34
Multicultural Team
Building
Introduction
Gaining cooperation among people is critical to all team effectiveness,
and dealing with a diverse work force requires special knowledge and
sensitivity. It is important to remember that each culture has values and
communication styles that may make a significant difference.
Teams are distinguished from groups by their very nature. While groups
are only bodies of people, teams are created to accomplish certain
objectives, utilizing available resources in a methodical manner.
Objective
The purpose of this team-building activity is to offer participants an
opportunity to understand the elements of a successful team, as well as
appreciate the impact that cultural diversity has on team effectiveness.
The exercise demonstrates certain types of culturally-related approaches
to a team effort, and how the different approaches affect the success of
the team assignment.
Such approaches may be based on values, perceptions, motivation and
communication styles. It is important not only to recognize that there
are cultural dimensions, but also utilize them as strengths.
Time
60-90 minutes
Materials
Flipchart and marker
Paper and markers for participants
Handout 34.1 for each participant
Exercises 34.1 and 34.2 for each participant
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50 Activities for Diversity Training
Procedure
1. Ask the participants to call out words to describe a “team.” List them
on the flipchart and then ask for words that describe a “group.” List
them and discuss how a team differs from a group. Give participants
a chance to offer definitions of each and discuss ways to distinguish
one from the other. Write their answers on the flipchart.
2. Ask the group to list the advantages of a team over an individual on a
given assignment. Record the responses on another page. Ask
participants to keep this in mind as they do the role play.
3. Set up the role play by dividing into groups of five to seven,
depending on the number of participants. Distribute Handout 34.1
(instructions) to each individual and ask the participants to take a
moment to read it.
4. On a random basis, using Exercise 34.1, hand out as many different
role assignments as there are people in a group, beginning with
Assignment A, that is, a group of 7 will use all Assignments A
through G. MAKE SURE THAT NO MEMBER OF A GROUP KNOWS
THE ROLE ASSIGNMENT OF ANY OTHER MEMBER.
5. Distribute large sheets of paper and markers to each group.
6. Ask each group to complete the assignment within 10 minutes. Time
them.
7. After time is called, distribute Exercise 34.2. If there is an observer,
have him/her lead the group in a discussion as to what went on. (If
there is no observer, have each group name a discussion leader at
the completion of the exercise, and ask him/her to lead the
discussion.)
Conclusion
Have the observer or discussion leader in each group report out loud to
the full group what happened. Ask questions such as, “Would your
group have proceeded differently with a leader? What skills could have
helped the group progress more effectively? What could be done to plan
ahead for the next meeting to have things run more smoothly?”
Since many of the assigned behaviors were culturally oriented, ask how
the group members could have seen to it that individual needs were met
and that all contributions were respected and accepted in a positive way.
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Multicultural Team Building
Trainer’s Notes
Prior to the training, you will need some advance preparation. Make
copies of Exercise 34.1 and cut them into strips.
Do not include these strips or Exercise 34.2 in any handout packet;
instead hand them out at the appropriate times during the exercise.
(This exercise is based on research by G. Hofstede and a presentation by
Joyce Francis.)
In step 1 of the Procedure, you might conclude with the following
definitions:
Group: A unit formed by a body of people gathered together
Team: A unit created to accomplish certain objectives in an efficient
way and utilize available resources in a methodical manner
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