Network: Leveraging Culture in Teams: Research and teaching in multinational settings

Time period: 2010-01-01 to 2012-12-31

Project leader: Lena Zander

Funder: Forte

Type of award: Research environment

The overall objective of the network is for the involved researchers to learn from each other’s experience and to exchange and develop ideas about multicultural teams, in order to advance our research achievements and radically improve our teaching endeavours. The proposed network consists of an active and acclaimed group of junior and senior scholars from eleven universities in eight countries.The use of both co-located and virtual multicultural teams has become the modus operandi in many organizations, despite the fact that achieving the benefits of multiculturality has proven difficult. Extant research on multicultural teams examines students, employees and managers, is carried out with quantitative and qualitative methods, maps co-located and virtual teams, focuses on problems, processes, challenges and organisational outcomes, and enlightens us about effective management tools, models and procedures. It is our firm belief that we need to focus the efforts of the network on unleashing the potential of multi-cultural teams, instead of studying how to avoid and manage the problems created by heterogeneity. Challenges to leveraging culture in teams evolve around learning, language, and leadership, specifically with respect to interpersonal interaction and team dynamics.The network’s formal activities include one inaugural meeting in Uppsala and three annual meetings during the years 2010-2012. The annual meetings will consist of ‘theme-based research sessions’, ‘creative workshops’, and ‘outlook sessions’ and will be held in Sångshyttan, Gothenburg and Stockholm. The idea is to link each geographical place to team-work during a specific era in Sweden: the world-supplying team-based iron-ore production in 16th century Bergslagen, the famous Volvo autonomous team experiments in the last decades of the 20th century, and the present-day multi-cultural project teams in consulting, information technology, and software firms.