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How is globalisation impacting your business and your work relationships?

Do you have a multicultural team? Are your leaders culturally intelligent to effectively lead their teams?

business in a globalised and connected world

What is the effect of globalisation on workplaces and professional relationships?

The world is more connected than ever before. Here’s the effect of globalisation on interpersonal connections and tips on how to manage it.

Erin Meyer, the author of the successful book “The Culture Map” stated, that you might be an Australian person setting up your business in France, a Scottish person working in Brazil, or a French person working in Australia. What is complicated is understanding how to adapt your style to accomplish things you desire. To make sure your message is understood correctly, it's important to be aware of how differently people from across cultures perceive the same issue.

Globalisation, as defined in business terms by Laurie J. Mullins - refers to organisations integrating, operating, and competing in a worldwide economy. The advances in information and communication technologies, greater cross-cultural awareness, increased mobility of labour, and growing acceptance of diversity have resulted in greater globalisation.

When you assemble a team with people from different countries, you’re able to have a much more complete picture of things since several perspectives are involved. However, with cultural differences come interpersonal obstacles.

When multicultural teams operate in a business setting the following issues may arise:

  • Mistrust — including stereotyping

  • Miscommunication

  • Process difficulties

Reaping the benefits of having a culturally diverse team may only be successful whilst having a manager who can deal with and manage cultural differences adequately.

There is no question that globalisation is going to affect your business if it hasn’t already. Therefore, we’ve presented 2 powerful tips that may help you tackle the interpersonal problems that come along with worldwide integration.

iceberg ad an image of global aspects of human persnolaity

Effectively lead a multicultural team - tip 1

Take time to do your research. Researching the aspects and etiquette of your team’s cultures may take some time. However, it will be worth your while since you’re able to decipher people’s thoughts and avoid cultural pitfalls — learn to recognise the variations in workplace attitudes and behaviours.

The iceberg of culture model by Edward T. Hall is a great way to illustrate the underlying elements of culture. It resembles that a small percentage of the actual factors at play are observable. Investigating non-observable aspects enables you to understand and ultimately manage the cultural differences within your team.

Also, gaining knowledge about how daily business activities go down within different cultures will help you succeed in an international environment.

For example, the approach towards decision-making; top-down or consensual, providing evaluation; direct or indirect negative feedback. The Culture Map is an effective tool to understand these distinctions.

Effectively lead a multi-cultural team - tip 2

Question your assumptions and knowledge. Complimentary to the previous tip, it is important to ask yourself whether your methods and assumptions are applicable in the current situation. People from different cultures are trained to think differently. Then, it is needed to question your leadership and communication style and adapt accordingly. According to Phil McKinney, retired CTO of HP, not questioning your assumptions restrains you from being innovative and flexible.

To conclude, globalisation is like an overwhelming wave. You can’t stop it – you can only go with the flow and hope for the best. The fight to stay above the water can be influenced by your flexibility as an individual and as a company.

New Reflections offers training solutions for handling the effects of globalisation:

To improve your cross-cultural awareness, click here.

For leadership and management training courses, click here.

To see all the training courses that New Reflections has to offer, click here.


  1. The Culture Map by Erin Meyer was created to provide a framework for evaluating different cultures. The book contains a field-tested model that is useful for finding out how international business is affected by different cultures, and the book contains a lot of practical advice for everyone working in a global environment.

  2. Hofstede Insights compares countries based on 6 elements; e.g. the power distance referring to the hierarchy within societies. Using this tool enables you to understand cultural differences per country.

  3. McKinney, P. (2017). To Innovate You Need To Question Your Assumptions. Retrieved from Beyond the Obvious:

  4. Meyer, E. (2015). The Culture Map. New York: Public Affairs.

  5. Mullins, L. J. (2016). Management & Organisational Behaviour 11th Edition. London: Pearson Education.

  6. A recent example of the effects of poor cultural management between an Australian and a French team over at Naval Group Australia, click here.


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