Dear PM Advisor, I like your assessment of different personality styles and how they affect the leader and team members. What are your thoughts about dealing with people from different countries?
Ugly American in Ohio
Dear Ugly American,
There are two leading authors on the subject of how national origin affects handling of different scenarios. Their names are Hofstede and Tompenaars. They have both conducted extensive research in this area. Their results can assist you in dealing effectively with global teams.
They each did research within global organizations into how people from different nations act in different scenarios. Hofstede's Power Distance Indicator, for instance, looks at how comfortable people are in confronting their superiors. In the US and Australia there is little discomfort here while in South Korea, co-pilots would allow an airplane to crash rather than question the judgement of the senior officer.
According to Hofstede, the other differentiators between countries are:
- Universalism versus particularism.
- Individualism versus communitarianism.
- Specific versus diffuse.
- Neutral versus emotional.
- Achievement versus ascription.
- Sequential time versus synchronous time.
- Internal direction versus outer direction.
The idea is that one cannot always use the same techniques that work in your own country when you are working abroad.