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Diversity Management In Coca Cola

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Commerce
Wordcount: 5397 words Published: 9th May 2017

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With the globalization of trade and investment, organizations are increasingly faced with diversity in their workforce. Firm gets more internationalized, both with implantation abroad and by trade with companies in different countries. With the rapid progress in the field of communication it is now possible to meet in real time with people of different nationalities around the same project.

These changes lead to complex relationship with new clients, suppliers, employees and other stakeholders of cultures. The rebirth of the influence of intercultural in management is in fact quiet recent. Whatever your work, the meeting of different cultures is a daily reality in a growing number of companies. In fact many companies have indeed understood the cultural diversity of their customer, which called diversity in the ranks of their own employees.

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This diversification strategy of human international resources in company is to better meet the expectations of its customers, to enhance its brand image and its legitimacy, a vital condition if it wants to remain competitive. Moreover diversity allows increasing productivity and innovation making easier the resolution of problems. Diversity leads to ethnicity, and ethnic diversity implies heterogeneity in languages, religions, races and cultures. If years ago we talked about multidisciplinary team which aggregate different professional’s skills, the differences are now more prominent in multicultural team. Multicultural teams require close collaboration between individual’s belief, value, and opposite behavior. The difficulties for the team increase since the differences are not only about professional dimensions but also about values and individuals standards. It is necessary to precise that kind of intercultural relationship can also be a source of incomprehension, misunderstanding, and can quickly cause tension. In this configuration the role of the manager is not only to perform his own work but also to both prevent damage and ensure harmony in his team in matter to increase the efficiency.

Consequently, the effective composition or diversity of teams and the way to manage them has become an interesting topic of research in the last few years.


Multiculturalism’s notion

As a concept and policy, multiculturalism has been developed in the United States and Canada. It refers to the institutional recognition of multiple cultural identities, ethnic or social within the same society. It recognizes the legitimacy of these identities, their ability to transform, and rejects the assimilation process which is generally called principle of monoculturalism. Multiculturalism is a major social phenomenon, both a source of enrichment and conflict, especially in a world of globalization with high mobility – generated including migration, legal or not.

Of course, our world is multicultural. Nowadays, almost all countries are multicultural, due to migration and the symbolic presence of other cultures (such as consumerism, individualism and materialism). Many individuals are also multicultural. To have an example, we can take the case of the inhabitants of Eastern Spain which are fully bilingual in Spanish and Catalan, two languages ​​of the Iberian Peninsula.

In our business case, multiculturalism refers to a community or a team with members which have different cultures. We talk about cultural diversity. Multiculturalism focuses on two important points which are interactions and communication between the various cultures in order to achieve a common goal and to be efficient (among others)

Definition of a multicultural team

Before giving a definition of multicultural team we should see what a team is.

A team: it may be defined as a collaboration of two or more people who work together to achieve common goals. A team is a set of characters having complementary specific skills united by one or several common objectives among which each feels mutually responsible.

According to Mister Schermerhorn (Managing organizational behavior author), a team:

Is a natural phenomenon within the organization

Has a beneficial effect on the individuals and the organization

Stimulates the innovation and the creativity

Allows, in different situations, a better decision-making

Obtains from members that they make a commitment to apply the decisions which are taken in common.

Teams are good for both organizations and their members, helping to accomplish important tasks and to maintain a high-quality workforce.

A teamwork: A teamwork is collaboration between internal or external actors to the company to reach a common goal.

The conception of these teams can answer different objectives: decision-making, development of activities, coordination …

With a working team, company can:

Problems solving

Accomplish tasks faster

Healthy competition

Developing Relationships

Teamwork has many advantages such as the effect of synergy, motivation or support. These effects resulted from good exchanges between colleagues. In a team work, everybody brings its own qualities and skills. It permits to the team to be more efficient in a work.

With a team, it is also easier to generate creativity through sharing skills and ideas of each. However, its members must be mindful of the importance of internal communication, time management and especially respect for others. Teamwork requires a lot of patience and take into account the opinions and advice of other members.

To define what a multicultural team is, we must first understand the difference between this team and the monocultural team.

In a monocultural team, members arise from the same social and cultural context. They share the same values, style of communication and language. Generally, they also have the same management.

It is not really the same thing in a multicultural team. Indeed, in this type of team, members come from various cultural contexts, different country. Members have fewer elements in common compare to a monocultural team.

Due to their nationality and thus their culture, they don’t have the same perception of the teamwork. This difference can have an important impact on the organization.

The work with this type of team can be factor of productivity. However, if the team is not well managing, this work can also drive to differences of opinion, tensions and conflicts. These points will be developed a little further in the report. (See section II.1 and II.2)

Different type of team.

Multicultural team is a general term, but to be more precise we can define different type of multicultural team.

Token team :

In this case, everybody has the same nationality, the same culture and speaks the same language, except one. This can turn out to be a problem because this one will not have necessarily same interpretation, same solutions as the other teams members. Being in minority, this person is not sure that his opinion has a lot of impact.

Bicultural team :

Only two cultures are present in this team. This type of team is formed generally following a fusion, an alliance or following a joint-venture. A bicultural team has very often a big potential of synergies but also conflicts because there is always a part which want to be in a strong position. This one is then going to impose more its ideas, strategies, working mode and its language. Feelings of superiority and inferiorities are frequent, as well as a competition between both. It is necessary to be careful to set up clear and accepted rules of functioning by all the team members and to appoint a leader who has a big multicultural sensibility to well manage the team.

Multicultural team:

It is about the most current shape. The members come from at least three different cultures. Contrary to the bicultural teams, the problem of power and the competition is less important. The members propose a multitude of ideas, strategies and working modes and seem to adapt more easily. We often speak about “intercultural courtesy”. A common language (generally English) and a leader (often stemming from the culture of the warehouse) are more easily chosen and accepted.

Virtual Multicultural Team:

Traditionally teamwork is together, at the same time, at the same place. People physically meet.

Now with the new technologies of information and communication, in particular Internet, the teams work at a distance on a precise project and can so gather resources, skills… the whole without moving! That’s why they are called “virtual multicultural team”.

The main benefits to the organization are initially greater efficiency due to economies of transport, reducing office space, or the reduced cost in labor when wages are adjusted to the local market. Another advantage is having access to a pool of human resources who are familiar with the areas in which they operate.

On the organizational level, the most important problem is certainly the loss of synergy that usually results by exchanges between colleagues. Performance is not always there: skills and knowledge are more easily scattered.

The team development is an additional challenge due to the distance and lack of contact between the members.

On the individual level, learning opportunities, often related to sharing experiences with others, are reduced in a virtual operation.

It allows also a considerable saving of time. We say that with this social structure the 24 hours of day can be completely used.

Indeed, the Japanese manager who will have worked 8 hours on the project can then pass on it to his colleague in Spain. He will spend also 8 hours there and to pass on the whole to the American colleague, which, when he will have finished, will pass on transmit again his work to the Japanese colleague. Thanks to the time difference!

How build your team?

A multicultural team is more effective than a monocultural one, but you will have to pick different profiles or your team will be inefficient.

The planner: he will bring his methods to make the team effective. He will be able (when it’s needed) to refocus the debates and the goals.

The federator: he will unify the team and use every skill at its best.

The innovator: he will suggest ideas to the group and propose original solutions.

The network member: he will help the team by using his external partners.

The impartial member: he will analyze and evaluate ideas, and he will be critical.

The facilitator: he will listen to his mates, make the work easier by increasing communication, and keep cohesion when the team is in troubles.

The guarantor: he will maintain the team on its goal and prevent from mistakes.

The motor: he will be dynamic and focus the attention on the main issues.

You don’t have the obligation to have one of each in your team, bu you have to be sure that you have varied profile. When you decide to build up a multicultural team, you will have to wonder some questions, and try to answer, taking into account specificities of your colleagues.

At the beginning, you will have to define your goal, what is it, how precisely you have to reach it, what are the objectives, how can you measure them… by taking into account specificities: some person will focus on goals, others on process, some may have more consideration for status other will look at skills,… You also have to focus on your priority: time, quality, or budget.

After that you have to structure the mission and fix the matter of agenda, the importance of deadline (are they fixed? Does it matter if there a lateness? What happens if deadline are not respected?), the role of every member (Should there be a leader? How should he be chosen? Who needs to be at which meeting?).

This was for the creation of your team. Then you will have to manage it, you will have to choose the time you will take to social activities and workshops to build the team spirit, which is the language of your group (and how you deal with the gap of knowledge in this language). To perform your group to work effectively you have to promote some means of communication and the computing format you are waiting for. You also have at the deal with conflicts as a manager: why are there conflict? Who are the protagonists?

At the end of your mission you will have to evaluate performances of your team. You have to decide when you will do it, how you will take account feedback, how you show them your report (individually, or not)

To answer all these questions you have to know how they are usually working: the size of the hierarchy, if they are always working all together or if they are sharing work and then working on their own… You have to understand the way they follow rules, the importance they tend to human contact, if they are more individual collective.


Why to set up a multicultural team?

The first reason is to answer to the evolution of our world economic. Everybody knows that the internationalization became major for the companies which wish to remain in the competition.

Be present on a new market, to merge with other companies, to develop joint venture on unknown territories … here is so many reasons which incite the company to master the cultural dimension.

Furthermore, we note that the pressure of the environment and the competition encourages companies to turn to the international by hiring employees who come from diverse countries and have different culture. Indeed, many are the companies which have to go out of their national frame to face a strong competition and to develop their activities.

Companies so gradually became multicultural groups where express themselves the social and cultural characteristics of the diverse nationalities which compose it.

One of the main advantages of the cultural diversity would be the obtaining of synergies due to the creative mix of the various cultural approaches in the resolution of given problems (technical, commercial, human). Studies showed that the multicultural teams often allow a better resolution of problems considered as complexes, thanks to their cultural diversity.

The cultural diversity becomes consequently a fundamental axis of the management of companies. Multicultural teams constitute a strategic force. They allow combining and developing synergies with a view to progress, original solutions in terms of strategies and skills. Innovation and anticipating changes are at the heart of the achievements of multicultural teams. In an optical marketing, multicultural teams develop a facility to adapt to the local markets evolution as well as political and legal differences. (By contacting the specific cultural)


At first, there is this equation: Actuel productivity = potential productivity – losses due to faulty process

When you manage a multicultural team, the potential productivity is higher than a regular team, and the potential productivity is also constant. What the manager can influence is the losses due to faulty process; this one only depends on the manager skills. If he fails to make his team work as one, losses due to faulty process will be higher than the increase of the productivity linked to the multicultural aspect.

How do cultural differences improve the competitiveness of a company?

Different points of view lead to different opinion

First of all, diversity team have different cultures and different ways of mind, that’s why they will settle issues faster than usual teams, especially when these problems are complex.

When they every member of an multicultural team meet each other, they have to open their mind to accept their differences and to go through to build relationships. That’s why they will also fit faster with new components and new issues: because they are more open to originality. Due to their varied backgrounds members will create more ideas, more inventive alternatives, more arguments.

As a manager of a globalized company you should also notice that multicultural team will make product that will fit to all your clients (from China to Europe, and South America)

Different point of view avoid groupthink

Furthermore, diversity able a team to avoid Groupthink which is a major source of ineffectiveness in a team: Groupthink is the fact that every body in a team think in the same way. This kind of team will have neither creativeness nor originality. They are many symptoms of groupthink: overestimating the team’s power and morality, closed mindedness, pressure toward uniformity

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Compared with monocultural team, multicultural counterparts are less likely to engage in this counterproductive behavior because they will note subconsciously limit their mind, or if they do so, they would not have the same limit since they don’t have the same culture. Groupthink leads to many problems. Self censoring: people won’t express their ideas if there are too innovative, in order to stay in the majority and in the consensus. An illusion of unanimity: since every member will think that his colleagues are sharing his point of view; they won’t be any debate and no exchange of ideas. The team won’t be able to take into consideration every detail, every risk, every weakness of a new project and it will lead to a failure. People may also feel more pressure on their shoulder which will create stress and less efficiency.

What are the difficulties?

At first, when you create your team, you have to build the team to create a spirit between your teammates. It’s the most difficult parts and the most important one, if you succeed then your team will be very efficient but if you fail, you will have to deal with mistrust, miscommunication, and stress.

How to build up a team spirit?

When you build up an multicultural team, you will have to face stereotypes and clichés. If you don’t want it to poison your team and make it unable to work united, you will have to do things to make your co-worker trust each other.

The first thing is to make your member meet each other, talk to each other, open their mind to other culture and make them accept differences. We are always using more distance communication like phone and email. Some members of your team may see each other only twice a year. But it is really important to make them speech together, because it’s much harder to build a relationship through electronic devices. Some managers may find it useless to waste time just to chat about our life, but you better have to lose a few hours now than many days later (because you chain of command failed,…). This time of speech may also help the manager (aka you) to understand the habits of work of his colleagues. The relation they have with their boss, the way they take decisions, the way they try to reach their goals… If you want to be a good manager and to understand their acts, you have to know these things. Otherwise you may get angry at one of your team member for no reason (like

Gavin in the video who ask his Chinese colleagues to hurry up, but it is his boss that he should have asked). Every culture has a different value of the time and its implication, the influence of authority, different behavior toward risk…

To build your team you can use several tools:

Workshop: to make people speech to each other about value they share, or hobbies they have in common. It’s important for them to see that they have similarities. But avoid some conflict themes like religion, politics, and don’t talk about work.

Serious game: As it’s a game, people will have less pressure on their shoulders, but they will learn to work as a team, they will solve problems (even if it’s not real cases). And it’s also a way (for the manager) to know the role of each member of the team (who naturally try to lead, who is the facilitator…) and it will be useful for the rest of the mission (to delegate work more efficiently).

Outside activities: many companies offer activities their employees (week end of fishing, or trip to a ski station…). For most of them it’s even obligatory to do their assertiveness training every year. Advantages of these activities are that they make people meet out of work, with no pressure, just to talk about their life, so they will understand their colleagues more easily and their work will be improved. On the other side these activities are very expensive, but manager should take into consideration benefits due to an increase of productivity after these activities.

During these activities, your goal is to create links between your teammates, but you should take care to downward slides: don’t take any risk of accidents, incidents arising from alcohol, romantic relations between staff (whether extra-marital or not)…

If you don’t succeed to build up your team spirit it will lead you to other problems.

Problems of mistrust are generally due to a poor knowledge of your team member. If you don’t know enough his culture it will lead to misunderstanding. Since he is from a different country with a different background, he also has other habits and you should take it into account and not consider it as if it was the reaction of someone of your own culture (for example, when an Indian is acknowledging authority, he is looking down, what European and American can perceive as a lack of trustworthiness). Risks link to mistrust are a bad communication between member, an inaccuracy of stereotypes, and it will lead to less efficiency in your team.

In your team, people from the same country may speak their native language when they are together, but as the manager, you have to be sure about the common language of your team. To avoid problems of miscommunication you have to be sure that every document is in the same language. You also have to be sure that people don’t stay with those from the same country. These two worries will make the team less efficient as the team will be split in many pieces. This could slow the information between every member of the team; you will have translation problems and redundancies due to a lack of communication.

Finally, as an international manager you have to be sure that all these methods and way to work doesn’t stress your partners. Some people, who don’t have the habits to work in a multicultural team, may feel a bit overwhelmed. Stress may also be linked to a lack of integration of its members. Then, they might have the feeling to work alone or perceive the other members as competitors. This would imply counterproductive behavior (such as retention of information) or tension between your team mates

Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory

We will now talk about Geert Hofstede a social psychologist and a Dutch anthropologist who study the interactions between cultures. He has been awarded many times for his research on the interactions between cultures in the world. One of his achievements is the establishment of a theory of cultural dimensions provides a evaluation of the differences between nations and cultures. According to him, there is nothing like a universal management method or management theory, valid throughout the world. The theory was one of the first that could be quantified, and could be used to explain observed differences between cultures. It has inspired a number of other major cross-cultural studies of values, as well as research on other aspects of culture, such as social beliefs. Hofstede has found most of its data on cultural values through global surveys conducted by IBM, an American company specializing in technology and consulting.

The theory is based on the idea that the value can be placed on six cultural dimensions:

Power distance: “Power distance is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally”. This dimension analyses the feelings of people. A low score in power distance indicates a culture expects and accepts that power relations are democratic and that its members are perceived as equal. A high score means that the members of society who have less power accept their condition and realize the existence of a form of hierarchical position.

Individualism vs collectivism: “The degree to which individuals are integrated into groups”. This dimension has no political connotations and makes more reference to the group than the individual. Individualistic cultures give importance to the achievement of personal goals. In collectivist society, the group’s goals and well-being have greater value than the individual.

Uncertainty avoidance index: “a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity”. This dimension measures how a company handles situations unknown, unexpected events and anxiety about change. Cultures that have a high index are less tolerant in term of change while companies whose index is low are more open to change, have fewer rules and laws, and guidelines are more flexible.

Masculinity vs femininity: “The distribution of emotional roles between the genders”. This dimension measures the level of importance a culture places to male stereotypes values such as confidence, ambition, power and materialism, as well as feminine stereotypes values such as the emphasis on human relations.

Long-term orientation vs short term orientation: called “Confucian dynamism”. In the long term: values oriented towards the future, as to save money and be persistent. Short term: values oriented towards the past and the present, like respect for tradition and fulfilling its social commitments.

Pleasure vs moderation: This dimension measures the ability of a culture to meet immediate needs and personal desires of its members.

To understand management in a country, you should have the knowledge and empathy with the local society as a whole. However, the point of the unique statistical study that Hofstede conducted should warn everyone that people in other countries may think, feel, and act very differently, even when they are confronted with basic problems. Hofstede emphasizes that cultural dimensions are only a framework for evaluating a given culture, and guide to a better


Multicultural Management’s notion

The difference between people has always existed even if all of them come from the same country. For example even in a small country like France, you can feel diversity. People from the north can be easily compared with German people, and the ones that live in the south have a whole different mentality that can fit with the Spanish one.

And that can also be found in a smaller range, just like a family! Everyone isn’t the same, there are male/female and among these two parts, you can also find diversity if you look the characteristic of each individuals, it can be very different.

You can take the example of teachers. They are dealing with young people, and they can come from all around the world as easily as if they belonged to the neighborhood. It could be that most of them are too young to have already a strong culture and strong differences, but the teacher can already feel it. After all it’s a management job too!

In fact, multicultural management -that is more global- is the same as in monocultural management -neighborhood student- with even more diversity because difference rate can increase a lot, when we put together people that come from all around the world.

As already said before, if you have to deal with people with a high rate of diversity, you will need to prevent all the problems that could come from the origin of stereotypes that comes from every culture.

That’s why, if someone ask us what is Multicultural team management is really about. We won’t hesitate saying that it is about Management!”

Once we have agreed with that, we can focus on the diversity/Multicultural side of it.

And now we will talk about some key points that need to be correctly filled to work efficiently in multicultural groups. Or in other words, what behavior should have a good Multicultural manager.

What vision a good Multicultural Manager should have ?

To work efficiently with a multicultural group and having the best productivity, the manager should follow some different rules. His attitude is essential for the best cohesion in the team.

Human Resources should never judge the new potential employee according to a physical aspect. It has been proved that judging physically the people in a team won’t maximize the effectiveness of the group.

This service should not judge the people according to his origin, but only on his abilities. “To maximize team effectiveness, members should be selected homogeneous in ability level (thus facilitate accurate communication) and heterogeneous in attitudes (thus ensuring a wide range of solutions to problems)”

It’s called the Task-Related Selection.

Indeed you can compare that effect to the effect of Synergy.

“Synergy in terms of management and in relation to team working refers to the combined effort of individuals as participants of the team. Positive or negative synergy can exist. The condition that exists when the organization’s parts interact to produce a joint effect that is greater than the sum of the parts acting alone.” (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_Concept_of_synergy)

Thus to sum up in an example, according to what is written upper, it would be a great idea to bring people that have nothing in common to work as a team to get the biggest variety of characteristics.

Such as a team composed with:

Physically Differences: boys, girls, young, old, pretty and ugly

Background Differences: Asian, European, American and African.

Values/Opinion Differences


However, as strange as it can seems in the first hand, people should maximize their cultural difference in the team. Be careful that team should not act as if the team was a monocultural one. Indeed, If diversity is ignored it will lead to a dead-end and the productivity will be lower. The manager has to form all of the people in the group to avoid ignorance of the cultural difference and so lead them


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