Today’s workforce

The September edition of CSC World has some interesting work from colleagues in the areas of:

  • Behavioural adaptation within cross-cultural virtual teams (pdf)
  • Managing the multigenerational IT workforce (pdf)
  • Developing strategies for successful enterprise collaboration (pdf)

The cross-cultural virtual teams article was really interesting to me, I manage a team like that.  The article was based on some research carried out by Danielle Anawati (CSC) and Annemieke Craig (Deakin University).  Some interesting quotes:

“Team members with different cultural backgrounds
can have communication styles that differ and
can have different ways of conveying information.
This can lead to team members struggling
with cross-cultural communication, as they have
not considered cultural differences nor considered
that this may affect the team’s performance”

The research also included a survey as well as a review of papers.  When we look at how we adapt during meetings, look how we adapt for time zones compared religion, or the way we write:

image 

And when the respondents were asked about the media of communication look how basic most of the communication mechanisms are, and also that 95% of the communication is by email yet almost 40% of respondents made no change to their writing to deal with the cultural differences:

image

I’d recommend anyone who is part of a cross-cultural remote team to read the research.

The final note I’ll select from the paper and something that is close to what I try and do is to socialise to understand more of the people in my team:

“participants believed socializing was
“important” (Participant 63) and would benefit the
team by opening a “window into the other team
members’ cultures” (Participant 8). Weather, religious
holidays, music, food, movies, personal activities,
priorities, and interesting cultural facts were
suggested as good social topics to assist in cultural
understanding”

Only today I learned something of the festival one of my team would take holiday to attend in November.

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