Document Type

Closed Project

Publication Date

Fall 2003


Dragan Milosevic

Course Title

Communications and Team Building

Course Number

EMGT 522/622


Executive Summary

As cultural beings, we are like fish in an aquarium. We can live comfortably inside our aquatic milieu without realizing the importance of the water of the tank that surrounds them. When we encounter people who are culturally different from us, their dissimilar ways of thinking and behavior challenge our fundamental ways of living. When this occurs or when we are staying in an unfamiliar culture, our identities undergo turmoil and transformation. The key, however, is to prepare ourselves with competent knowledge and skills so that we can enjoy this eye-opening intercultural learning experience. This report offers the foundational concepts and skills to be able to work effectively across a diverse range of intercultural situations. Through the theme of cross-cultural teams and projects, we put a compass and a map in your backpack to guide you through your different intercultural excursions. This is a report that is drawn from diverse research sources to support or clarify the various concepts. Since the reader may be engaged in different types of intercultural encounters, the report strives to prepare you to cross diverse-cultural boundaries with flexibility and the ability to adapt. The report is organized in three issues. Issue 1 presents the conceptual foundations of the study of in-group/out-group distancing. This section discusses the reasons to pay close attention to in-group/out-group distance. Cultural values such as individualism – collectivism shape our various identities, and these identities, in turn, sculpt the way we behave in particular interaction scenes. It also addresses the differences between individualistic value tendencies and collectivistic value tendencies to help us shift value lenses, and get ready, emotionally, and cognitively, to appreciate and understand the differences. Issue 2 focuses on trust within cross-cultural teams and concludes by presenting the stages of evolution of trust. Issue 3 consists of three parts and discusses the some concepts within the intercultural communication process. The first part highlights the importance of knowing the features and functions of language. While language is the key to the heart of a culture, communication is the heartbeat of a culture. The next part identifies the theme that affects the formation and maintenance of multicultural team members’ relationships. The last part maps out the approaches to overcome language barriers. The report ends with lessons we learned while researching intercultural skills in communication-based differences.


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