Collaboration in a culturally diverse world

“Cultural diversity is beautiful and can enhance your organization or your team!”

Every organization or company has its own typical culture. A culture can be described as tacit knowledge, which means that it is context-specific, and not easy to transfer the knowledge on to outsiders. There are specific customs what people do each day, or a specific way of greeting. Moreover, communication can be both really formal or really informal, depending on which company you are referring to.

Mixing cultures

Still, one organizational culture does not mean that there can’t be any cultural differences among its employees.

Today, managers have an extra challenge to fostering teamwork compared to several years ago. Dealing with language barriers, time differences and cultural differences are just some of those extra challenges.

Not only companies have to deal with cultural differences. It can also be present when students have to work together for a university group project, within AIESEC-teams, or maybe even within the local football team. No matter if this collaboration is forced, or self-chosen, in order to make sure that collaboration despite these differences will be as smooth as possible, the blog-team collected some tips that will make this a bit easier.

Acknowledge cultural differences

The first step to overcoming cultural differences is accepting that they are present. Next to that, everyone in the team should have respect for these differences. Sure, they can cause some troubles, but people should always be aware that these differences are caused by someone’s way of life. Even though people are living and working in a different country than that they are used to, this does not mean that it is possible for them to act according to the present country’s customs immediately.

Acknowledging cultural differences also means that all team members should know what kind of differences can be present, and how to deal with them. So, it is wise that all team members immerse themselves a bit into the culture of the others.

Communicate

Once the cultural differences are present, it is very important to talk about them openly within your team. This will help with expectation setting and in overcoming differences. And although good communication is key in teamwork, it gets more and more important once team members become more diverse.

Whenever friction arises between team members, it is really important to discuss this honestly and openly in a one-to-one meeting. Similarly, whenever there is friction within the group, make sure that you discuss these irritations as soon as they become present and do this friendly and openly within the team.

Establish norms for the team

Another tip that could be very useful (with or without cultural differences) is setting norms and guidelines within the team before you start working on the project. Make sure to set these norms together with the team, so that everyone is on the same page.

Similar values

One last tip that can be very valuable within organizations is hiring people that share the same values. Despite cultural differences, people all over the world can share the same personal values. Once people already value the organizations core values, adapting to the organization and collaborating will get a lot easier.

Despite all these tips, cultural diversity is beautiful and can enhance your organization or your team. It could lead to new perspectives and lead to more efficient or better ways to do things.

This post was written by AIESEC in the Netherlands. We offer international voluntary projects and professional internships with the aim of developing leadership in youth. 

Read more
How to be successful in your marketing internship?

How to be successful in your marketing internship?

When you look through the AIESEC opportunity portal and search for Global Talent projects, you come across loads of marketing and business opportunities. Lucky for you if you are interested in doing one of those! But you might wonder why there are so many? Well, that...

Your exchange packing list

Your exchange packing list

As the summer vacation is approaching, so are many volunteering projects and internships. But what to pack on such a new exciting experience? Even if you have been abroad many times and are an expert in packing, there are sure to be moments when you miss a thing or two. To help you have the best preparation for your project, or any other vacation, we made a special AIESEC exchange packing list!

Inspired, empowered and ready for change: The story of four young leaders in the contemporary world

Inspired, empowered and ready for change: The story of four young leaders in the contemporary world

When we talk about young leaders, people quickly think of Greta Thunberg or Mark Zuckerberg, due to their media attention or Greta’s well-known, activist speeches on climate change. But more quietly, the world is packed with young, inspirational leaders, trying to create a more stable, sustainable and inclusive world for future generations, minority groups or the society they are part of.

Discovering culture in Morocco: An exchange to Marrakech

Discovering culture in Morocco: An exchange to Marrakech

When I decided to participate in the Nour project of AIESEC, I felt like I did something impulsive yet brave. I never went abroad on my own before. I always had people I could depend on like friends and family. This time I wanted to challenge myself by doing this project on my own, and I wanted to discover and embrace another culture.

3 Inspiring TED talks on inequality

3 Inspiring TED talks on inequality

We’ve pulled together some inspiring TED talks for you to watch about inequality. The speakers in these videos describe their view on inequality and what the world needs in order to change this. Let these people inspire you, to create new ways of thinking about inequality and the road to changing this.

4 Tips to make your CV stand out

4 Tips to make your CV stand out

On average, recruiters spend 5 to 7 seconds screening a CV before deciding whether to continue with the applicant or not. It equals the average time that we spend looking at an Instagram post on our feed. So, here are some tips that can help your CV stand out in a large pool of applicants.

My AIESEC volunteering project in Italy

My AIESEC volunteering project in Italy

In January 2020 I participated in an AIESEC Project on environment and sustainability in Castellana Grotte, Italy. I was lucky to stay six weeks in one of the most beautiful small villages I have been to. My work was about teaching the kids in the local Highschool on the UN SDGs and sustainability. My fellow AIESEC students were so kind to pick me up in Bari. They made sure I was safe and showed me how to travel to my destination.

Handling stress of working from home

Handling stress of working from home

Many people regard working from home as an overall goal for their work-life balance. They work with the help of evolving technologies such as Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Slack, Google Hangouts and cloud computing. Recently, the work from home job force has gotten a push by the current global coronavirus pandemic.

Interested?

Take the first step.

Book a free consultation call in one of our cities to explore your opportunities!