Cultural Differences – Managing Multicultural Teams

Diversity in the workplace involves cultural differences such as:

  1. Collectivistic vs. Individualistic
  2. Low context vs. High context
  3. Risk averse vs. Risk tolerant
  4. Low power vs. High power distance

Let us dive deeper into each of the item and find out where Canada belongs.

  1. Collectivistic vs. Individualistic
  • Collectivistic society emphasizes affiliation with group; fewer groups, however, diverse groups of strong loyal bonds.
  • Individualistic society emphasizes individual attributes and projects; many groups with superficial bonds.


Let’s look at comparison among countries:idv

The graph was referenced from Individualism Index (IDV) from Hofstede’s Index Comparisons:

Individualistic (higher scores)

  • Extensive use of “I
  • Frequent reference to person and personal achievement
  • People succeed of their own initiative
  • Individuals take decisions tend to be made by specific individuals


Collectivistic (lower scores)

  • Extensive use of “We
  • Frequent reference to group and group accomplishments
  • People succeed or fail as a group
  • Decisions are made with reference to impact to the group
  • Group decisions are often by group consensus; this can be distorted by hierarchy (high power distance).

I will discuss the next topics on future blog posts, follow me!



What is your CQ?

Canada is home to diverse cultures there’s no doubt about that. With the influx of migrants and/or temporary workers from all parts of the world, cultural adapatation seems to have been a challenge for those people and persons around them.

That is the reason why having an acceptable level of Cultural Intelligence or Cultural Quotient (CQ) will come very handy for all of us.

In a research article “Cultural Intelligence and Openness: Essential Elements of
Effective Global Leadership” by Verghese & D’Netto, they believed that leaders who possess good CQ will most likely to succeed within a team of international workforce.


“The model developed by Thomas and Inkson‟s (2004) has three components:
Knowledge, Mindfulness and Behavioural Skills, as illustrated in the following three
intersecting circles diagram (see Figure 1).

More specifically,
one must have a sufficient level of knowledge in order to understand cross-cultural differences;

one must have the mindfulness to be able to monitor and comprehend cross-cultural
situations; and finally,

one must have the ability to adapt their behaviour in accordance to whatever is appropriate for various cross-cultural situations.

Having these three traits creates a foundation for one to have a high level of cultural
intelligence (Thomas & Inkson, 2004).”


Did you remember what caused the Titanic to sink?



An iceberg.

So, an awareness of the cultural iceberg will help in developing our CQ.



You may find a lot of additional readings about the cultural iceberg thru Google search.