Valerie Berset-Price, Professional Passport
In the software engineering field, building teams across geographical regions is old news. Indeed, most software engineers are used to having counterparts located in different hemispheres. What engineers the world over are still struggling with, however, are the cultural differences that constantly interfere with the deliverables.
The truth of the matter is that few engineering schools spend enough time training students in the cross-cultural challenges and skills expected of them on the job once they become part of an international team. Universities, as corporations, underplay the power of cultural differences, not realizing that most problems encountered by international teams while working on a project often lie in the lack of cultural intelligence that professionals display.
As such, this paper explains the seven cultural differences humans experience when engaged in cross-cultural endeavors, as well as other variables professionals will encounter in their quest of the global mindset. Having a solid grasp of those differences will allow the technical expert to detach himself from the problem and look at it with a newly acquired set of eyes. Armed with new tools, the professional will now be able to dissect the problem and examine exactly how much of the dissonance is due to inattentive cross-cultural communication and unexamined cultural assumptions that are seldom universal.