Empirical Study on Intercultural Collaboration in Project Teams: Preliminary Research Findings

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Abstract

The cross-cultural differences and the intercultural aspects of the collaboration have become increasingly prevalent over recent years. Undoubtedly, this diversity may generate different patterns of behavior in project teams. The research goal of the exploratory study is to identify advantages and obstacles to collaboration in multicultural teams at designing business solutions among Polish students – participants in intensive entrepreneurship programme (IP) within the framework of the international ECMT+ project1. In addition, the cognitive goal is to diagnose entrepreneurial attitudes and determinants of setting up one’s own company. During the two-week workshops in multicultural project teams in March 2017 at Karelia University in Finland, a participant observation method was applied. The main research method was, however, a semi-structured direct interview based on a questionnaire. Respondents were chosen purposeful and included six Polish students from Poznan University of Technology who carried out business projects in six multicultural teams – in total 48 participants were from 14 countries worldwide. The obtained results of the study point to measurable benefits of intercultural collaboration in project teams. Great commitment of the teams to achieve the goal and their healthy competition all remain noteworthy. Undoubtedly, however, a great diversity of attitudes and views in multicultural teams, national experiences and entrepreneurial knowledge make it necessary to overcome additional barriers, especially those with cultural backgrounds. The main limitation to the study is the non-representativeness of the sample and being limited to Polish participants. The findings presented in the article are very preliminary and further investigation in this field is necessary, i.e. comparative studies covering the remaining workshop participants.

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Journal of Intercultural Management

The Journal of Spoleczna Akademia Nauk

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