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(Solved): COM263: Elements of Intercultural Communication: Lesson 11 Short Answer...

Elements of Intercultural Communication

Lesson 11 Short Answer


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CASE STUDY: Building a Multicultural Team -- Is it worth it?

Consider the following case study:

Kalia works in a large business, managing a diverse team of eight individuals. Two of her employees are in their early 20s, two in their 30s, three in their late 40s, and one in her late 50s. Four members of her team are Caucasian and the other four are Hispanic, African American, Asian, and African. Her younger employees are fairly new, having been there for less than two years. Most of her team members have worked with the organization for 5 to 10 years, and her most senior staff has been there for 25 years, 10 years longer than Kalia has been in her leadership position.

Generally, team members are cordial to one another on the surface, but Kalia knows that there are tensions among some of the staff, which has an impact on the success and productiveness of the team. She is aware that one of the younger employees, Robert, is frequently frustrated that his Hispanic coworker, Ana, defers authority and decision making to others in the team. In conversations with Robert, Ana discovers that the younger employee feels she should express her opinions more often. Robert’s frustration results from his belief that everyone on the team should be able to contribute in a shared, democratic process. He feels that when Ana defers her decision making to others she is not being accountable as a team member.

Margaret, a senior member of the team, has picked up on Robert’s comments and feels that he is disrespectful of Ana’s working style. Margaret has mentioned to Robert that it could be a “cultural thing” and that he should learn to adapt his behavior and working style to better meet Ana’s needs. In response, Robert mutters,“Whatever. You don’t know anything about us.” Responses like this have led Margaret to believe that Robert is disrespectful of her knowledge and tenure in the organization.

Frankly, Kalia is tired of managing people’s personalities. She feels that people should just learn to adapt to each other’s working styles. Even though she believes this, she also believes a good leader has to unite the team, no matter their differences and working styles. This year, she has made a personal and team goal to resolve these intercultural issues. But, given her previous attempts, she does not have high hopes for a successful outcome. The last time she tried to resolve intercultural team issues she felt like a complete failure. Kalia is concerned about the employees’ responses to this next attempt. In fact, every time Kalia thinks about the meeting, she flinches. Kalia just did not have the skill set to facilitate the conversation in their last meeting. She wonders if this next try will help her team progress in any way or whether it will just be another failure.

Write a mini-reflection paper (2-3 pages, double-spaced) integrating your responses to the following questions. In your paper, integrate at least three (3) key concepts or principles from the material for Lesson 11 and/or previous lessons. Provide examples from your own life experience to make your points (and to demonstrate you have done the readings). You may also consult external sources for support.

  1. How do you describe Kalia’s self-efficacy?
  2. How does Kalia’s self-efficacy impact her leadership?
  3. What strategies do you recommend to Kalia to help her improve her cultural intelligence?
  4. What suggestions do you have for Kalia in leading her staff to be a culturally intelligent team?

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