Culture Essay

1838 words - 8 pages

Exploration of Concept
When individuals come together to form a group they each contribute “a learned set of interpretations about values and norms which affect behaviours” in order to form a cross-cultural group and set the stage for group process (Engleberg & Wynn, 2010, p73). The most commonly recognized and obvious explanation for this cultural diversity is differences in nationality and among the members. The proportions of representation from each culture influences each group’s group processing and effectiveness. For example, one may only have a single representative (a token) from a different culture while another is a bicultural group with approximately equal representations (Taras, n.d.). If there is a majority group, the minority members may feel unappreciated, powerless, and prone to stereotypical judgments. In evenly split groups, people may be drawn to work with their own culture instead communicating with others (Taras, n.d.). As such, groups can be termed as either homogenous – members are of one culture, or heterogeneous – members are of two or more cultures. According to literature, although initially heterogeneous groups tend to experience more struggles and fewer achievements compared to their counterparts, these cross-cultural teams quickly overtake homogenous groups (Engleberg & Wynn, 2010). Single culture teams are known to develop a phenomenon called groupthink where all members have similar trains of thought due to the similarities they share (Taras, n.d.). Heterogeneous groups on the other hand are more creative at problem solving and challenge the status quo due to their combined pool of knowledge, experiences, different approaches to task completion (Deeks, 2004). Along with the impact of culture on group processing, it also directly has an influence on more structured teamwork.
For many decades, countries like Canada have been receptive to millions of migrating and immigrating individuals. As a result, it is inevitable for locals to end up forming teams with these newcomers. Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions model can be used to analyze team functioning based on differences in national culture. According to this anthropologist, teams made up of societies from opposite ends of his continuum are not able to function together. One of the biggest cultural influences on team functioning is whether the members’ respective countries favour individualism or collectivism. In an individualistic society (like Canada) citizens place a high priority on independence, individual goals, needs, and achievements. For example, the western voting system abides by the “one person, one vote” policy where all members vote to express their opinion but the majority action is taken. However, seventy percent of the world population operates in a collectivist society. Here, interdependence and team beliefs, views, and goals of the group are more emphasized than those of the individual. These teams are more likely to discuss issues and...

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