Swedish-German Project Team Members : Problems and Benefits due to Cultural Differences Concept to Succeed

University essay from Högskolan i Kalmar/Handelshögskolan BBS; Högskolan i Kalmar/Handelshögskolan BBS

Abstract: Most multicultural teams are not as successful as expected. Germany and Sweden are close trade partners and one form of cooperation are German-Swedish project teams. In this thesis the reader will get answers to the following questions: What are the problems and benefits among German-Swedish project team members due to cultural differences and in which way can problems be coped with and benefits be enhanced. This thesis does not focus on virtual teams, the leadership of multicultural teams and the formation of German-Swedish project teams. The main components of the theoretical framework are cultural models which serve as basis for our analysis are Hofstede’s five dimensional model, Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner’s model and Hall’s model. For our research we interviewed eight members of German-Swedish project teams. We discovered problems among German-Swedish project team members deriving from differences in the communication styles, in the focus on cooperation versus task and in dealing with rules. Beneficial in the German-Swedish collaborations is that the cultures complement each other in focusing on the facts versus broadening the subject and in the focus on team spirit versus goal achievement. Another beneficial characteristic is the similarity of the German and Swedish culture. After analysing the problems and benefits due to cultural differences in German-Swedish project teams, we present our concept to reduce the problems in German-Swedish project teams. The concept consists of steps which build up on one another and therefore represent an overall concept which can serve as a basis and inspiration for enhancing the collaboration in German-Swedish project teams. Our concept includes the steps: intercultural training, a mentor system in the team, internal advisors in the company and a cultural evaluation.

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