necessary job tasks and objectives in a foreign state or country including the local norms, mores, and preferences may achieve more successful results overall having received preparation and broadening of awareness (Fontaine, 2008, p.  46-51). 


Understanding the importance of sustained interactions with different cultures, but sensitive to the cost-prohibitive expense of travel, a strong emphasis on electronic communications (e.g. teleconferencing, asynchronous communication) may address both needs.  To further develop transcultural competency, requiring employees to participate in a special project with other team members across global operations would further enhance this important skill set. This arrangement also enables employees to work on engaging, corporate-wide initiatives that have the potential to be deployed throughout the organization. 

Chapter 5: Decision-Making

Future leaders will define Diversity Management as “making quality decisions in the midst of differences, similarities, and related tensions” (R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr. in Hesselbein & Goldsmith, 2006).  Research published by Bain & Company confirmed that high performance organizations are particularly strong in making good decisions and making them happen.


Headquarters Relationships with Foreign Divisions


When a headquarters acquires subsidiaries or attains divisions in foreign nations, its managers must decide how much control they need to maintain over the division’s managers. According to Rodrigues (1995), a headquarters-foreign subsidiary control relationship (HSR) can be one of centralization or decentralization.  The first framework proposes that national culture influences the HSR. The second framework posits that certain situational factors influence the HSR in all countries.  The third framework puts forth that either too much centralization or too much decentralization eventually leads to organizational ineffectiveness.  Figure 1 depicts the framework for attaining a balance between centralization and decentralization; and therefore a balanced HSR.




The Nature and Impact of National Cultural Differences in Decision-Making

Hofstede (1983) provides a well respected model for identifying a clear framework for analysing and understanding national cultural differences.  In his original work, he identified four key dimensions which have an impact.  They are:


Individualism/collectivism:  These dimensions reflect the extent to which individuals value self-determination as opposed to their behaviour being determined by the collective group or organization.


Power-distance:  At the core of this dimension lies the question of involvement in decision-making.  In low power-distance cultures, employees seek involvement and have a desire for a participative management style.  At the other end of this scale, employees tend to work and behave in a particular way because they accept that they will be directed to do so by the hierarchy of the organization.


Uncertainty avoidance: This dimension is concerned with employees’ tolerance for ambiguity or uncertainty in their working environment.  In cultures which have high uncertainty avoidance, employees will look for clearly defined, formal rules and conventions governing their behavior.


Masculinity/femininity:  This is possibly the most difficult dimension to use in organization context.  In practice, the difficulty is more to do with terminology and linguistics, in Hofstede’s work the dimension related to values.  In highly “masculine cultures” dominant values relate to assertiveness and material acquisition.  In highly “feminine cultures” values focus on relationships among people, concern for others and quality of life.


The results of Hofstede’s research is frequently used and reinforced by the practical experience of multinationals seeking to implement global HR policies.


In looking at diversity in international management teams it is important not to focus exclusively on the issue of cultural differences.  In a recent Cranfield Executive Competences survey which examined management teams on a pan-European basis Kakabadse (1993) made the observation that:


“To differing degrees, the same sorts of problems are shared across different

nation states.  The skill is not to be blinded by national parochial differences.

Attention should be given to applying those levers that are required to focus   on attaining business goals.”


This study reinforced the need to be clear as to the competencies required for effective performance.


Excelling at Decision-Making Equals Effective Performance Organizations


Companies that excel at decision making and execution recognize that the organizational chart – who reports to whom – is only a small part of the equation.  They put their energy into building an integrated system that supports a high-performance organization.  They aim to outperform competitors on five vital dimensions (Rogers & Blenko, 2006):


  1. Strong leadership that provides compelling vision and direction based on the sources of value in business.
  2. Clear accountability for the most important decisions, reinforced by the organization’s structure.
  3. Talented people, placed in the jobs where they can have the biggest impact, and focused on the measures that matter.
  4. Outstanding frontline execution, enabled by the right tools and working practices.
  5. A performance culture that motivates people at all levels and locations to get things done and to strive for excellence. 




Globalization of businesses gives rise to the need for the development of effective international management teams that are effective at making decisions.  For many organizations this need will entail thinking clearly about cross-cultural issues and more overtly and systematically understanding and valuing the benefits of diversity in international teams.  Achieving this requires the integration of thinking and practice relating to team building, understanding of the benefits of differing personal styles and behaviours (Higgs, 1996).


No single lever turns a company’s people into a decision-driven organization capable of making good decisions and executing them again and again, and no blueprint can provide for all the contingencies and business shifts that a company is bound to encounter...particularly one with international management teams.  The most successful companies take a holistic approach, integrating capabilities across the organization, from the boardroom to the front line, and from headquarters to their subsidiaries and various divisions across the organization.    The value of effective multicultural working can be captured at many levels in the organization and international teams and those that do will reach high performance levels more rapidly and consistently.   This is difficult to achieve and even more difficult for competitors to copy. Organizations that build this high performance global capability will gain a distinct competitive advantage (Rogers & Blenko, 2006).


Chapter 6: Problem-Solving

The process for solving problems not readily corrected by those who uncover them will be to create a task force comprised of individuals best able to create a solution.  The vice president who oversees the area where the problem has occurred will appoint a facilitator for each problem-solving task group. This may be an independent facilitator from in or outside Global Holdings Corporation, or it may be a member of the task force. 

Occasionally, problem-solving task groups may conduct face-to-face meetings; however, the preference is to work virtually, which more efficiently allows involvement of appropriate employees worldwide.

Among the facilitator’s responsibilities:

  • Identifying and notifying task force members about their assignment.
  • Working with the global technologies department to determine and create appropriate technological tools such as teleconferencing, synchronous on-line communications, asynchronous on-line communications, and videoconferencing.
  • Decide upon and communicate the structure and timeline of the work that will be done.
  • Lead the group in their creation of a team charter (a written document which outlines the norms and rules).
  • Identify work that needs to be done prior to the group meetings.
  • Assign tasks to group members as needed.
  • Provide information to group as needed.
  • Set and distribute agendas.
  • Assure participation by all task force members.
  • Help make certain that everyone understands each other fully—provide interpreter services if needed.
  • Arrange for notes to be taken and posted or distributed as appropriate.
  • Communicate with task force members privately as needed.
  • Answer questions and keep group members informed about changes that might impact the work they are doing.
  • Conduct process checks with task force members.
  • Conduct an evaluation at the time the task force has completed its task.


Among the task force members’ responsibilities:

  • Complete assignments on time.
  • Participate in the creation of the team charter.
  • Be an active member of the task force—bring all of your background, experience, and knowledge to the task at hand.
  • Provide feedback to the facilitator and your group members as appropriate.


The facilitator of each task group will make the final decision on the problem-solving intervention method; however, our consultancy has found both Appreciative Inquiry and Brainstorming to be effective methods for a culturally diverse, geographically dispersed workforce to use in finding solutions and best practices.  A brief overview of these two methods follows:

Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry (AI), developed more than 25 years ago, is based on the premise that employees will respond to positive feedback by being creative and enthusiastic about problem solving.  AI also recognizes that individuals view the same thing in different ways.  In other words, we have different realities of the same event.  Lewis, Passmore, and Cantore explain: “To live successfully in groups we need to co-create a shared sense of the world to be able to interact meaningfully together” (Lewis, Passmore, & Cantore, 2008, p. 175).  AI recognizes the diversity of views and opinions and creates a way for everyone participating to be able to comfortably share their views and ideas.  AI works well with diverse groups and is adaptable to large or small groups.

Implementing AI for problem solving starts with identification of a problem, and then turns it on its heels by focusing on the positive things that are involved with or closely associated with the problem.  “In essence the group inquires into ‘what is working?’ to find ‘the best of what is’ ” (Lewis, Passmore, & Cantore, 2008, p. 176). 


Brainstorming is a widely used method to solve problems.  It is simple and can easily be used in a virtual environment with small and large groups.

In implementing a Brainstorming intervention, the group is asked to think of and share as many ideas as they can to solve a specific problem.  The idea is to unleash the group’s creativity, and no idea should be held back. The group suspends comment or opinion during this phase, and all ideas are posted. At times it might be appropriate to use “blind gathering” where participants are not aware of whom the author of the idea is (Shaw, 2003, p. 697).  This is helpful in cases where particularly influential participants have presented ideas or where participants who may not be perceived as innovative are sharing ideas.  These scenarios could lead to group members giving more or less weight to an idea because of the creator of the idea rather than basing their opinions on the merit of the idea itself.

After ideas have been posted, the participants read the contributions and post their opinions. After the group reads those opinions a teleconference to discuss the ideas and help everyone to understand them better is advisable.  Further online discussions and teleconferencing should be used before the final group recommendations are formed.


Chapter 7: Facilitating Technology

The 20th century witnessed the increased ability to work individually and in groups, communicate, and even go to war across remote distances.  The advent of flight, high-speed voice and data connections, and computer technology has enabled individuals and groups to accomplish in microseconds, minutes, and hours what previously required days and longer.  The 21st century continues to extend the capabilities realized during the last quarter of the 20th century to literally create a Global Village (Hofstede, 2006) where technology is everywhere within the fabric of our lives. While Hofstede’s concept of the Global Village was used as a reference when speaking about the ubiquitous Internet, there are nationalistic and organizational dimensions of culture as well.

International corporations such as Global Holdings Corporation, with offices and manufacturing worldwide and a diverse socio-economic workforce, need to be cognizant of the importance of similarities and differences between national and organization culture as it reorganizes as a unified global corporation (Haapaniemi & Makinen, 2009). 

Fontaine (2006) speaks about the ecological similarities that characterize international assignments. This construct can be applied as Global Holdings Corporation reorganizes and introduces facilitating technology to collaborate on a global scale.  Key ecological characteristics include time, communication, people, and support. 

Chudoba et. al. (2005) described information and communication technology as an enabler of virtuality, which they defined as geography, time zones, culture, work practices, organization, and technology.  The extent of this virtuality is determined by how much local cultures are to embrace facilitating technology.  It is also essential that a business plan be created that includes how facilitating technology will be incorporated into the culture, and evaluates the level of success and the return on investment that is expected to be realized for a company like Global Holdings Corporation (Majidi, 2006).      

The case for local and global facilitating technology

In any given global company, you will find a multitude of similar as well as disparate facilitating technologies.  A simple audit of a company like Global Holdings Corporation may result in some of the following facilitating technologies:


* Phones (Desk)
  • Phones (Cell)
  • Smart phones
  • Handheld Computers
  • Email                           

* Texting
  • Inter/Intranet
  • Instant Messaging
  • Portals
  • Collaboration Applications (ex. SharePoint)
  • Networking (ex. LinkedIn & facebook)

* Video
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Cameras
  • Skype
  • Twitter


Global Holdings Corporation will have to establish policy around technologies that are acceptable for use over a global network or internally within the facilities.  For example, some companies prevent access to on-line video inside their internal network such as YouTube [], or phone/video applications such as Skype [].  Some companies may even block external access to social or professional networking sites such as facebook [] or LinkedIn [], or even forbid cameras. 

To effectively write policies that address local technology use, it is recommended that a Technology Use Committee comprised of business, technology, and executives from throughout the organization convene. The committee’s role would be to review, plan, and recommend what local technology policies will be implemented, and a timeline (immediate versus gradual) to phase in local policies and guidelines (Majidi, M., 2006).   This planning effort should leverage the explicit knowledge (Inkpen & Dinur, 1998) and best practices available throughout the organization, yet account for the tacit knowledge (Inkpen & Dinur, 1998) and ecological differences  (Fontaine, 2006) that are unique to the national and organizational culture. The Technology Use Committee should meet annually (and report quarterly) to review, rewrite or retire obsolete policies as required.

Facilitating technologies such as intranets, portals (secured, internal companywide repository for company specific documents), Blogs (personal web pages around a specific topic designed to share knowledge), and Wikis (linked web pages that grow and evolve through communal collaboration) are opportunities to retain local knowledge, facilitate business opportunities, manage client documentation, and to communicate local and company-wide news and events.

Global Holdings Corporation should retain centralized control to ensure a consistent look and feel to the messaging, financials, reporting, and information that speaks to the corporation as a whole.  In the multi-national world, new corporate-controlled content should be handed off to each country for localized translation.  It is also recommended that a communication committee, made up of business, technology, and executives from throughout the organization convene annually and communicate quarterly via committee to review, plan, and recommend what knowledge, information and messaging will be retained by Corporate, and what knowledge, information and messaging will be left to the individual divisions. For example, divisions of Global Holdings in North America, Asia, Europe, and South America should be responsible for local messaging, including translations, country specific products, initiatives, and local public relation communication.  

Preparing for optimal global facilitating technology

Collaboration technology  (ex. Enterprise Content Management, Wikis, Blogs, and Portals, etc.) can be used to facilitate the creation, sharing, and dissemination of knowledge.

It is rare that a company’s single end-use product is planned, manufactured, assembled, sold, and supported in a single location.  Collaborative technologies make it possible to virtually create content anywhere, at anytime, and by anyone – within reason.  This phenomenal capability to collaborate using facilitating technology does come with a cost —awareness and understanding of national and local organization culture is an essential component of a planning effort that should be initiated at the onset.

Requirements Gathering

The effective implementation of facilitating technology on a global scale requires all parties participate in the decision-making process, including: representatives from Operations, Sales and Marketing, Information Technology, and the Executive Branch. The representatives should participate in gathering data for what facilitating technology is to be used, configured, and rolled out. The requirements should include corporate and location requirements that address functional and end-user requirements.  For example, Global Holdings Corporation will likely benefit from enterprise-wide content management (ECM) applications that enable the storage of planning documents, patents, financial reports, human resource records, client proposals, projects, deliverables, products and services etc. This list speaks to content and information that is for internal consumption by employees, content both internal and restricted, and external content available to Global Holdings’ customers. An effective global requirements-gathering process will ensure that requirements addressing the need to manage knowledge and a consistent message at the corporate level are balanced with the similar national and local needs.


Whether working locally or globally, collaboration is essential for the success of intellectual pursuits, solving problems, or pursing new opportunities.  Collaboration can take place in many forms, including face-to-face, emails, and phone calls, but also in combination or solely with applications such as Enterprise Content Management, Wikis, and Blogs.  Facilitating technology enables executives in North America to communicate with engineering in Europe, manufacturing in China, and distribution in South America.  Each local entity is able to see, review, and update knowledge content, project status, and financials, etc. when required.  Wikis and Blogs enable special interest communities and global users to share knowledge, experiences, best practices, and content about specific topics with individuals that share a common interest, or are a part of a team effort (Wagner, 2004).  Individual preferences to collaboration will be affected by national culture and organization culture.  Facilitating technology that enables collaboration will also provide opportunities for developing sensitivities to cultural differences (Chudoba et al., 2005).




Communication on a global scale is essential for companies with worldwide operations. Technology that facilitates this process to enable employees to access knowledge content and communicate with the workforce anywhere and at any time is the key to managing operation throughout the supply chain (supplier < > purchasing < > production < > distribution < > customers).  Communication technology could include smart phones and handheld computers.

Facilitating technologies should enable the workforce to communicate with systems, co-workers, and management locally, globally, and remotely.  For example, companies like Global Holdings Corporation with a remote workforce responsible for overseeing products in the field should be able to access documents and individuals using a smart phone or handheld computer.  When necessary, content that is retrieved should be available in the local language.

Deployment of communication technology should account for national and local culture.  In some locations around the world, some technologies may be forbidden, the infrastructure is immature, or the workforce is not up to the task of working with the technology.  Companies like Global Holdings will have to evaluate what is facilitating technology is allowed, and what is not allowed or considered acceptable, and develop alternatives or contingency plans 

Training and Deployment

Introduction of facilitating technology requires a plan for training, deployment, corporate and local communications, and ongoing support.  Examples are endless of companies that deployed technology without consideration of the local and cultural requirements of the workforce.  For example, it would be impractical and costly to globally deploy a product like an Enterprise Content Management application globally to collaborate when the language of the application is English. Sufficient user training and support is essential for employees to learn how to use and leverage technology to it fullest (Raman, 2006).  Without training and communication, employees will not learn why the tool is valuable and needs to be accommodated.


Facilitating technology will be an essential component of Global Holdings’ ability to operationalize its global infrastructure.  The planning and implementation of this technology should not be considered a “one size fits all” approach to get the global workforce to communicate as one.  On the contrary, it should be approached as an enabler of a process that facilitates interactions and interdependencies on a global scale.  It is far too painful (loss of trust and goodwill) and costly (rework and time) to deploy facilitating technology without an investment in upfront planning. It is our recommendation that a concerted upfront effort should be initiated to plan for how facilitation will take place, and what initiatives or decisions are made based on corporate requirements, and which initiatives and decisions that are made based on national or local cultural requirements.

Chapter 8: Conflict Management

The question isn’t whether, when or what will create conflict among intercultural team members — or with what frequency it will occur. If a team wants to overcome (or harness) conflict for effectiveness and productivity, the question is how to navigate and resolve the conflicts.


Conflict that springs from diversity can actually assist the team in completing complex problem-solving. However, if not navigated successfully, it can create relationship strain and derail achievement due to increased difficulties in communication and coordination (Johnson & Johnson, 2009).


As the global marketplace continues its rapid expansion, researchers are increasingly turning their attention to the issue of conflict management. Differing social and cultural values don’t necessarily increase the number of conflicts a team will experience, but they can have an impact on how conflicts get managed and resolved.  Cultural awareness is needed for understanding and appreciating others’ values and behavioral norms. Without that, Global Holdings’ foreign assignments will become an overwhelming challenge (Baruch, 2001).


Self-awareness and skill development can aid in resolving the problematic conflict arising from cultural differences to help the team maintain good relations and remain productive.


Defining Conflict


Conflict is defined as an “interaction process that manifests in incompatibility, disagreement or dissonance within or between social entities” Rahim (2001). Jehn and Mannix (2001) proposed that conflict in work groups be categorized into three types: relationship, task, and process conflict.


  • Relationship conflict: an awareness of interpersonal incompatibilities or dislike, includes affective components such as feeling, tension, and friction
  • Task conflict: an awareness of differences in viewpoints and opinions pertaining to a group task.
  • Process conflict: an awareness of controversies about aspects of how task accomplishment will proceed.


Cultural issues can overlay all of these types. In addition, diagnosing intercultural conflict can be tricky because of the ways cultures view and explicate the difficult issues that cause friction. In one culture, one is trained to be direct and open; in another, the goal is subtlety and avoiding direct expression of conflict. These divergent cultural perspectives further complicate resolution.


For instance, the individualistic cultures generally found in many Western countries (U.S., Canada, Europe and Argentina) rely on the offended party to directly raise the difficult issue and talking it out to some kind of resolution. (Fontaine, 2006, and Chan, Huang, & Ng, 2008).


The collectivist cultures typified in many Asian and Latin American countries require the offended party to raise difficult issues in a subtle way that “saves face.” The offended sends indirect signals (pouting, absenteeism, substandard work) until the offender gets the message and changes behavior in a way that resolves the tension. Frequently, it is not the event itself that produces a problem, but rather to what the event is causally attributed, which is called attribution conflict (Fontaine, 2006).

Along with the communication barriers caused by language, distance and technology, cultures have different “signaling languages” that can get in the way of resolution. Negotiating becomes treacherous because team members can easily misread a signal from their colleagues or transmit unintended messages through the ways they interact (Lee, 2001).


All these things make navigating conflict more challenging, but certainly not impossible. To effectively resolve conflict and use it constructively to benefit outcomes, team members should work to increase cultural awareness, develop self-awareness, and learn to control behaviors and hone their communications skills.


Conflict Resolution: Cultural and self-awareness and skill development


The negative effects of conflict can be minimized by creating a “superordinate identity” based on pluralistic values (Johnson & Johnson, 2009) and through development of mutual trust and an ability to give others the “benefit of the doubt” (Fontaine, 2006).


In addition, resolution can be increased by focusing on a “task ecology” for each project. As the team shifts its focus on how it will accomplish a task, cultural values and differences recede in importance (Fontaine, 2006).


Rahim (1983) identifies five conflict-management styles:


Integrating High Self / High Others Win – Win
Obliging Low Self / High Others Lose – Win
Compromising Intermediate Self, Others No Win – No Lose
Dominating High Self / Low Others Win – Lose
Avoiding Low Self / Low Others Lose - Lose


Studies have found that cooperative styles of conflict handling, such as integrating and compromising, generally yield more beneficial outcomes in the workplace.  Uncooperative styles, which show little concern for others, generally produce negative outcomes such as accidents, absenteeism and overtime (Chan, Huang, & Ng, 2008). Poor conflict-management skills undermine labor relations and productivity.


Conflict Resolution Strategies


Conflict resolution strategies must go beyond simply recognizing cultural differences, although that is an essential first step.  People must mindfully develop skills to recognize a complaint, see when cultural role expectations have been violated and collaborate creatively to find ways to resolve the issue and re-channel energy back into the work. Individualists should concentrate on practicing patience; collectivists can learn to be more assertive.

Stella Ting-Toomey, in her book Communicating Across Cultures (1999), outlines four skills that are useful for constructive intercultural conflict resolution. They help create an understanding of the conflicting goals and different approaches and help people draw on their cultural resources to reach common ground. Ting-Toomey refers to these as “operational skills,” which depend heavily on motivation and commitment for finding solutions.

The skills are:

Mindful listening —This requires learning to listen attentively to the cultural assumptions that are being expressed in the interaction. Team members should attend to not only words, but also the “sounds, tones, gestures, movements, nonverbal nuances, pauses, and silence in a given situation” (p. 220).

Mindful reframing — This requires learning how to "translate" the other's verbal and nonverbal messages from the context of the other's cultural viewpoint.

Face management — Individualists need to learn to "give face" or respect to the collectivists in the conflict negotiation process. Collectivists, on the other hand, should learn to re-orient to the substantive issues at stake.

Trust building — Trust is both a mindset and a communication skill and can manifest differently depending on the culture. Trust means to “rely on the consistency of credibility, words, behaviors, actions, or network support” (p. 223). Trustworthiness requires that we behave and act in a way that is worthy of others’ trust.

Conflict management styles highlight the importance of trust building in the relationship, and are significant antecedent of trust (Chan, Huang, & Ng, 2008).


Attention to “task ecology” and a “sense of presence” can also aid in conflict resolution by shifting the focus from cultural differences to the work at hand (Fontaine, 2006).  “An appreciation of the ecological basis of perception is even more important because of its implications for how we should do tasks with our hosts on an assignment” (p. 43). The options are to stick to our own strategy, adopt another’s or use an understanding of the “task ecology” — an alchemy of the people, processes and context — and create a “customized” strategy.


Fontaine maintains that without assessing the task ecology “we have no rational basis on which to make these decisions. In such a vacuum the decision is most often based instead on who has the most power… ecological responsiveness is the key to getting jobs done effectively both at home and abroad (p. 44). The specification of the actual task ecology is the key to the development of a microculture and an aid in resolving conflict, which contributes to successful completion.”

Chapter 9: Team Evaluation Process

Global Holdings Corporation has expanded its operation in a way that requires managers and employees to work productively together in culturally diverse, geographically dispersed teams. A critical element to the success of our working teams is incorporating an evaluation and improvement process into group interactions.

Group work relies on an evaluation process to help ensure productive experiences and work outcomes. Employees from all around the world, working together via technology, have less opportunity for casual evaluative conversations than groups that are located in close proximity, which allows for easy face-to-face contact. To make up for the loss of those spontaneous evaluative conversations, the group facilitator will incorporate regular, periodic assessments of the group’s effectiveness.  Another opportunity for group participants to evaluate both their own participation and the effectiveness of the group will be offered as part of the group closure process.

The objective of the evaluation process is both individual and group learning and improvement and the process we recommend for virtual teams is as follows:

  • A folder in your work group forum titled evaluation will be posted for group participants to post comments at any time.
  • All group members should feel free to read the open comments in the evaluation folder and respond with their own comments or make changes/adjustments in their own participation in the group work.
  • Ongoing conversations in this folder regarding improvements in the group work are encouraged.
  • A private electronic survey will be delivered to each participants email box at the discretion of the facilitator.  The timing of these surveys will be based on the amount of communication and work that has been achieved.  The private surveys will be reviewed by the facilitator immediately and will be used to incorporate changes into the group process and work being done.
  • At the conclusion of any work group a written assessment sent to the facilitator is expected of each group participant.


Evaluative questions to consider:

  • What goals/accomplishments (planned and unplanned) were achieved?
  • What have you learned through your participation?
  • How will you use this new knowledge?
  • What method of communication was used in your group work?
  • Was the method conducive to developing a productive work group?
  • What, if any, technologies might be more efficient and effective?
  • What worked well?
  • What did not work well?
  • Did you feel included in the process?
  • Was your voice heard and understood?
  • What recommendations do you have for your facilitator?
  • As a group participant, what might you do differently in the future?
  • What would you recommend we definitely not change?

Chapter 10: Team Transition and Dissolution

Appreciative Inquiry, introduced in 1987 by Cooperrider & Srivastva, provides a framework for working with local and international teams, as well as individuals on the team, as they navigate through dissolution and transition of their teams and organization.  The AI approach evokes the necessity of involving stakeholders from throughout the organization.  With Global Holdings Corporation transition from holding company to integrative corporation, it is essential that the individual organization acknowledges past successes, addresses issues of uncertainty, and fosters a vibrant global organization that recognizes sameness as well as unique national and organizational cultural diversity. 

Application of Appreciative Inquiry to accomplish team transition & dissolution

AI is a method of Action Research that asks people and teams to take action on the situation in which they find themselves, and by taking action reflect on what has worked and how effective they have been (Johnson & Johnson, 2006).  Questions are based on what has worked and becomes the foundation for the future, to leverage strengths and create possibilities (Wildflower, 2006). 

Whitney & Cooperrider (2000) recommend the AI Summit Approach, which introduces possibility for change through the whole system (i.e. organization).  The benefits “whole system positive change” range from building relationships and partnerships to building businesses and global organizations.   The outcome is what Global Holdings Corporation will need to achieve as it brings together  disparate organizations, systems, processes, and knowledge.  Individuals participating in the AI Summit should be aware of their sense of purpose, and focus on Summit goals.  The organization will have to determine whether it is practical for all team members to participate or whether a cross-section is sufficient to ensure a diverse cultural and geographic mix able to convey the organizations’ vision and values

AI is comprised of four dimensions: Discovery, Dream, Design, and Destiny. The recommendation for Global Holdings will be a two-stage approach to navigating the four dimensions.  Stage One will be to facilitate the model for each organizational unit to reflect on questions related to dissolution of the units’ independence, the transition to interdependence between the subsidiary units, and accountability that results from new corporate governance.

In Stage Two, representatives from a cross-section of each unit will be facilitated through the process a second time with additional emphasis on intercultural opportunities.  After Stage Two, participants will become champions of the strategies and action plans at their home locations, communicating and assisting in implementation.


Discovery is the first AI dimension, and involves the participants choosing a topic for investigation. Suggested topics might include:

  • What have been high points of working for the company?
  • What has been the most pleasurable part of your work?
  • What aspects of company life would you like to share with your new peers?
  • What excites you about being a part of a global organization?
  • What do you most value about the company organization and your peers?


The object of open-ended questions is to focus on legacy, successes, and the strength of character and values that the local business units and the organization are bringing to Global Holdings (Orem, Binkert, & Clancy, 2007, and Whitney & Cooperrider, 2000).


Dreaming, in the second AI dimension, involves each subsidiary unit envisioning what impact their successes, core skills, and values will have on Global Holdings  and on their peer subsidiary units.  Participants will share their dreams with other team members, and role-play how they would share this information.  The dream dimension provides an opportunity for the group to envision where they will be in the future (Orem, Binkert, & Clancy, 2007).


Designing is the third AI dimension, and involves facilitating the identified successes and making them actionable.  Each group will develop a framework for introducing its vision, which will be evaluated, prioritized, and modified locally.  A definition of success is needed so that the teams will know how well they are doing, what success ought to look like, and how each member will play a role in making the dream a reality (Orem, Binkert, & Clancy, 2007).


Destiny is the fourth AI dimension, and involves creating an environment for inspiration and support (Whitney & Cooperrider, 2000) as the group prepares to take its message to Stage Two.  Team representatives will be selected, and this also is a good time for the group to agree on vision, values, and outcomes that the group cannot live without, and which can be flexible and accommodating (Fontaine, 2006).   

Stage Two Implementation of AI

In Stage One, the companies held by Global Holdings will have individually been facilitated through the AI Process.  With some exceptions, each local culture was known and shared by all.  Over the years, the employees, teams, and the company were assimilated into a national culture, integrated and reconciled (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1998). 

The complexity presented in Stage Two encompasses integrating and navigating how disparate cultures will integrate and reconcile.  During the facilitated sessions, each business unit will be making a case for what Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner (1998) identify as their preferred value orientation:

  • Universalism vs. particularism (rules versus relationship)
  • Communitarianism vs. Individualism (the group versus the individual)
  • Neutral vs. Emotional (the range of feeling expressed
  • Diffuse vs. Specific (the range of involvement)
  • Achievement vs. Ascription (how status is accorded)


The tips identified by Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner (1998) for recognizing these differences will need to be facilitated for each of the AI dimensions to ensure that intercultural recognition is realized.  Also key will be helping groups to become aware of the ecology of their intercultural interactions.  Perhaps the most important success indicator coming out of the facilitated AI sessions is a heightened awareness and acknowledgement of the need to resolve cultural differences, and a governance model dictating how differences and conflicts will be resolved during and after the transition (Fontaine, 2006).

AI Success

Whitney & Cooperrider (2000) provide a number of conditions and insights for AI success. Global Holdings should be aware of the importance of ensuring that participation occurs from throughout the organization and that egos are left at the door; all voices are valued, full attendance is achieved, and the flow of the sessions takes participants from views of the past, awareness of the present, and a vision and action for the future.   If each business units’ participants follow the process and are open to their journey, then their inspiration for action will be perceived as authentic by their intercultural brethren, and a sense of presence (Fontaine, 2006) of what is possible during the transition will be experienced.


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Trompenaars, F. and Hampden-Turner, C. (1998). Riding the waves of culture (2nd ed.). London:                                         Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Wagner, C.: Wiki: A Technology for Conversational Knowledge Management and Group Collaboration. Communications of the Association for Information Systems 13 (2004)

WCC/HI (2002) in McCuiston, V.E., Ross Wooldridge, B.  & Pierce, C.K. (2004).  Leading the Diverse Workforce:  Profit, prospects and progress.  Leadership & Organizational Development Journal, 25(1) 73 – 92.

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Wildflower, Leni (2006). Program Manual: Theories and Applications of Evidence Based Coaching.






Achievement · 33

Action Research · 31

AI Summit · 31

Application of Appreciative Inquiry to accomplish team transition & dissolution · 31

Appreciative Inquiry · 21

Ascription · 33

Ascriptive versus Achievement · 15

Assignment ecology · 13

Attract the best and the brightest · 7

attribution conflict · 27


Bain & Company · 17

Benefits of Diversity · 6

blogs · 23

Blogs · 24

Brainstorming · 21

Build contact into your daily actions and duties · 8

Building Cultural Integration and Awareness · 14

Bureau of National Affairs · 7


centralization · 17

Champion diversity · 8

Chudoba · 22, 24

Collaboration · 24

Collaboration technology · 23

collective understanding · 10

collectivism · 18

collectivist cultures · 27

Communicate, communicate, and communicate · 8

Communication · 24

Communitarianism · 33

competitive advantage · 19

Competitive advantage · 6

conflict · 26

conflict management · 26

Conflict Management · 26

Cooperrider & Srivastva · 31

Cranfield Executive Competences survey · 18

cross-cultural assignment · 11

cross-cultural training · 12

Cross-cultural vs. Intercultural Training · 11

cultural differences · 18

cultural dilemmas · 9

cultural stereotypes · 13

cultural values · 26

Culture shock · 11

customized” strategy · 28


decentralization · 17

Decision-Making · 17

Design · 31, 32

Destiny · 31, 32

Diffuse · 33

Discovery · 31

Diversity · 6

diversity in international management teams · 18

Diversity Inc. · 6

Diversity Management · 6, 17

Diversity, Inc · 7

Dream · 31, 32


Earley and Gibson · 9, 10, 15

ECM · 24

ecology · 13

ecoshock · 12, 13, 15

Emotional · 33

Employee satisfaction and loyalty · 7

Enhancing Leadership Effectiveness with a Diverse Workforce · 7

Enterprise Content Management · 23

Excelling at Decision-Making Equals Effective Performance Organizations · 18

expatriate · 11


facebook · 23

Facilitating Technology · 22

femininity · 18

five actions for managers and leaders · 8

five guidelines for managers, leaders, and followers · 7

Fontaine · 11, 12, 13, 15, 22, 23, 27, 29, 32, 33

framework for analysing and understanding national cultural differences · 17


global marketplace · 26

Global Village · 22

Globalization · 19


Haapaniemi · 22

handheld computers · 25

Headquarters Relationships with Foreign Divisions · 17

Higgs · 19

high performance global capability · 19

high performance organizations · 17

Hofstede · 17, 18, 22

holistic approach · 19

host country · 13


Improved bottom line · 6

Individualism · 18, 33

Individualist versus Communitarian · 14

individualistic cultures · 26

information processing · 10

Inkpen & Dinur · 23

intercultural training · 11

international management teams · 19

into Hiring Practices and Team Selection · 9


Jamrog · 6, 7

Jehn and Mannix · 26

Johnson & Johnson · 9, 31


Kakabadse · 18


Leaders can be at any level or function · 7

Leading and Managing a Diverse Workforce · 6

Lewis, Passmore, & Cantore · 21

LinkedIn · 23

local and global facilitating technology · 22


Majidi · 22, 23

Makinen · 22

Manage and lead by walking around · 8

Masculinity · 18

McCormack · 7

McCuiston, Ross Wooldridge, & Pierce · 6, 7, 8


Neutral · 33

Neutral versus Affective · 14

Not everyone can be a leader · 7


One size does not fit all · 7

operational skills · 28

Orem, Binkert, & Clancy · 32


particularism · 33

portals · 23

Power-distance · 18

Preparing Employees for Transcultural Competency · 15

Preparing for optimal global facilitating technology · 23

problem-solving · 26

Problem-Solving · 20

Process conflict · 26

Ptak, Cooper, & Breslin · 11

Puck, Kitler and Wright · 12


R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr. in Hesselbein & Goldsmith · 17

Rahim · 26, 27

Raman · 25

Relationship conflict · 26

Representation · 6

Requirements Gathering · 24

Rodrigues · 17

Rogers & Blenko · 19

Roosevelt Thomas Consulting & Training, Inc · 6


Self-awareness · 13, 26

sense of presence · 28, 33

Shaw · 21

SHRM · 7

signaling languages · 27

Silverstein · 7

Skype · 23

smart phones · 25

Society for Human Resource Management and Fortune magazine (SHRM · 6

Specific · 33

Specific versus Diffuse · 14

Sponsor diversity · 8

Stage Two Implementation of AI · 32

Stella Ting-Toomey · 28

stereotypes · 13

Stress management · 13

Superior business performance · 7

superordinate identity · 27

Suutari & Burch · 12


Task conflict · 26

task ecology · 11, 13, 27, 29

Team Evaluation Process · 30

Team Transition and Dissolution · 31

Team-Building · 14

The American Institute for Managing Diversity (AIMD) · 6

The cost of ignoring diversity · 7

The Handbook of Intercultural Training · 12

The Nature and Impact of National Cultural Differences in Decision-Making · 17

training · 11

Training and Deployment · 25

transcultural competency · 15

Trompenaars · 13

Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner · 10, 11, 14, 15, 32, 33

Trust · 28


Uncertainty avoidance · 18

Universalism · 33

Universalist versus Particularist · 14


Wagner · 24

Whitney & Cooperrider · 31, 32, 33

Wikis · 23, 24

Wildflower · 31


YouTube · 23