Four Practices to Integrate Multinational Teams

in Business Management
Multinational Team

How to Promote Trust and Cooperation in a Cross-Cultural Company

More organizations have staff from different sociocultural backgrounds. This article discusses how to assimilate an international team for greater productivity.

In this age of globalization with the mass migration of human talent from one country to another, more organizations are employing multinational workers who were reared in vastly different cultural contexts.

How can a company with staff members from such divergent backgrounds bring them together for the common good of the enterprise?

How do corporate executives and managers instill a sense of camaraderie that will lead to further efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity?

Trust is the Key to Effective Cross-Cultural Integration

Vijay Govindarajan, director of the Center for Global Leadership at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School, and Anil K. Gupta, a professor of strategy and global e-business at the Centre for Management in Agriculture, suggest that the main obstacle and therefore the main key to effective multinational assimilation is a trust, which is often compromised by geographical, linguistic, and cultural barriers.

How does an organization cultivate trust amongst its international workforce?

Build Trust by Overcoming Barriers

First, to stimulate an atmosphere of trust amongst its transnational staff members, executives and business leaders should devise ways to overcome barriers between ethnic factions.

In order to breakdown the walls between the various ethnic factions, Govindarajan and Gupta recommend trying some of the following ideas:

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Overcome Barriers by Investing in Cross-Cultural Training

Walls exist between international team members because of a lack of understanding. In order to knock down such walls, an global organization should invest in cross-cultural training.

Through cross-cultural training modules workers can learn skills on how to get along with those from other ethnic backgrounds.

Breakdown Walls by Agreeing on Norms of Behavior

Another reason barriers are erected between multinational staff members is because of ethnocentric mannerisms and habits that offend coworkers from other cultural settings.

One way to eliminate this problem is to agree upon general norms of behavior that apply to everyone equally.

Overcome Cross-Cultural Barriers by Encouraging Interpersonal Activities

A third reason walls exist between multinational workers is because they simply don’t know each other.

A solution to this problem is to build social capital and welfare by encouraging staff members to engage in interpersonal activities both in and outside of work time.

Breakdown Multicultural Walls by Giving Everyone an Opportunity to Speak

One last way executives and managers can bring their international teams together is to develop alternatives to enrich debate and give everyone an opportunity to speak on important issues.

Often barriers are built when staff members feel as if they have not been heard. When a company keeps an open door possibility and is willing to listen to the ideas of all their workers, there will be a greater sense of satisfaction and trust.

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In these ways, business and organizational leaders can overcome barriers to cross-cultural integration and develop a deeper sense of trust and cooperation amongst its multinational workforce.


Govindarajan, V., & Gupta, A. “Building an Effective Global Business Team.”

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