Cross Cultural Group Work

Decorative: A world map with the continents made of word clouds on "international" theme and six hands reaching into the map from various points as though working on a joint prject


From the University of Michigan, "Cross Cultural Group Work" (web page) engages the challenges and benefits of group work with students from diverse backgrounds.

  • "Challenges often arise from sources other than differences of language or classroom experience; they can come from different views of organizations, hierarchy, decision-making, and -- perhaps most important -- expressing agreement or disagreement."  

Using an "Issues/Strategies" structure, the web site provides practical responses to the following concerns that may occur in courses:

1. "Issues: Challenges to cross cultural teamwork"

  • Direct versus indirect communication (4 points)
  • Conflicting norms for decision making (1 point)
  • Differing attitudes toward hierarchy, authority, and respect (2 points)
  • Trouble with accents and fluency (5 points)

2. "Strategies for cross cultural teamwork"

  • Communication (7 points)
  • Designing collaborative work (3 points)
  • Assigning teams (4 points)
  • Assessing teams (3 points)
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