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August 30, 2010 / Astor ICS

Virtual Jobs in a Multicultural Setting

Some of the most advanced multinationals are now using Virtual Positions in their management structure to regionalize many countries in groups with satellite teams. Here’s how it works. Let’s imagine that last year Spain, France, Italy and Germany all had self contained departments that did everything. Each country’s office was self contained. Then, this year, things changed. Spain would specialize in shoes, France; in socks, Germany; pants and Italy; shirts. Each country would have a small amount of people who would work away from their country’s specialty; e.g. France; a few people specializing in shoes, pants and shirts. Those jobs would be virtual jobs, hosted in their country but reporting to the country that focuses on that particular process.

The virtual job concept has been gaining ground fast, and rightfully so. It saves money and needs less people to function.

The only problem is hat the host country always has a set of cultural norms that must be adopted by the  virtual team. What seems to be happening is the virtual team feels cornered and has a difficult time adapting to the cultural style. They become a bit introverted and resign themselves to surviving.

This is a great challenge; to find a way in to the decision making process and not be discounted because their mere structuring is different. when faced with a large number of colleagues who share a culture and the home base, use these few pieces of advice to pull them towards your way of thinking

  • Ask questions – Get their opinions, reasons, thinking styles out in the open. Engage them in your processing style. People need to know you and they need to hear from you regularly. Jump into the pool.
  • Give advice and feedback – Go the extra kilometer (mile) to let others know that you are part of the process and are always ready to share your ideas.
  • Search for the unique communication – How do your colleagues like to connect? Telephone, email, chat? Whatever it is, find it and use it. that is a fast way in to the sympathetic relationship you need to have.
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