In a Financial Times article titled “How to bring cross-cultural teams together?”, Alicia Clegg highlighted that the primary challenge many companies face when merging with another company from a different culture centres on the integration of the two groups of employees.
This ECA places you in a scenario similar to that described in Clegg’s article. A Singapore company has recently acquired a company in Shanghai and your consultancy practice has been appointed to advise them on the integration of the two workforces from both companies. Your client has handpicked a Singapore management team, comprising both senior and midlevel executives, to be stationed in Shanghai to complete the merger between the two companies and manage the new entity. As the senior cross-cultural strategist at your practice, you have been tasked to work closely with the Singapore team on the integration of the employees. The marks allocated below are a general guide to the relative importance of each part in your submitted response.
- a) Identify and discuss the possible key intercultural communication challenges that the Singapore management team and the staff from Shanghai may face. Identify the potential misunderstandings and likely complaints between the Singapore team and the local staff. To adequately answer this question, you will need to understand the differences between the two cultures and how each culture communicates at the workplace. To gain further insights, you will need to conduct in-depth interviews with 2 persons. These interviewees must meet either one of the following two criteria:
- a Singaporean who has worked in China for at least 3 months, OR
- a Chinese expatriate who has worked in a Singaporean company for at least 3 months. (40 marks)
- b) How can a better understanding of cross-cultural communication help the Singapore management team to improve both engagement and communication with the local staff from Shanghai? Apply relevant concepts and theories from the course as well as the findings from the interviews you have conducted to present an evidence-based explanation to your client regarding the importance of preparing the Singapore team on cross-cultural communication. (30 marks)
- c) Develop an internal communication and engagement plan that will assist the Singapore management team to foster better communication and engagement with the Chinese staff in Shanghai. The proposed programme must utilise and address the key challenges and potential misunderstandings identified in part (a). (30 marks)