Skip main navigation

What’s a multicultural and diverse team?

Read this article to find out what a multicultural team is, and what should you consider when managing one.
holding hands

According to Hofstede et al. (1997), a multicultural team is a team whose members have different cultural backgrounds.

Most evident in that they have spent their formative years in different countries and thus have learned different values, demeanors, and languages (Humbrick et al., 1998).

Another definition of a multicultural workplace is where employees have a variety of backgrounds. This includes not only race, gender, ethnicity, and religion but also attributes such as disability, age, and education.

When thinking about multicultural teams, we are considering everyone in the team and take into account heritage, background, culture, and different languages spoken. As a manager, this includes you as well.

You may find there are other words that are also used to describe multicultural teams, such as:

  • Multiethnic
  • Multinational
  • All-inclusive
  • Culturally diverse

Being an inclusive leader requires you to lead from the front; discussing your experiences with your team can help with understanding and bonding. Discuss your good experiences and challenges too.

Hearing all the voices in your teams about their multicultural experiences brings about understanding and allows people to adapt to a new way of working; it also brings your team closer together which, in turn, will help with any potential conflict and bring you closer to achieving your targets.

When managing a multicultural team, consider the following:

  • Address conflict as soon as it arises
  • Get to know the members of your team
  • Consider creating a Cross-Cultural Awareness Program
  • Think about adopting flexibility within your team, by asking what their needs are
  • Create spaces for open and honest communication
  • Encourage team building activities
  • Listen to your team.
This article is from the free online

Inclusive Management and Leadership Skills

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education