“Accountability” in Cross Cultural Teams
Recently, in my global consulting practice, I’ve been asked about the communication concept of “accountability” in cross cultural teamwork and I’ve come to understand that the cultural difference is between those from Individual cultural backgrounds and those from Collective cultural backgrounds. There isn’t the same intercultural concept as what we mean by it here in the United States. The U.S. business person would say accountability is about taking individual initiative, being responsible for something – good or bad – and taking ownership for it. Cultural diversity dictates that in most Collective cultures, accountability lies with the perceived hierarchy and the team as a whole and not with the individual. Especially if that individual isn’t seen as the leader or manager. In order to guarantee world class results and successful global expansion, one needs to stop being frustrated by a lack of cultural understanding in the term “accountability” and apply a strategy which embodies cultural diversity.