Leveraging Workforce Diversity and Team Development

Leveraging Workforce Diversity and Team Development

Aileen G. Zaballero (Pennsylvania State University, USA), Hsin-Ling Tsai (Pennsylvania State University, USA) and Philip Acheampong (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4979-8.ch064


In this broadening landscape of business, corporations are encouraged to develop global leaders. “Changes in workforce demographics resulting from globalization, combined with the rising popularity of team-based management techniques, have resulted in a practical concern with the management of multicultural groups” (Thomas, 1999, p. 242). Organizations are challenged to implement a comprehensive approach to global development that encompasses different cultural perspectives. This chapter proposes to utilize team-based learning within a cross-cultural work-group. The use of a collaborative approach supports the social dimensions of learning and can exhibit greater productivity for individuals. According to Jonassen, Strobel, and Lee (2006) as cited by Schaffer, Lei, and Paulino (2008), “Knowledge exists not only in the heads of learners, but also in the conversations and social relations among collaborators” (p. 144). This chapter will emphasize the importance of collaborative team-based work groups among diverse settings. First, the authors will discuss the factors of diverse teams and identify the stages of group development focusing on Tuckman’s Model. In addition, Gert Hofstede’s cultural dimension will be addressed. Finally, organizational contexts that impact the performance of diverse teams such will be explored.
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Team Within Diverse Settings

Value of Team

Globalization has caused a network of relationships and organizational links within the business world. To stay competitive in today’s market, organizations seek ways to create an equitable workplace environment that will make use of the knowledge, skill, and attitude of a diverse workforce. Throughout this chapter, the authors use the term team to refer to organizational work group that work interdependently towards a common goal and produces an output that is the result of the team’s collective efforts (Oertig & Buergi, 2006).

Teams are made of individuals, often with different backgrounds. As diversity contributes to the creative innovation of a group, it is also diversity that poses challenges. Understanding individual work styles, group dynamics, and cultural variations is important to avoid potential conflicts.

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