SCENARIO: Your U.S. headquartered firm wants to explore the feasibility of expanding internationally by first partnering with a firm in Greece for some of its products and services. Preliminary discussions at the senior levels of both firms have been positive, suggesting the potential for a strong and mutually beneficial relationship. For your firm, expected benefits include not only improved capacity and increased efficiency but also an expansion of the company’s talent pool and added knowledge about operating in southern Europe. There is a specific interest in learning what is needed to build and support highperforming teams that are multicultural, multifunctional, geographically dispersed, and that must rely on technology for communication and decision making. You have been given a short amount of time to conduct the necessary research and to brief the executive team on the issues you anticipate the virtual team will confront and the resources needed for success. Specifically, your boss has shared that one of his biggest concerns is with key national cultural differences that may impact the team’s ability to work effectively with counterparts in Greece. Your boss has also shared with you that the firm's leaders want to use your experience as a way to improve both the cultural intelligence and teaming competency of its workforce. Your company is not only new to working internationally but is also new to using such complex virtual teams. Your boss knows you are pursuing an MBA so expects you will be adept at finding useful and reliable information but one source he has heard about and recommends is the Hofstede Center (see https://geert hofstede.com/greece.html for comparison of Greece to the US), which profiles the research of one of the leading experts on country cultural differences and their implications for businesses. • NOTE: You should assume individuals on this global team will have the necessary jobrelated skills for success and that all employees have a • • • • • command of the English language. In other words, don’t focus on language training. The focus here is on working with individuals from a different culture virtually as a team. Assume members from the two locations will NOT be able to get together physically. The emphasis is on working virtually. Question #1 is asking you to identify any other assumptions that your team has agreed to when framing what you would do with the project (i.e., providing the context). Some teams find it helpful to create a hypothetical organization. They name the organization, briefly provide the company's mission, specify what they do (service provided, product manufactured or sold, etc.), identify how big they are (number of employees, number of sites, etc.), and provide some basic parameters for this project (e.g., supported by leadership, have sufficient or limited budget, etc.). This is all up to your team if you’d like to do that. There is no minimum or maximum number of assumptions you should add. This is just your chance to frame or identify the scope of your project, since you can’t address everything. Question #6 asks you to identify about what else the team should be thinking about, what else they (you) would want to know prior to taking on this work assignment. PROJECT QUESTIONS: What assumptions (other than those listed below in NOTE) has the team agreed upon to help frame and appropriately limit this project? What challenges and opportunities should this virtual team that is multicultural, multinational, multifunctional, timezone challenged, geographically dispersed, and comprised of members from two companies expect and why? • What knowledge, traits, behaviors, and attitudes should the leader and members of this type of team have and why? (Note: The knowledge referred to here is for working in this type of virtual team, not job specific/content knowledge.) • What readings and training would you recommend to help ensure this team’s success (provide rationale)?
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