Working in Multicultural Teams

24 Jun 2020 02 Jul 2020
Target Group
PhD students
Université Paris-Saclay, France


  1. How can we work effectively in a multicultural team? Is it possible to avoid that the codes and conventions of our respective educations hinder us in our communication?
  2. How can we make sure that relevant information known to a team member "comes to the surface" and is shared by all so that the team can make the best possible decision? Are there "signals" that indicate that a team is functioning well or poorly?
  3. How to organize a team for a specific project with difficult deliverables with a deadline and/or budget, whether it is a satellite, a building or a publication?

On these three subjects, there are ways to significantly improve the probability of success. We will see a certain number of them that have been formalized by professionals and researchers in books and case studies that we will study.


Philippe LAUNAY, Program Director, Métal Program, DASSAULT SYSTEMES

Teaching methods:

  • Multicultural teams: slides, work on documents and discussions
  • Team Decision Making: Case Studies and Discussions
  • Working in project mode: Exercise/Simulation and discussions.



  • Programme


    On topic 1 multicultural teams, we will see "cultural dimensions" defined by sociologists and practitioners such as D.Livermore or G.Hofstede. For example:

    • Hierarchical distance: With what degree of deference to the hierarchy (Boss, Parents, Teachers,...) have the team members individually learned to behave?
    • The attitude towards risk: Is the risk "normal" or have certain team members learned to do everything possible to control it?
    • The collective/individual or even collaborative/competitive dimension: Have I learned that my success is the team's success or is it the other way around?
    • Attitude to time: Is it important to be at the time when it is more important to have an enriching and productive meeting?

    We will also see examples of regional clusters with often similar cultural dimensions: Latin Europe, Anglo-Saxon countries, Nordic countries, Central Europe, Latin America, Confucian Asia, South-East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Arab countries,... Of course, these clusters are not entirely homogeneous and our discussion will only give some guidelines, avoiding any value judgement or stereotypes.

    On topic 2 of team decision making, we will see case studies of catastrophic decisions from researchers and practitioners such as M.Roberto, I.Janis,... We will organize them in three levels:

    • Errors influenced by cognitive/psychological biases, e.g. "sunk cost"
    • Errors influenced by group bias, such as "groupthink"
    • Errors due to an organization's culture/history, for example the "normalization of deviance"

    Finally, on topic 3 of project mode work, we will take up ideas from practitioners such as M.Reinertsen and C.Midler. We will simulate a project to better integrate some big mistakes to avoid like:

    • just listening to the client
    • misuse available resources
    • discovering constraints at the last moment
    • and many others We will take the opportunity to practice a number of classic project management tools and we will end with a discussion on the specificities of research projects.
  • Registration

    For registration please contact:

    Registration deadline: 23rd of June 2020