Your fast-food franchise cleared for business in all four countries (United Arab Emirates, Israel, Mexico, and China). You now have to start construction on your restaurants. The financing is coming from the United Arab Emirates, the materials are coming from Mexico and China, the engineering and technology are coming from Israel, and the labor will be hired locally within these countries by your management team from the United States. You invite all of the players to the headquarters in the United States for a big meeting to explain the project and get to know one another. In preparation for the meeting, you want to avoid cultural silos, while ensuring all parties engage with each other. Answer the following questions in preparation:
- What do you know about these cultures, specifically their political, economic, legal, educational, family, and social systems, that could help you in getting the project team together?
- What are some of the contrasting cultural values about uncertainty avoidance, ethnocentrism, communication apprehension, and culture shock that could potentially influence a cultural silo mindset and prevent team engagement?
International Managers are more focused on global virtual teams to manage projects and gain a strategic advantage. The global team for the fast food expansion project is dispersed in geographically different regions, and after the first project meeting in the United States, you plan to use a combination of social media technology to accomplish the team goals. The complexity of global virtual teams goes beyond the traditional principles used for national teams. As you begin to plan, you are concerned about some of the challenges that will exist during the virtual meetings, particularly the fact that the United States is an individualist low-context country, and some of the countries present are collectivist high-context countries. What strategies would you use to begin to have everyone develop a relationship with each other that will help ease engagement and collaboration during the virtual meeting and future negotiations, development, and implementation? Address the following questions in your response:
- What are some of the issues you should be concerned about regarding verbal and nonverbal language for this group to avoid misinterpretations and barriers to communication?
- How do people of different cultures seek connections and establish relationships using social media?
- Does technology allow you to develop trust for team building?
- How would you manage potential conflict arising from the cultural differences among the project team?