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Global Teams

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Global Teams

How Top Multinationals Span Boundaries and Cultures with High-Speed Teamwork

Davies-Black Publishing,

15 min read
11 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Why worry about managing global teams? Because they are far away, in odd time zones, speaking many languages. Oh, that.

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Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Some of the challenges of managing global teams are obvious. For example, team members will probably speak different languages and come from different cultures. So how do you function in the Tower of Babel? Authors Michael J. Marquardt and Lisa Horvath recommend designating a common language, usually English for American companies. On the other hand, some of the challenges global team managers confront are not so obvious. For instance, what reward system do you use when everyone values different things? Can you just give everyone a pat on the back and a bonus, or must you individualize feedback mechanisms? What etiquette do you follow if everyone has a different sense of what is polite? If these issues haven’t occurred to you already, you need this book. If they have, well, still suggests this rundown on the very basics. As you may have guessed, all the issues you have already confronted with international employees get magnified with global teams.


The Foundation

Marriott, Royal Dutch Shell and other large international companies assemble teams to get big jobs done. These teams often include members from different countries who do not speak the same native language. Since countries have different cultures, these people often have different customs and etiquette. In the past, people from various countries and cultures might never have had the occasion to work together, especially if they didn’t share a language. But the progress of technology and the onward march of globalization have changed that. Now, a single big corporation may employ people all over the world, and may put them together in teams to get big jobs done. Teams are the heart and essence of the contemporary organization. Among other things, teams manage projects that involve multiple business functions, conduct and coordinate assembly line work, handle process re-engineering and set marketing strategies.

Teams are important today and they are going to get even more important as this century matures. Such management sages as Tom Peters have outlined some of the implications of this surprising fact. Consider that:

  • Teams will do most of ...

About the Authors

Michael J. Marquardt, president of Global Learning Associates, has consulted with the U.S. Peace Corps, Boeing, Alcoa, Caterpillar, Singapore Airlines and several governments. He is a professor of human resource development and Program Director of Overseas Programs at George Washington University, where Lisa Horvath is Chair of Overseas Programs and an assistant professor in human and organizational studies.

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