Case Study: Cooperating and Communicating Across Cultures
Cooperation and communication between cultures points out the key components in this case study.
Every team member brought a pre-conceived notions of the “right” way in which to interact with the team and for the team to move forward. These viewpoints were in large part related to nationalistic culture embedded within their corporate background.
Jim entered the team seemingly well prepared, with knowledge of German culture and language, however, he was amazed at the detail In which the planning session went, lost patience and Interest, and consequently lost he respect of his fellow team members by “hardly paying attention” anymore to the process. The Germans used the three-day planning session as a way to lay the foundation for the structure of the entire product launch.
By tuning out, and not understanding the Importance of the Minimal meetings In the process,Jell never truly understood the way the team was working, that Is by completely analyzing the problem, all possible eventualities, and addressing issues, then dividing the work and moving forward, with the team leader checking and controlling the outcome. The German team leader demonstrates that the team had worked together for at several years and so each knew the procedures very well but Jim clearly did not.
An important organizational issue Jim exhibited is not showing respect for the Germans’ methods and failing to align himself with the culture more rather than removing himself from the process and complaining. Fundamentally, Jim wanted to outline the problem, jump in, adjust and confer during the process but the Germans had deferent ideas, and a different culture for doing things. Each side saw the others’ teeth of operating as wrong, rather than as a possible new and different way to address a product launch.
Klaus had the same issues arriving in America and learning that the project would be put together as a work in progress rather than carefully thought out prior to execution of a plan. This is a cultural difference both sides experienced that could have been addressed by an introduction to work methods before Jim/Klaus started with their new team, which could have avoided the sense of frustration all on the project felt.
Outlining the process and the roles each person would play would help he visitor better learn the corporate/notational culture.
In addition, being more open to suggestions from the visitor would also help. Female employees being uncomfortable by Klaus’ manners are Indicative of the general problem: there appears to be a failure to accept and appreciate the others’ culture. Clearly the Interests of both the Germans and American’s were aligned; however, there was an unwillingness to review