I worked in a group of four which focused on developing quality management plan for Antarctic Café, located in Melbourne, Australia. Members of the group were randomly selected in the class by the lecturer and thus, my group had a high level of diversity. The group contained one lady; Patel Kruti from India, who acted as the group coordinator, and three men; Khaalid Ansaari from Australia, who acted as the project manager, and Ali Alshaghdali as well as me; Ali Alshehri, both from Saudi Arabia, who made a significant contribution in the development and writing of the project. Initially, there was tension among the group members based on the high level of cultural diversity. However, Khaalid was able to create conducive group atmosphere such that everything went well and the diversity was highly forgotten.
One thing I learnt from this group is multicultural management skill and its importance in a group management. I learnt this from the group project manager Khaalid. Although Khaalid is an Australian, he has learnt some Arabic and can sometimes communicate in Arabic. This alone was good enough to ease the tension among the members and to demonstrate that cultural diversity is appreciated and respected in the group. His friendly attitude was able to influence the group members and to create great level of cohesion in the group. Khaalid approach to the situation made other members to love him and trust his leadership qualities. He demonstrated intelligence features and good internet skills, which included speedy search of information. His ability to unite people from diverse culture made it easy for us to do our project. It was easy to schedule our group meetings and to adhere to the schedule. We met three times in the university library, with each meeting taking a maximum of two hours. All these meetings were effectively managed, where a lot was accomplished without wasting time and at easy, where each member was able to make unique and intelligent contribution. Khaalid ability to create a favourable atmosphere also made it easy for us to discuss major project issues, to divide the involved work, and to solve different project related problems among other things, without conflicts, biases, or negative attitude toward each other. This also enhanced communication among us. We could easily contact each other via mail to ask questions, to seek clarification and even for simple things such as reminding each other of the next meeting. Good cultural diversity management made it easy for use to complete our project successfully as required by the lecturer and as per the instructions.
Each group contains central features that determine its success or failures. These features include communication, influence, interaction, interdependence shared tasks and goals, and a structure among others (Forsyth, 2006, p.4). When these features are employed as required, a group normally experience a great success in accomplishing its goals and objectives. My group had one major challenge of cultural diversity which threatened communication, interaction, and interdependency of the group members. This could have made it hard to accomplish the shared goals and objectives of the group members. However, Khaalid skills in eliminating the cultural tension and creating a learning atmosphere where we all realized that we are student from the same university and focusing on acquiring knowledge and success eliminated the tension. His friendly approach demonstrated that we are all equal and no one considers him or herself superior than others. His ability to speak in Arabic demonstrated that he does not have any negative perception towards people of other cultures. This eliminated doubts regarding racism or intention of prejudicing people from other culture.
Khaalid friendliness was very important to the group since he was the only group member from Australia and thus, he was in his home country, while all other members were foreigners. Thus, his welcoming attitude demonstrated that he valued us as his group members and he was ready to share our knowledge and abilities to ensure the project success. This made it easier for us to work together as a team without any psychological distress or negative attitudes. It made all members to look forward into project discussion meetings, with anticipation of learning from each other, and sharing ideas with fear of being ill-treated or feeling inferior. This aspect strengthened our group and made it easier for group member to interact with each other, to share responsibilities, to divide tasks, to make contributions, to raise any idea or issue, communicate, and to remain wholly committed to their assigned duties without fail. The general outcome was successful completion of the project within the set time, and without straining some members more than it was necessary.
Multicultural management skill is very important when dealing with members from different cultural backgrounds. People from different culture have different perspectives, beliefs, norms, values, and more importantly in this case languages. Thus, poor management in this case can easily result to unnecessary conflicts, making it hard to interrelate and accomplish the shared goals. Effective diversity management skills played a great role in the successful completion of our project. We were able to express our ideas and opinions without hesitation or fear. It made us feel comfortable among each other and equal to each other. In this regard, we all made effort to make equal contribution. We were able to share knowledge and skills as students should, without prejudicing each other or making others to feel inferior due to their culture or origin. Communication was made easy and effective to ensure that all members got the message at the right time. Our diversity was effectively used to enhance unique academic contribution and knowledge. This made me realize that when well-managed, diverse group of individuals can easily solve complex problems effectively, and be of great benefit to each other in any work environment.
We are currently living in a globalized world were people from different cultural backgrounds are required to work together to accomplish important tasks in different organizations. I intend to employ the learnt cultural management skill in the future; especially if I will get an opportunity to lead a diverse group in the future projects in school or in an organization team. I have learnt the importance of respecting values, beliefs, and cultures of others, and working with people without dwelling much into their weaknesses, but focusing more on their strengths. With this knowledge, I will easily manage to enhance inclusion in a diverse team and to create a common culture that will make every member of the team or group to feel comfortable and at ease.
Forsyth, D. R, 2006, “Group Dynamics 4th ed,” New Zealand: Thomson Wadsworth