How does culture influence communication in multicultural teams in China and India

University essay from Umeå universitet/Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet; Umeå universitet/Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet

Abstract:

With the increasing trend of globalization, the impact of globalization has lead to a fast changing environment the boundaries for business is diminishing day by day so is the movement of people between different countries and cultures. The requirements of multinational organizations like expansion plans in international market has continuingly increased the need to understand the cultural dimensions of different countries to achieve better results. Therefore the companies are required to understand a national culture’s impact on areas like communication in multicultural teams in different countries which has a high degree of effect on team performance. So our research question revolves around this topic as “How does culture influence communication in multi cultural teams. This thesis makes an attempt to investigate the influence of national cultures on communication in project teams in China and India by focusing on construction industry based on a number of factors including Hofstede’s (1980) cultural dimensional framework. The researchers intend to explore the cultural factors having major impact on communication in multicultural project teams of both countries. Throughout our research and study, useful lessons on national cultures impact on communication can be drawn for multicultural project team in China and India. It can provide a better insight for the project teams to have concern for and understand why people from different countries and cultures react or respond to various situations in a different manner, giving high emphasis to communication process.

To support our thesis a total of 12 semi-structured interviews were conducted with managers in different companies from construction sector. An empirical qualitative research using semi-structured interviews was conducted from a total of 12 project team members from multinational companies in China and India based on their experiences on cultural influence on team communication when working in project teams. The research revealed that there are significant differences and similarities in communication styles of Chinese and Indian teams, and the differences are mostly attributed to have strong links with cultural aspects. Specially with increasing economical changes the traditional patterns of behavior in communication are changing with time. The results also addressed number of similarities; especially in both the countries, culture continues to dominate most aspects of communication. The major implication is that the knowledge of the cultural differences and similarities would facilitate better team performance. Therefore, by keeping in mind the importance as well as the impact of various national cultures and presenting each member with a better understanding and knowledge about social background of the team mates within the multicultural teams, arguments and conflicts arise due to misconception and pre-judgment can be reduced. Hence it will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the teams working in multicultural environment.

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