University of Oulu

Managing multicultural teams : dealing with conflicts rising from different expectations and perspectives

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Author: Haapanen, Tiina1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, International Business
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
Persistent link: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201505211586
Language: English
Published: Oulu : T. Haapanen, 2015
Publish Date: 2015-05-25
Physical Description: 80 p.
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Tuunainen, Juha
Reviewer: Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Pia
Tuunainen, Juha
Description:

Abstract

With globalization and the current direction towards more integrated and cooperating world of business, workplaces and especially teams are becoming increasingly diverse. Cultural diversity brings with it benefits to the team, but also disadvantages like misunderstandings and even conflicts. In this thesis I aimed to find what leaders of multicultural teams have to take into account to avoid conflicts rising from different expectations and perspectives people from different cultures have.

To achieve this I first looked at the main differentiating variable in multicultural teams: culture, and then worked through diversity, teams and leadership to find approaches that lead to best results when managing multicultural teams. To do this I used literature review as there already is variety of literature of the different components, and also confirmed this through empirical study, where I observed and interviewed a multicultural team, OuluSES, for almost a year.

The most important findings were first of all about culture: culture was found to be emergent, people have their own individual culture, but are also part of bigger cultures. For managers of multicultural teams the most important finding was that creating personal relationships lessen the misunderstandings and especially conflicts in multicultural teams, and also lead to best results overall, especially compared to approaches where cultural differences were completely ignored.

The findings from this thesis not only offer a new perspective into the debate between static, national cultures and emergent cultures, but the biggest advantage of the thesis is for every-day leaders of multicultural leaders. As cultural diversity is bound to increase also in the future, workplaces are also bound to become increasingly diverse, which means that leaders have to be ready and equipped to deal with conflicts rising from the differences in expectations, which is where this thesis helps.

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Copyright information: © Tiina Haapanen, 2015. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.