Bilingual Business Leader Program,Core Curriculum of Department of Business

EAP 2 Students Consider the Role of Culture in Global Teaming

Updated on: May 10, 2014|  PrintPrint

M.Sweet2.JPGのサムネール画像Michelle Sweet, a business and intercultural  trainer from Canning Professional, visited Rikkyo University on April 25, 2014 to speak to the COB’s EAP 2 students about global teaming. Ms. Sweet’s informative talk challenged the students to have a global mindset and consider the role culture plays on the group dynamics of a global business team. When asked to define the term “culture,” students proactively offered examples such as language, customs, religion, and cuisine. While expounding on those examples, Ms. Sweet introduced American anthropologist Edward T. Hall’s (1914-2009) “Iceberg Model of Culture” to demonstrate that culture is similar to an iceberg; comprised of two parts, only 20% of surface culture such as behaviors and customs are visibly discernable while as much as 80% of cultural attitudes, beliefs, and values are hidden below the surface.

M.Sweet3.JPGThe students were then asked to think about how cultural diversity affects the relationship of members working on a global team. They reflected on the various types of leadership skills required to successfully manage differences among multi-cultural team members to achieve high performance leading to the recognition that leaders who acknowledge and support cultural differences become an asset to performance due to their ability to bring out the best in each individual team member. Ms. Sweet advised students who may find themselves working on global teams in the future to build a new team culture through dialogue by addressing the questions: What is the team culture today? What is important to us? What do we need to do to change?

M.Sweet4.JPGAt the end of her talk, one student posed the question: How can we understand the 80% of culture we cannot see? Ms. Sweet emphasized that team members always need to do their research in advance, but that whenever in doubt, they must ask questions when working together with people from different cultural backgrounds. She underscored the importance of opening a dialogue as well as the need to appreciate different cultural norm expectations that influence approaches to business communication across cultures.

(Report and Photos by Melanie Czarnecki)


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