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Govindarajan, V., Gupta, A. K. (2001). Building an Effective Global Business Team, MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol.

42, Issue 4 (Summer 2001), 63-71.

Introduction The article was published in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan Management Review Summer 2001. The article entitled “Building an Effective Global Business Team” was written by Vijay Govindarajan and Anil K.Gupta. Although there are many mechanisms that can be used to coordinate and integrate multinational operation, they strongly felt that the most effective way is to build an effective global team which is in line with what we believe in as well. This article aims to provide steps in building a successful and effective global business team in the international market to achieve the organization's missions and goals. In spite of the fact that this article is informative, we still find there is still a lack of understanding that we can gain in terms of business cultures and communication.

Summary The subject of the article is about the ways to build an effective global business team. The main ideas concern the problems and the solution to build a global business team. The authors have provided data to support the problems arising from building a global team. A number of senior executives have been asked for opinion to rank the importance of task and how difficult it is to cultivate trust among team members and hindrances to communication. 1

When it comes to defining the team size. The second step deals with selection of team members. we must facilitate the open and rich 2 . the optimum is often said to be the smallest number of people with required knowledge and skills.The article begins with the reason of the failure of global business teams. choosing team members and managing team process. and behavioral issues regarding languages and norms. The three important factors that determine how much trust people feel are the individual characteristics. They point out the second reason is obstacle in communication that can occur when it comes to building a team out of members that have different backgrounds. quality of communication and the broader institutional context. language and culture. the way members reflect and perceive the process and the objectives. Three main solutions can be derived from this framework which is defining the team charter. After team members have been confirmed the process of managing the team comes into play. A framework for designing high-performing global business teams is essential and therefore the authors have provided one to support the main ideas (Refer to Appendix 1). The first step is about setting up clear and explicit objectives that each member knows the target of the project and his or her responsibility within the project. The first reason is mutual trust is hard to achieve among team members. The issue of diversity is important to consider and it is characterized by two perspectives: cognitive issues. It is crucial to select a suitable team leader and determine if there is a need for an external coach. This will give the reader an overview on the steps to build a global team. The barriers that have been discussed are about geography.

We disapprove of the authors’ idea. there are two types of culture which are high-context culture and low-context culture. global teams can overcome the problems and efficiently achieve success in building global teams. composition and process. In high context culture. The authors claimed that this is because of the differences in time zones and conflicting schedules. This is because different countries have different cultures and different emphasis on the importance of body language. low-context culture refers to societies 3 . the authors have suggested that by making right choices in team charter. it is difficult to organize a face-to-face meeting. Without such a meeting. In contrast. Tentatively. High-context culture refers to societies or groups where people have close connections over a period of time. Linda Beamer and Iris Varner (2008) have explained these two cultures in their book “Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace”. Generally. members are unable to read each other’s body language as well as some form of unstructured interaction like brainstorming. multilevel and illusive.communication among the team members as well as cultivate trust among one another. They rely on context of communication and body language to perceive each other’s thought. messages are elliptical. At the end of the article. Critique One of the shortcomings in the article is the authors’ portrayal of how geographical barriers arise when different team members are from different countries.

English has now become the most important and common language of communication especially in business world. In-low context culture. This means that geographical barriers only occur more on certain context culture.where people tend to have many connections but in a shorter duration for some specified purpose. We disagree with the authors’ opinions. Members tend to put their thoughts into words. the domination of the English language globally is undeniable. This is because people in high-context culture are more used to imply their thoughts. The authors give a situation where team members who speak different languages lack the ability to communicate in one common language. messages are spelled out fully. We have gained an insight into Beamer and Varner (2008) . team members from high-context culture will not express their thought directly and therefore cause a communication problem. During a meeting. The differences between these two culture communications can lead to a serious problem in a global business team. we think that geographical barriers most probably will occur in high-context culture. During 21st century. Almost every country is adopting English as their main language in higher education. clearly and precisely. This is because English being an international and wider language of communication in business world will give people better advantage in career prospect. Another situation is where team members have this kind of ability but problem arise due to differences in non-verbal language. Another questionable aspect of this article is the authors claimed that the inability to understand what another person is saying poses a communication problem in global business team. Therefore government spent a lot of 4 .

Individualist culture highlights personal interests whereas in a collectivist culture. They may behave differently in interpreting values. individuals are taught to put communities’ interests on the top priority. They also emphasize that the importance of understanding the values of a business culture to facilitate to provide training to help people market the common language. This barrier occurs when members of global business team come from different cultures. these differences may develop into weaknesses or strengths. Beamer and Varner (2008) have discussed that cultures rank what is important. We concur in what the authors said about the situation where team members may use different ways to interpret other person’s cultural element. In other words. However. This shows that understanding in other team members’ cultures is crucial in the teambuilding process. Furthermore this article also shows the differences between individualistic culture and collectivistic culture. cultures instruct values or precedence and thus values shape behaviours. Next point would be diversities that arise from the global team building processes. norms. one of the hindrances to communication is cultural barriers. It is because having a mastery of English language will present people with better career prospect. assumptions and patterns of behaviors. According to the authors. In our opinion. we also believe that variety of personality of each individual will impose different perspective of ranking and evaluation of certain issue. 5 . Cultural barrier can appear when individualistic team members work with collectivistic team member.

companies that rely on team work are arguing that diverse teams make better decisions than homogeneous teams. This article is about the 6 . In an era of globalization.The authors have pointed out the reason why global business team has high level of diversity. The authors provide a flow diagram regarding the stages in the building of culturally diverse teams (Refer to Appendix 2). cultural diversity can bring advantages to a global business teams. Nowadays. The contents are informative for people that have not studied about management but there are still some important information that is not provided in this article. understanding and respect. Conclusion and Recommendation This article has pointed out a lot of useful information. Undoubtedly. businesses have to spend time developing the groups by creating awareness. We support this point where cultural diversity has its own advantages and disadvantages. the Beamer and Varner (2008) assert that diversity is viewed as enrichment for the performance of a team. There are two kinds of diversities arise from these differences which are cognitive diversity and behavioral diversity. Diversity arises and comes from the different origin of the members in a team regarding their nationality or subsidiaries’ histories or functional background. In order to exploit the potential of such diverse groups. In the book “Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace”. most people work in an environment of cultural diversity. The authors view cognitive diversity as a strength whereas behavioral diversity is seen as a weakness.

this article is strongly recommended. English language is a common language that is used in business world.steps in building a successful and effective global business team in the international market to achieve the organization's missions and goals. For a company. 7 . to create a strong global business team. The level of diversity in a global business team is very high compared to domestic team and this diversity should be viewed as strength. Leaders should encourage more interaction between team members to avoid any misunderstanding among themselves because as what we stated before. high context culture and low context culture. trust need to be cultivated to build an effective team with members who can cooperate well like a real team. there are two types of different cultures. Last but not least. Although the authors stated that there will be a language barrier. Culture barrier need to be overcome through understanding other country or team member’s culture.

Beamer. Issue 4 (Summer 2001).. Vol. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.References 1. 8 . K. 42. I. A. 63-71. (2001). NY. MIT Sloan Management Review. 2. Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace. (2008). Varner. V. Gupta. Building an Effective Global Business Team. Govindarajan. L..

Appendix Appendix 1 A framework for High-Performing Global Business Teams Effective Team Charter Effective Team Composition Effective Team Effective Team Process 9 .

Appendix 2 Stages in the building of culturally diverse teams Creating Self-Awareness of One's Own Culture and Personal Style Mapping Cultural Differences Bridging Gaps and Identifying Potential Synergies Developing Intercultural Strategies for Specific Business Tasks Assessing Results 10 .