The Challenge of Managing Diverse Teams


Diversity is when people come together from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds, including different genders and sexual orientations. Companies across industries are adopting diversity in their workforce as they see great opportunities with financial gains in their organisational operations. The benefits could out-weight the challenges which companies endeavour to achieve. Figure 1. Illustrates the benefits that these companies with workplace diversity attains (Alexis 2020).

Psychologist Dr Geert Hofstede identified 6 cultural dimensions to the cultural tendencies in various societies. Figure 2 illustrates a comparison between 4 countries namely Singapore, Germany, China, and Japan (Hofstede-Insight 2021).

The power distance in China is very high which is reflective of their culture being more susceptive to power.  This inherent in their culture where ‘the boss is always right’. Contrarily, German society have a low power distancing and will challenge the status quo. As Singapore is a very communal and sharing society it is lower than as of Germany where it is high on its individualism. In Japan, the male dominant roles are reflective of the Masculinity index to be high as compared to Singapore, where gender equality is emphasized culturally.

Singapore society are risk takers thus the uncertainty avoidance is lowest as compared to the others. Almost all the countries compared have long term plans and orientation such as savings for a ‘rainy day’. Not surprisingly, Singaporeans will tend to indulge in the pleasures of life such as travels, fine dining, and recreations.

Cultural Iceberg Model

In 1976, Edward Hall, a cross-cultural researcher developed the concept of cultural and social cohesion (Edward 1989). Companies operating in the countries that they operate in attempts to understands the society. Leaders are compelled to understand that there is a larger understanding of the society that is hidden beneath the surface as illustrated in figure 3.

Business Strategy

The McKinsey 7S model as illustrated in figure 3, examines the results of future transformations within organisations. For instance, THX Ltd expanding and opening a new office in Beijing in 2014 (Associated Press 2014).

 The strategy, systems, skills, and style are aligned with the headquarters which is in San Francisco. Shared values, staff and organizational structure may misalign, but this is where the leadership facilitates the transition in new geographic regions. Motivation and reward systems also must be adapted to cultural differences (Ovidijus 2013).

Leading Diverse Workforce

Reed Hastings of Netflix accredited its success to the diverse and inclusive organisational culture.  The organisational culture embraces varying communication style to fit different societies, employees are fairly treated irrespective of gender, ethnicities, or language. Teamwork and cooperation are upheld with honesty at the highest level of the organisation. Netflix’s inclusive strategy catalyses innovation whilst driving accountability and reassures employees to express prejudices. Feedback and opinions are championed, criticism and alternative solutions to be given anytime and anywhere. Effective communications are essential at the Netflix leadership team. Much consideration is given in mutual perceptions, diversity, and respect (CBS 2020).

At Apple, diversity takes centre stage as the leadership campaigns it.  Tim Cook strongly believes that diversity can lead to the production of best outcomes. A scarcity of gender diversity in the industry is because women aren’t given enough opportunity in the sector, but leaders have not done enough to motivate them (John 2015).


In the Audio encoding/compression and noise reduction Industry, the main players such as Dolby, THX, DTS, Apple and Barco have global presence. Although the major players are limited. Its outreach is vast, instilling diversity and inclusiveness into its corporate culture giving a competitive advantage.  People with diverse backgrounds and cultures provides a balance of voices and minds to the business whilst increasing in innovative and creative ideas.

In an inclusive environment and without restrains employees share their ideas with others freely. Thus, creating a singular ‘voice’ for the company.  This also opens to a whole range of skills available to the company. Thus, enhancing the company’s capabilities, capacity and problem-solving. A happy employee will induce a healthy working environment thus they will want to excel in their jobs whilst thriving the business. With the positive work environment and motivation from the leadership, the employees will achieve increased productivity.


Alexis, R. (2020) How to Manage Diversity in the Workplace. [Online]
Available at: <–cms-34496 > [Accessed 15 April 2021].

CBS (2020)  Netflix and the management style behind its success. [Online]
Available at: < > [Accessed 13 April 2021].

Edward , H. (1989) Beyond Culture. New York: Anchor Books.

Hofstede-Insight (2021) Compare Countries. [Online]
Available at: < >
[Accessed 15 April 2021].

John, K. (2015) Apple’s CEO Tim Cook: Diversity is ‘the future of our company’. [Online]
Available at: < >
[Accessed 13 April 2021]. Ovidijus , J. (2013) McKinsey 7s Model. [Online]
Available at: < > [Accessed 13 April 2021].

Published by EdwinR

I am presently championing as Head of cinema sales (SEA & ANZ) with Dolby Singapore Pte Ltd. Dolby is not just about going to the Movies. Look in your phones, tablets, netflix or apple TV. we are all around you. Having been exposed to the Media, Audio- Visual and events related industry for more than 2 decades i just have that synergy to just bring out the best in people and motivate them to get across as a team. In Dolby its just difficult to be an I but way better to be a WE and that's why Dolby is a world leader in the cinema & audio business. I excel in the business fields where closing sales is my forte. My expertise is always to lead a lean team. To bring out the best with team members. Motivate, learn and encourage is key to leading a team. Thou simple as it sounds you need a dedicated person who can nurture the best out of individuals. This is evident in the achievements from my various companies that I have been employed. In Dolby, I am responsible for the overall sales and marketing of my business unit, I deal with both system integrators and direct users of my product. I am agile and versatile. Coming down to the trenches to lead the pack when needed and let them learn along the way as well to help me achieve the overall goal in line with current company initiatives.

11 thoughts on “The Challenge of Managing Diverse Teams

  1. Great read! I am impressed by the amount of research done and the theories graphically explained. Diversity is clearly not enough to achieve the goals but to be inclusive annd communicate effectively as leaders- definitely a key take away for me from your article

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Agreed totally, shaping a positive cross culture working environment, with diversity & inclusion in mind, is the key to lead the global business expansion/market access, which can fits well into local culture/market.

    Liked by 1 person

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