discussion paper #7

To succeed in the global economy today and remain competitive in a global marketplace, more and more companies are relying on a geographically dispersed workforce to build teams that offer expertise from around the world and draw on the benefits of international diversity and people from multicultures. However, as multinational companies are finding, managing global teams creates its own set of unique challenges, particularly one that is referred to as the “level of social distance”—the degree of emotional connection among team members (Neeley, 2015).

Scenario: You are the leader of a recently formed multinational global marketing team for a U.S.-based pharmaceutical company with 17 members residing in different geographical locations coming from diverse cultural backgrounds: Boston headquarters (8 people), Sydney (5 people), Singapore/Tokyo (3 people), and Moscow (1 person). You and your team are charged with developing effective strategies for reaching a new pharmaceutical market in a challenging location. You realize that a key strategy to reaching the project goals will be the extent to which you can successfully manage and mitigate social distancing among your global team members.

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In your initial post, recommend ways to successfully manage and mitigate social distancing of your global working team. Specifically, select three of the following five aspects and discuss specific challenges and possible strategies towards creating an effective global working team that exhibits a high degree of cross-cultural communication and connections:

Structure and the Perception of Power—structural factors such as the location and number of sites where the global team members are based and the number of employees who work at each site, as well as the perception of which site has the most power.
Process and the Importance of Empathy—the way in which the global team members will communicate with each other on a regular basis while creating empathy among team members.
Language and the Fluency Gap—the way in which the global team will deal with varying levels of fluency with the chosen common language and the resulting gaps in fluency.
Identity and the Mismatch of Perceptions—how variables such as age, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion, occupation, political ties, etc., will influence global team members’ perceptions in different ways.
Technology and the Connection Challenge—the ramifications of the global team members using instant and delayed technology to communicate such as email, text messaging, videoconferencing, teleconferencing, social media, etc.

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