Pick your country, and pick your organizational context and you will find groups of people who are being asked to work side by side with other groups with whom they lack shared understanding and common ground. For example, Protestants and Catholics are recruited to work for high-tech computer companies in Norther Ireland. Devout Jewish nurses must care for expectant Palestinian mothers in a hospital in Jerusalem. A U.S. food processing plant suffers from poor morale and repeated work stoppages due to the inability of line managers to create an environment in which Native Americans, African-Americans, European Americans, and Hispanics can work together. An international, non-profit relief agency is incapable of delivering food to the hungry because of power struggles between top officials who represent different national backgrounds.
As these examples illustrate, dynamics in our global society are increasingly spilling over into the workplace. The need for practical, relevant, and usable information about how to lead in our increasing flat world is in high demand. This training tool provides examples of and perspectives on concepts and situations important to leading across differences. With 14 rich cases gleaned from interviews of over a hundred people in over twenty organizations on five continents, the authors offer new ways of thinking about leadership challenges. Each case includes a case summary, case text, facilitation questions, expert perspectives on the case, and suggestions for further action, participants will experience a variety of situations and will be exposed to multiple sets of commentaries to help them make sense of the issues and possibilities associated with leading across differences. The authors guide facilitators through a process of not providing participants with the right answer for all possible situations, but rather a framework and process for better understanding their context and taking appropriate action.
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