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Managerial Guidelines

  • • GVT members need to be receptive to cultural differences by responding to actions immediately and sincerely; do not delay responses or feedback because it may result in miscommunication.
  • • GVT members must be willing to adjust their responses and demonstrate culturally fit behaviors that are congruent with their thoughts and feelings when faced with a difficult situation. Team members should exercise restraint and not over-react in a conflict.
  • • GVT members need to acquire a cultural knowledge that is allinclusive or holistic, rather than just a random set of isolated facts. Inaccurate information and shallow knowledge can distort one’s behavioral choices and consequently produce cultural blunders. Effective cross-cultural training can provide this comprehensive foundation.

Culturally Attuned Guidelines for Creating Innovative Strategies

Low context GVT members need to ensure that team charters and goals are defined through productive discussions in the early stages that involve all members of the team. Such inclusive measures taken at the “forming” stage will encourage the formation of trust among members, since teams that practice engagement and participation create an environment of collaboration. Low context GVT members should not treat the team’s goals as purely individual responsibilities;

rather, they need to act as team players. For example, if they have completed their own assigned tasks, they can assist others, acting in a col- lectivistic manner.

  • Low context GVT leaders need to ensure clear communication with high context team members. For example, use several different technological platforms including both synchronous and asynchronous. High context members usually appreciate being offered a variety of communication platforms because this demonstrates sensitivity to their communication preferences.
  • High context members need to learn to actively engage during team discussions and brainstorming sessions and to risk offering creative and innovative ideas, either verbally or in writing. They need to get comfortable taking ownership of their ideas and expressing their thoughts and feelings openly. They cannot expect people to continuously provide guidelines and instructions, or read between the lines and correctly infer what they intended to propose. In a virtual environment, everything needs to be explicitly spelled out. Non-verbal cues are of limited use and relying on them can cause miscommunica- tion. There should be no guessing games; teams should be built upon clear communication.
  • High context members need to acknowledge that in a GVT environment, establishing rapport may have to take second place due to time constraints. It takes longer to develop relationships with strangers in virtual setting, and GVTs must often complete their work in a limited time frame. Instead of their usual relationship-orientation, they need to focus on task-oriented behaviors to earn the trust and acknowledgement from low context members. The ascription orientation that values “who I know or affiliated with” is less practical in GVTs than “what I can contribute”—the achievement orientation.

The preceding three sections discussed the three components of the C.A.B. cultural model—cognitive, affective, and behavioral—in order to explore the new praxes that need to be developed for GVTs. We also discussed the three kinds of intelligences required to build on innovative praxes: cognitive intelligence (IQ), emotional intelligence (EQ), and cultural intelligence (CQ). Each of these components and intelligences must be considered at each of the classic teamwork stages of forming, norming, storming, performing, and adjourning (Tuckman & Jensen, 1977), but tailored to a GVT context. The most critical stage is the first, forming, since it sets the tone and direction for the GVT’s work. A second critical stage is storming, which is when teams are likely to encounter conflicts and crises. Cultural challenges will arise in all the stages, but mastering the different forms of intelligence is sure to enhance GVT performance.

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