In the last blog post, I wrote about Intercultural and Intercultural Management. I really loved the topic and the idea still fascinates me.
However, as you know, the country index is telling what tendency a specific culture has. So if you work in a diverse group, understanding an individual culture/background might not help as effectively as one-on-one communication/relationship.
When you think about this, the words “international” and “global” might be a key.
What is the difference between international and global?
A dictionary defines as follows.
of, relating to, or affecting two or more nations
of, relating to, or constituting a group or association having members in two or more nations
active, known, or reaching beyond national boundaries
of, relating to, or involving the entire world
of or relating to a spherical celestial body (such as the moon)
of, relating to, or applying to a whole (such as a mathematical function or a computer program)
of a medical condition: being particularly severe or encompassing in nature: having or exhibiting a broad or nearly complete effect
having the shape of a globe
International means inter-nation. It means between two or more nations. So when you say “International business” or “International travel”, it gives an idea that you are talking about business in a few countries or trip to a few countries.
On the other hand, if you say “Global business” or “Global travel”, it sounds more like a business that happens all over the world or a worldwide trip.
So if you are in an international team, it means you are in a team of people who are consist of two or possibly three different cultural backgrounds. In this team, if you understand those cultures/customs/behaviors/values, you might be able to adjust your own behavior so that both sides can understand each other easily.
However, if you are in a global team with people from 10 or 20 different backgrounds, your understanding of each culture is probably not enough. Also, it might be too difficult to adjust your behavior into one if you consider 20 different value systems. And it’s not only you who need to understand differences. Everyone in the team needs to have the same level of understanding.
It doesn’t mean intercultural knowledge is useless in global teams but you need to adjust your way of thinking situation by situation, team by team. Behavior that works in one global team might not work at all in a different global team.
The key to build a successful team is to increase the quantity of communication both formal and informal communication. You can increase the frequency of team meetings not only to inform project status and/or update information but also to share opinions, ideas, and ways of thinking. Also, having lunch together as a team might help as well. By getting to know team members more, people would feel more comfortable with each other.
Next blog post, I will write about the more challenging team, a global team located in various places.