Cross-cultural Team Building and Team Development

Multicultural Teams
The Team-Building Process
Example: Transfer of Know-How
Focus: Consulting - Concepts - Implementation

Cross-cultural Team Building
Multicultural Teams

Multicultural teams are cause for hope as well as frustration, ranging from expectations based on synergies to the uncertainty regarding future intercultural irritation. Both are justified expectations. In order to effectively utilise the potentials of synergies and minimise the possibility of intercultural problems it is essential to professionally prepare the partners for the joint cooperation.

The Team Building and Team Development Process

The core objective of team building as well as of team development is to define and agree behavioural, working and cooperation techniques that both sides accept. It is presumed that an effective, intercultural cooperation can only be established if there is a far-reaching mutual understanding for the partner's working and living environment.

- Team Building -
To prepare and initially support the cooperation China Consultancy offers several steps:

Clarifying aims and framework
Formally bringing the partners together | first meeting

Preparatory measures culture 1
Preparatory measures culture 2
Joint workshop | informal exchange

Start of the partnership
Supporting the process

Initially preparing participants from the different cultures separately serves to create a 'safe environment' where 'sensitive issues' can also be freely addressed. This training includes discussing expectations and if necessary correcting images of one's own and the other's culture.

The focus of the ensuing joint team workshop ("team coaching") is on the detailed exploration of similarities and differences within the respective group of participants in a cultural as well as in an individual respect.

The aim is to forge the participating groups into a well functioning team in which the assumed lines of differentiation and identification now go beyond country- and culture-specific aspects.

- Team Development -
With regards to their approach and methodology team development and team building are related in character. The difference between the two lies with an already existing amount of mutual cooperation experience in the case of team development.

Already existing experience with each other may be advantageous or disadvantageous for the cooperation; but it is certain that this experience has to be taken into account during team development (towards, e.g., more coordination, mutual understanding, efficiency, shared leadership style, ownership) when you strive for a sustainable improvement of the cooperation at hand.
(see: Open Change Forums) .

In both cases, team building and team development, coming together in a joint workshop promotes formal and informal exchange, lessens uncertainties with regard to the partner and establishes the foundation for the future partnership. Both sides have the chance to convey to their partners their perceptions, modes of thinking and acting. Hereby their counterparts will more easily be able to familiarize themselves with and understand their partners' attitudes and behaviour.

Example: Transfer of Know-How

Besides the areas of intercultural differences already presented (see: Cross-cultural Training / Contents) , the following points in connection with, for example, know-how being transferred cross-culturally, gain particular importance:

  • Different perception, thinking and behavioural patterns
  • Different communication strategies
  • Different attitudes towards feedback and criticism
  • Different customs regarding structuring of information
  • Different kinds of conflict management
  • Different methods and habits of learning and teaching
  • Different moderation and presentation techniques
  • Different management behaviour, delegation etc.
  • Different expectations
  • Different ways of identifying with the partner in the cooperation.

If a company disregards these or other essential intercultural factors it is very difficult to achieve sweeping success - no matter how good a training programme is that has been designed solely from a mono-cultural viewpoint. The differences in teaching and learning habits are too great and professional and social interaction within the company is too unfamiliar for the expected learning success to be achieved.


China Consultancy takes these aspects into account. Focus is on giving advice to partners of existing cooperations as well as on the conception and implementation of cooperation-enhancing measures such as team building and team development workshops (see: Open Change Forums) .

    • Consulting on existing cooperations
    • Concepts and implementation of
      team-building programmes
    • Concepts and implementation of
      team developing programmes

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