Lost in collaboration

18 August, 2017

Addressing cultural differences when it comes to team work is a must, says Amy Tian, a senior lecturer in human resources management at Curtin Business School.

Tian says businesses will have better outcomes if they address cultural diversity and its impact on teamwork.

“If you are looking at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, they say one in two Australians are born overseas or have parents born overseas—so almost 50 per cent,” she says.

“It is a growing workforce that we would be better to proactively deal with rather than wait and expect everyone can work nicely together, because things just don’t work that way.”

Tian will draw on research between a German cohort and a Chinese group and how they worked in the same conditions and environment at an Aldi store in Shanghai, China.     

“They were not mixed, but worked in the same organisation and environment,” she says.

“It identified a number of interesting things like what is recognised as good team work from the German aspect and the Chinese aspect.

“What is recognised is that in the German team the attitude is very much task related, whether the task is challenging, whether they have a sense of achievement when they finish the task.

“Whereas the Chinese team is more about harmony in relationship, commitment to fellow team members and is more relational related than task related.

“That may not necessary be surprising, but it was very clear from our data.”

Tian will talk more about global collaboration in a special Lost in Collaboration seminar on September 6 – get your tickets here.