“In reality, the Chinese team members may have a lot to say but are uncomfortable offering their opinions, especially when they do not agree, because they respect authority and seniority.”
Zhao says he’s not aware of any programs that specifically focus on training IT pros in how to manage across cultures. Beckstrom says that although big companies often offer cultural training for executives on overseas assignments, they rarely do so when the manager of an overseas team in India never leaves his or her living room in Indiana.
But even the best education can only go so far. At a certain point, IT pros may simply have to jump in and learn on their feet.
“People working in increasingly global organizations need to develop new skills in managing across cultures and working remotely with virtual teams in other locations,” says MIT’s Malone. “There’s no substitute for actual experience.”
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