Working with a cross-cultural team has already proven to be an interesting, rewarding, and extremely refreshing experience. It is so exciting to collaborate with others from around the globe, with different skillsets and ideas. Everyone has had something worthwhile to bring to the table in my group, aMeri Solutions. However, Like anything worth doing doing, working with a cross-cultural team has come with its own set of challenges in maintaining effective communication.
The first challenge faced by my group was finding a primary source of communication. Throughout all my classes my freshman year at Pitt my classmates have used an app called GroupMe. However the students in my group from outside of the USA were not at all familiar with this app and it might not have even been available in their region. This problem was easily fixed when it was suggested that we use WhatsApp, which we all downloaded and picked up on very quickly. Although it was a little confusing at first, it did not take long until I fully understood how to use the app and I was up and running. WhatsApp has worked like an absolute charm and my group has had no trouble at all getting in contact with each other, even in time sensitive situations. Another hurdle we have had is getting used to the differences in time zones while working together. I can particularly remember a quite humorous debate as to rather our office hours meeting with Professor Skip was at 11:30 or 12:30, only to quickly realize we are talking about the same exact time slot. It can sometimes be easy to forget that my 1:00 pm is different from some of my other group members but we have found a way to alleviate this problem entirely. We plan on using an app to schedule the times that we are available to meet outside of class, so it is clear to see exactly when everyone can meet up to work on our presentation.
Over the course of my first week, I have gained new insight on global business. I found the lecture that discussed the differences between high and low context communication to be particularly eye-opening. I had never really noticed or thought about our way of communicating in the US like that before. I do have to say though, that I really think my team has done a great job of overcoming these challenges that pop up from time to time. I had a great first week and I am excited to keep working on our project and learning even more about global business.