In the recent DataQuest article Increasing Cross-Cultural Effectiveness Shanti consultants David Peace and Benjamin Bowling discussed the impact of cultural differences on global IT teams. “Effective communication and leadership across cultures is increasingly being recognized as a key factor in raising productivity and profitability in the global workspace,” note the authors. They point to a study conducted by Vantage Partners which indicates that differences in business culture is the most challenging aspect effecting offshore relationships.
What can be done to effectively manage these cultural differences? Increasing our own awareness of our cultural values is a good place to start. The more aware we are of our own paradigms, the better equipped we will be to interact with people who act and think differently. One way to increase our self-awareness is to read books about your own culture like those in the Culture Shock or Culture Smart series. Another positive step forward is to encourage cross-cultural training workshops for all members of the virtual team.