11 Jul For this assignment, you will use the following case study.Vandaveer, V. V. (2012). Dyadic team development across cultures: A case study. Consulting Psycho
For this assignment, you will use the following case study.Vandaveer, V. V. (2012). Dyadic team development across cultures: A case study. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 64(4), 279–294. https://libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=85301202&site=ehost-live&scope=siteGiven this scenario, include the following topics:
- Explain how culture can affect perceptions of team members in a group.
- Discuss strategies for working with leaders or team members who originate from a different culture than you.
- Expound on the significance of using the best type of verbiage to communicate with other members of a team in order to prove successful in task completion.
- Share the benefits of connecting with humor to build team camaraderie.
- Explain how personality traits, social factors, and styles of leadership can affect the competence and loyalty of a team member.
- Determine the different career options an employee might consider when having trouble working with a cohort or leader of a department.
Formulate your response to these questions using APA format in a minimum of a two-page paper that includes at least two outside sources. Therefore, two additional sources, in addition to the case study, are required. Please use the CSU Online Library databases to find academic journals as sources.
DYADIC TEAM DEVELOPMENT ACROSS CULTURES: A CASE STUDY
Vicki V. Vandaveer The Vandaveer Group, Inc., Houston, Texas
This case concerns 2 high potential leaders from vastly different cultures who came together as supervisor and supervisee as part of a large corporate merger of 2 American global companies. The case recounts the rocky start of their relationship and the process, facilitated initially by better understanding the cultures of their respective upbringings that ultimately led to their finding their way to having an effective working relationship. Societal cultural dimensions from well-known cross-cultural research served as a helpful framework and tools for helping this dyadic team communicate more effectively and better understand each other.
Keywords: leadership, cross-cultural, culture, dyadic team development, consulting
The consulting project described in this case study arose as part of a long-term consulting engagement with a large U.S. international company. The names of the participants in the case and some of the locations have been changed in order to ensure anonymity. The author-consultant had been working with a man I will call Steve, president of a global business unit (GBU), for several years—first as his executive development coach, then in an ongoing role as a trusted advisor on behavioral, performance, and leadership aspects of the business.
The consultant’s contract with the company was an “umbrella” contract for “organizational change management consulting services” associated with the merger of two large international companies. The overarching contract generally described the scope and nature of the work to be performed and was appended with “Statements of Work” (SOW) for the specific services provided to different business units (BUs). For this particular engagement, because the consultant was already working with the BU President and his leadership team (LT), no additional SOW was deemed necessary, because the description of services included leader coaching, team development, and subteam development as needed.
An important aspect of the context in which this case occurred was the merger. In addition to the normal responsibilities of running the business and meeting financial reporting deadlines, managers were working feverishly to effectively merge operations and two very different corporate cultures. I was working with the overall merger strategy team and leading the change management team, and was working with the merger teams of several BUs. Everything was urgent; everyone was working 16–18 hour days; and the work required to lead—and to overcome organizational immunity to—significant change was all-consuming for all.
Steve was a designated “high potential” (HIPO) manager. He had been promoted twice in the 5 years that I had been working with him as he advanced from Regional Vice President (VP) to the
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Vicki V. Vandaveer, 426 West Cowan Drive, Houston, TX 77007. E-mail: [email protected]
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research © 2013 American Psychological Association 2012, Vol. 64, No. 4, 279–294 1065-9293/13/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0031652
Executive VP’s Advisor to president of a GBU. He was not an immediately open person naturally, and it took some time before he opened enough with me that I could add value in his executive development. Over time, I became his trusted advisor and he made significant progress in looking deeply at himself and allowing me to help him enhance his already strong leadership effectiveness. His primary executive development need identified by the senior leaders of the company was to have an international assignment. Thus far, all of his assignments had been in the U.S. corporate headquarters and several field assignments as he had come up the ranks from engineer to manager to now a senior level leadership role. His next assignment would be international. At the time of this project, he was in his first year as the GBU’s president with the expectation of moving after two to four years.
After 6 months in his new role, Steve made some changes in his LT for purposes of (a) developmental reassignment, (b) bringing talented people from other countries and cultures onto his team to have representation of GBU countries on the Headquarters (HQ) LT, and (c) providing identified HIPOs within their respective countries with the kinds of developmental experiences only obtained by working in U.S. corporate HQ. He also wanted experience in leading a multicultural team prior to taking an international assignment. He used the company’s worldwide staffing process to review candidates and select people for key roles on his team—one of which was a Financial Planning Manager. For that role he selected a HIPO woman from a developing Muslim country, whom I will call Misha. She had been working for several years as the Financial Planning Manager FPM for the Asia/Pacific Region, based in Hong Kong.
I was pleased to learn that Misha had been selected, both for Steve’s team’s sake and hers. Over the past 8 years, I had observed and worked with her on a number of occasions in two of her Regional Planning Manager assignments: (a) Africa–Middle East region, based in East Africa, and (b) in her current assignment—Asia/Pacific region—based in Hong Kong. We worked together in the Africa–Middle East region on two different initiatives: (a) LT development of the multicultural team of which she was a member and (b) implementation of the new performance management system, which among other things, required cultural adaptation of the behavioral indicator ratings (i.e., “behavioral anchors”) in each of the different cultures—to support the company’s Core Values and Corporate Compliance Guidelines. Cultural adaptation meant wording the definitions and behavioral anchors on the rating scales so that the intended meaning would be conveyed. For example, one dimension rated was originally worded as “Demonstrates respect for others’ cultures.” In some cultures the term respect for was replaced with acceptance of, because, although there was not genuine “respect” for certain customs in other cultures (e.g., treatment of women), employees were expected to “accept” that that was the custom, and therefore not criticize nor engage in behaviors that demonstrated lack of “acceptance” while working in or visiting that country. In other cultures to “accept” others’ customs means to “adopt as our own”—clearly not intended; thus, “demonstrate (show) respect” conveyed the intended behavior.
Misha was adept at recognizing English terminology that had very different meanings across different cultures. I had had several other opportunities as well to work with her on different initiatives, including cross-cultural LT development with the teams of which she was a member in United Arab Emirates and later in Kenya. She was obviously very bright, perceptive, and respected by and had influence with her colleagues. In LT meetings she was the focal point when the conversation concerned the Region’s finances. Her demeanor was quiet, and she was always very respectful in talking with everyone—no matter their level in the organization. At the same time it was clear to any observer that members of the LT sought out and respected her judgment in business analysis and planning.
With a bachelor’s degree in finance from a well-respected university in the United Kingdom, Misha had lived and worked very successfully in five different countries in the past 15 years. Although she had had one assignment in the U.S. for a small Joint Venture (JV) company prior to the mega-merger of the JV’s parent companies, she had never had an assignment in a large U.S. Corporate Headquarters. A true “citizen of the world,” Misha had become quite Westernized in her dress and demeanor and had departed considerably from the behavioral norms of most women in her home culture. After she had received her degree, she went to work for her present employer
company and happily took assignments in different countries. She told me that she would never go back to her home country to work, as there were no jobs for women there at the same level of responsibility and pay as her current and recent jobs with this multinational company. She looked forward to having a U.S. corporate HQ assignment.
A Rough Start
Six months into her new assignment as Financial Planning Manager, reporting to Steve, I received an urgent call from Steve that he needed my help with Misha. He said that she was “floundering” in her new role and he did not know what to do about it. We met to discuss the problems, and I learned that Steve had changed her job title (and responsibilities) to Manager of Strategy and Planning. As Financial Planning Manager, Misha’s responsibilities were to collect the budgeting and financial information from each region every month, analyze the data, develop reports with graphic profiles for use in BU planning, and work with BU regional and country managers to understand the results and trends. This was a very analytical set of responsibilities that required effective commu- nication and (supportive) relational skills. As Manager of Strategy and Planning, she was expected to work with the other members of Steve’s LT, facilitating their developing BU strategy. This (to Steve, “minor”) change was actually a major one, as some substantially different skillsets were required for actively facilitating strategy development among some very strong and competitive Western regional leaders, each of whom had different agendas, drivers (i.e., balanced scorecard performance metrics), and needs.
Perspectives of the Leader
In our initial meeting, Steve acknowledged that Misha was “a very hard worker, a team oriented leader, caring and supportive of her team, and had quiet confidence.” However, as a facilitator of strategy development, she was failing miserably. The entire LT was affected, no one happy with the process of strategy development, everyone “dug in” to their positions. No one was willing to “give up” anything, and several had come to Steve to complain.
Steve asked me to conduct confidential interviews with Misha and each member of his LT to assess the issues and make a recommendation to him about how to resolve the problem. I saw that (a) he was envisioning a kind of 180 degree feedback (i.e., from peers and supervisor) on Misha’s effectiveness (a very U.S./Western methodology, characteristic of individualistic cultures), (b) he perhaps hadn’t fully understood the significance of her job redesign on her performance effective- ness, and (c) some “misfires” in communication were occurring between the two of them—likely at least in part attributable to cultural misunderstandings. I suggested that I first talk with Misha to get her perspective on how things were going with her job, with Steve, and with Steve’s team—and then propose an approach. I explained that one-on-one interviewing to get individuals’ perspectives on Misha’s effectiveness and the effectiveness of the relationships between the LT and Misha, and between Steve and Misha, is a very Western practice that could feel quite threatening to someone from a collectivist culture; and that it could make the situation much worse if cultural norms were violated. We agreed that the process needed to do no harm. I wanted first to understand Misha’s perspectives (I did not assume collectivist orientation, given her history, but needed to be sure) and those of her small team, to learn her thoughts about how to approach the problem, and discuss with her the suggested plan. Then I would propose a method to Steve. Steve readily agreed to these initial steps.
Misha appeared glad to see me. She admitted being “completely at a loss” to know how to please Steve; and she expressed fear of failing—for the first time in her life. She talked very openly about the problems she was experiencing with Steve and with his LT. She also expressed difficulty in adjusting to U.S. culture. As friendly as people appeared to be, at the end of the day everyone went home and no one ever invited her to their homes—something she had become accustomed to in every other country in which she had lived as an expatriate.
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I explored with Misha the (admittedly Western) approach of achieving an effective understand- ing of the issues by first assessing the problem by obtaining the perspectives of each of the key stakeholders, beginning with her and Steve, then including members of her team and Steve’s LT. This process could help identify the conflict dynamics and likely causes of the problems. This approach, I explained, would better enable us to design and target an appropriate and effective intervention. I shared with her the kinds of open-ended questions I would ask of each LT and SPT member, explaining how individual confidentiality would be protected and how the information would be reported and used. I noted that both Misha and Steve would see the results, and that there would likely then be one team development intervention between Misha and Steve, facilitated by me. Reviewing the results separately with each of them, I explained, would allow me to help prepare each of them for having effective communication with each other in the initial team development meeting. I asked Misha how she felt about this approach and was prepared to come at the problem a different way if she was at all uncomfortable. We knew each other well enough that she was comfortable with and trusted me. Misha said she was not only comfortable with the approach but was eager to know what others were thinking and perceiving. She reminded me that she had been educated in the United Kingdom and had been dealing with Westerners for the past 20-plus years and that she was very motivated to be successful in this U.S. international company. We both laughed; of course she had been “dealing with Westerners” for some time—and quite successfully. Her bosses in the other countries had been Westerners (Australian and white South African); however, they had treated her more like family.
Results of the Needs Assessment Interviews
Excerpts from Steve’s and Misha’s responses to the needs assessment interviews—in the language used by them—are shown in Table 1. The underlining indicates key terms that clearly indicated assumptions, expectations, and/or personal or cultural values.
The language used is revealing. Steve used verbs in describing what he expected Misha to do, such as drive, push, challenge, take control, exert her influence—all characteristic of Hofstede’s (2001, 2011) and others’ cultural dimensions of individualism (as opposed to collectivism), lower power distance, lower uncertainty avoidance, and low paternalism. Misha’s words included family, all on same team, Steve is the boss, work so hard to do exactly what he says to do in the way he says to do it—remindful of the cultural dimension of collectivism (as opposed to individualism), paternalism, higher power distance, and higher uncertainty avoidance (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004; Hofstede, 2002, 2011; Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1998, 2004; Triandis, 2002).
In applying Hofstede’s terms, it is important to note that the research approach used was, as described by Hofstede, “sociological, not psychological. It does not compare different personalities, but different societal contexts within which children grow up and develop their personalities. It is not about individuals, but about the constraints within which, in different countries, a psychology to relatedness should be developed” (House et al., 2004; Minkov & Hofstede, 2012). Neither scientifically nor practically is it appropriate to merely translate these cultural dimensions into assumptions that they apply to every individual within or from a given culture, for there is vast variability among individuals—just as in our own culture—particularly, as in this case, when an individual has been educated and has lived and worked for years in cultures very different from her home country. However, it is also true that individuals who have grown up in a given culture, with rare exception, do have deeply embedded values arising from their experiences and learnings from their parents and others in that culture that remain a part of them for as long as they live. Those deeply ingrained cultural values, assumptions, and beliefs tend to manifest when one is experiencing significant stress, such as may be caused by living and working in a different culture, feeling isolated, feeling unsupported personally by the manager, and for the first time sensing or fearing failure.
Familiar with Hofstede’s (2001), Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner’s (1998), and Triandis’s (2002) work, and with the GLOBE study (House et al., 2004), I immediately and automatically associated Steve’s and Misha’s respective words in describing the difficulties each had with each other with the cultural dimensions of individualism versus collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and paternalism. As a consultant working to help this dyadic team achieve better relationship and perfor- mance effectiveness, the research pioneered by the work of these researchers served as a helpful framework for use in helping Steve and Misha to better understand each other, resolve their differences, and find an effective solution to the problems.
Hofstede’s work has been both heralded as seminal and criticized methodologically,primarily for overreliance on a large global sample from one large multinational company. I tend to favor the consensus of GLOBE study researchers: “The importance of Hofstede’s (1980) study for cross-cultural research cannot be underestimated, as it was the first large-scale empirical project to put these abstract constructs on the empirical map. . .[it] provided a conceptual roof under which existing studies could fall, as compared to the atheoretical stance that had previously characterized the cross-cultural literature in management” (House et al., 2004, p. 441) because in my experience, practically it frequently makes sense to people who are trying to communicate and relate across cultures. And each time that happens, my own appreciation for Hofstede’s conceptualizations is further reinforced. Definitions of these societal cultural dimensions (Hofstede, 2001; House, et al.,, 2004; Triandis, 2002; Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 2004; James, Chen, & Cropanzano, 1996) are provided in Table 2. A number of other researchers have
Table 1 Key Excerpts From the Initial Interviews With the President and Manager of Strategy and Planning (MSP)
Not happy with MSP’s progress—increasingly frustrated
Financial Planning Manager frustrated with President
• “I need her to drive strategy.” • “He is never satisfied . . . is always saying ‘we don’t do X very well’. . . trivializes what we all do.”
• “She needs to push the Leadership Team.” • “I’ve tried everything to meet his expectations— my team and I work so hard to do exactly what he says to do in the way he says to do it; and even then he is dissatisfied.”
• “She’s not showing confidence—is very tentative”
• “There is never any encouragement from him . . . nothing to let us know we’re on the right track.”
• “She needs to challenge them—take control—exert her influence”
• “He pushes hard—but I’m not sure he even knows what he really wants.”
• “When I make a suggestion, she goes away and then brings back exactly what I said to do—not thinking for herself.”
• “He blames me for the Leadership Team’s refusal to make any compromises for the greater good of the whole GBU [global business unit]. We operate like independent cowboys—fighting each other to ‘win’ individually. Don’t they realize we are all on the same team?”
• A manager at her level should be thinking outside the box and suggesting to me how best to achieve what I’ve asked.
• Steve is the boss. It is his responsibility to get his team to work together to come up with the strategy. My job is to facilitate the process; but I can’t make them work together and compromise.
• This is the first time I have had a boss that I felt didn’t care about me and want to help me be successful. Always before I felt like our Leadership Teams were family. Here it’s everyone for himself.
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Table 2 Relevant Societal Cultural Dimensions—Definitions and Example Characteristics
Societal cultural dimension/definition Typical characteristics
Individualism/collectivism Individualism: The degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members (Hofstede, 2001)
• Ties between individuals loose/individual achievement rewarded
• Collectivism I—(institutional) extent organizational and societal institutional practices encourage and reward collective distribution of resources and collective action (House et al, 2004)
• Individuals expected to look after themselves
• Collectivism II—(in-group) degree individuals express pride, loyalty and cohesiveness in their organizations, families (House et al.,, 2004)
• Employees expected to be self-reliant/”self- starters,” to demonstrate initiative
• Organizational rewards based on merit, results • Individual competitiveness • “I” emphasized Collectivism • Strong, cohesive work groups/Group is more
important than any one individual • Close, long-term commitment to the group/loyalty
paramount—overrides other rules • Employer/employee relationships are perceived in
moral terms (like a family link) • Hiring/promotion decisions consider the
employee’s in-group • Everyone takes responsibility for fellow group
members • In-group competitiveness with out-groups • “We” emphasized
Power Distance Low: Extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a (country, organization) expect and accept that power is distributed unequally. (Hofstede, 2001)
• Inequalities minimized/decentralization/status symbols less evident
The degree to which members of an organization or society expect and agree that power should be stratified and concentrated at higher levels of an organization or government. (House et al., 2004)
• Power bases are transient and sharable (e.g., skill, knowledge)/upward mobility
• Differences noted between societal values and business/organizational practices (House et al., 2004, pp. 540–543)
• Power seen as a source of corruption, coercion, and dominance
• Ideal boss: democratic or participative/authoritative High: • Inequalities considered desirable/greater reliance by
less powerful on the powerful • Centralization/hierarchy/status symbols/wide pay
differentials/limited upward mobility • Power seen as providing social order, relational
harmony, role stability (GLOBE) • Employees expect to be told what to do • Ideal boss: benevolent autocrat
contributed substantially to current understanding of cross-cultural dynamics. However, even if I had the luxury of time to do a thorough literature review at that time, I would not have done anything differently relative to the intervention. Although cultural misunderstandings very likely explained a certain amount of Steve’s and Misha’s communication and relationship “misfires” and the disappointing performance of the Manager of Strategy and Planning, other factors (e.g., significant change of job responsibilities subsequent to placing Misha in her position; insufficient clarity on Steve’s part with his LT regarding
Table 2 (continued)
Societal cultural dimension/definition Typical characteristics
Uncertainty avoidance Low: Extent members of a culture feel threatened or
anxious by ambiguous or unknown situations, and have created beliefs and institutions to avoid (Hofstede, 2001)
• Comfort with ambiguity, flatter organizational structure, fewer rules and processes
Extent ambiguous situations are threatening to individuals, to which rules and order are preferred, and to which uncertainty is tolerated in society. (Sully de Luque an Javidan—in House et al., 2004, pp. 602–645)
• Consistent with more team oriented leadership— and with participative leadership
High: • High need for structure—rules, systems, pyramidal
structure • Consistent with hierarchical organizational
structure, rules, procedures At individual level of analysis, high uncertainty
avoidance is associated with: Less tolerance for ambiguity Anxiety, stress, neuroticism Feedback seeking
Paternalism Low: (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, other Western nations)
Paternalistic leadership “combines strong discipline and authority with fatherly benevolence and moral integrity couched in a ‘personalistic’ atmosphere . . . (and) is composed of three main elements: authoritarianism, benevolence, and moral leadership” (Farh & Cheng, 2000).
(Typical in lower power distance and individualistic cultures)
“Paternalistic leadership refers to a hierarchical relationship in which the leader takes personal interest in the workers’ professional and personal lives in a manner resembling a parent, and expects loyalty and respect in return” (Gelfand, Erez, & Aycan, 2007)
• At the individual level—considerable variability in paternalism based on personality
Pakistan, India, Turkey, China, Taiwan, and most Latin American societies have strong paternalistic values. Leaders are expected to act like parents—take care of employees and their families. (James, Chen, & Cropanzano, 1996)
• As a cultural characteristic, leaders are not expected to treat employees like family—can be seen as favoritism, conflict of interest, or something else that is inappropriate
High: (Pakistan, India, Turkey, China, Taiwan) (Typical in high power distance and collectivist
cultures) • Most effective leaders are both nurturant and task
oriented—paternalistic and authoritative • Leaders treat employees like family—look out for
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expectations and “non-negotiables”) he expected them to “step up” as leaders and make decisions about their budgets that were in the interest of the whole GBU and Company), and so forth) were also operating in the conflict between them. This case study emphasizes the cross-cultural issues, in keeping with the theme of this special issue of CPJ.
Table 3 shows the associations I made between Steve’s and Misha’s respective statements and the societal cultural dimensions that were likely implied. Their statements served as indicators of their assumptions, expectations, needs and values.
Process and Dynamics of the Consulting Project
Having completed the interviews with Steve and Misha, I proceeded to continue the need assessment by interviewing the members of their respective teams. The consulting project process is described below.
1. Need assessment interviews—members of Steve’s LT (n � 8) and members of Misha’s planning (now strategy and planning) team (n � 5)
• Confidential interviews—results aggregated and summarized by team; individuals’ re- sponses not identified nor identifiable.
• Covered a range of relevant issues: what is currently going very well in the BU; what is not going so well; perspectives on causes (� and –), enablers of effectiveness, and obstacles; perspectives on team dynamics, leadership (style, clarity, effectiveness, etc.), and processes, structure of GBU; their own contributions to the level of successes, effectiveness of the team; views regarding what is needed to enhance the effectiveness and performance of the BU and the LT; and so forth.
2. Review of respondents
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