9 May 2022


IBMs Multicultural Multinational Teams

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Most of the people when asked to think of a firm with a deep-rooted traditional model, what hit their mind first is the IBM. The firm is well notorious for its formal and informal rules that govern the entire organization. Predominantly, IBM stresses personal accomplishments and promotions as well as the anticipation of a lifetime service at the organization. However, it is now for a change, and the globalization pressures are the impetus force behind IBM’s change teamwork. 

IBM’s idea of devoting a massive amount of time, over 180,000 hours yearly, to the management of team projects is a superb move towards instilling efficiency and improving productivity in the organization. Moreover, increased time for teams have successively worked in other organizations and cleared doubts that team projects have no ability to change a firm for better. Although multinational and multicultural teams have potential benefits for a firm, they similarly pose serious hindrances that must be challenged. Multicultural and Multinational work team are supposed to increase profitability, efficiency, and productivity when are duly incorporated. On the other hand creating these teams are rather difficult as there are hindrances that are brought by the diverseness of these groups. These obstacles are the inability to understand each other, lack of appreciation, lack of diverse ethnic respect, diverseness regarding cultures and personalities. Fortunately, companies like IBM have managed to overcome these challenges (Robbins & Judge, 2010).

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IBM’s transition from official, constant and individualistic to casual, transient and team oriented was initiated by Louis Gerstner, who wanted IBM to increase its efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Also, he saw the need to increase the company’s awareness regarding its products around the world as IBMs were a global business. So, he saw that IBM needed to incorporate teams to places where people were least aware of IBM and what it produced. As a result, IBM became huge from its market dominance to its technical workforce which was diverse that further necessitated the need for informal, impermanent and team oriented surroundings (Klingner, Nalbandian & Llorens, 2010).

Group development stages exist in five categories. These steps are essential in that they will allow the team to develop, strategize, tackle challenges, find solutions and provide the desired results. The first stage is the forming stage, whose core purpose is to identify the different behaviors of the team members. The members need to relate with each other and get aware of what is expected of them. The second phase is the team storming stage, where individual team members compete and as such, disagreements may arise. In some cases, the management will be forced to formulate procedures to resolve issues that may arise (Brett, Behfar & Kern, 2006). Norming is the third stage, where teams begin to create harmony. In this phase, the firm should expect a lot of constructive work and task completion. Fourthly, there is the performing stage, in which teams are supposed to maximize outputs. In this stage collaboration is important as it enables the team to find a better ways to solve problems and maximize output. Lastly, the final stage is the adjoining stage that comprises of performance task termination and the disengagement from personal relationships (Brett, Behfar & Kern, 2006). This is because there is a need for recognition of everyone’s contribution to a particular task and team members’ chance to give regards and farewells.

It is a common norm for multicultural teams to encounter issues regarding expectations, values, and communications. The easier way of overcoming these challenges is through the identification of alarming areas which are personality, nationality, and cultural differences. After identifying these points of possible unrest, the organization should be able to develop plans which can eliminate individualistic aspects. 

Decision-making in groups can be cumbersome because of many factors. For instance, there may be individuals who are dormant in the group and contribute nothing to the decision-making process. To take care of the dormant members, the management may choose to reward the active members and eliminate the dormant members. Also, poor communication and cultural differences may also pose hindrances to fertile decisions (Gastil, 2006). This is because, in multicultural teams, various verbal and nonverbal communications are administered differently. Therefore, it is advisable that the firm trains various team members on issues regarding cultural tolerance and communication skills.

To make these teams effective, it is recommended that a provision of resources. Provision of resources at the required and right time enables the team to be efficient. The second recommendation is checking of the team composition. This enables the placing of coherent and qualified people and assigning of tasks correctly (Robbins, & Judge, 2010). Thirdly, provision of the process variables needed for the particular project is vital as this acts as a support to the main resources for the completion of tasks and project. This is because variables are complementary to the main resources.

Team factors required for employees to become team players are proper selecting of team players, proper training on benefits of a team playing and rewarding of the team playing efforts (Robbins, & Judge, 2010). With these in three factors, team members will be obliged to work as one block.


Brett, J. Behfar, K. & Kern, C, M. (2006). Managing Multicultural Teams . Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2006/11/managing-multicultural-teams

Gastil, J. (2006). Common Problems in Small Group Decision Making. Retrieved from http://www.unep.org/training/programmes/Instructor%20Version/Part_2/Activities/Interest_Groups/Decision-Making/Supplemental/Common_Problems_in_Small_Group_Decision_Making.pdf

Klingner. E. D., Nalbandian, J. & Llorens, J. (2010). Public Personnel Management: Contexts and Strategies. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Public-Personnel-Management-Donald-Klingner/dp/0136026885/ref=pd_sim_14_4/191-7181385-2218069?ie=UTF8&dpID=51u1PiVuRDL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL320_SR260%2C320_&refRID=1CE8BSVEEKS92HVE9CFF#reader_0136026885

Robbins, S. & Judge, T. (2010). Organizational Behavior . Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Organizational-Behavior-14th-Stephen-Robbins/dp/0136124011

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