Assignment Literature Review



Project Title: To identify the challenges in managing global teams in McDonalds.


One of the success factors for any multinational organisation is its capability to manage its resources in its business operations across different locations. The organisation to take leverage of open markets is focusing on building cross functional teams to improve operational efficiency in global business environment (Mathieu et al., 2014).  The managers have realised the importance of managing diverse teams with ethnic background to work as a team to achieve competitive advantage in an international organisation. However, managers of global operations are faced with difficulties in managing culturally diverse team or multiple teams in global environment.

Project Aim & Objectives

The main aim of this project is to critically analyse the challenges in managing the global teams in a multi-national organisation, McDonalds. The objectives of this project study are:

  • To determine the various challenges affecting the management of global teams in McDonalds.
  • To identify which are the main challenges for managers of global teams in MNCs.
  • To find out the factors to enhance the effectiveness of global teams.

Project Scope

The internationalisation of business operations has drawn the mangers attention to complexity in managing global diverse teams in an efficient way to enhance team outcomes for business success in global environment. Thus, multinational are facing challenge in managing culturally different global teams. This area has moderate theoretical development which increases the need to understand management of global teams operating in different geographical regions.  For the purpose of this project, the challenges in managing global teams faced by managers for global operations are explored in a multinational organisation.

Review of literature

In the literature of global human resource management describes that managers in multi-nationals are faced with several challenges in the management of global teams. The managers are putting focused efforts on global teams to exploit the strengths of each team member and maintain accessibility with each member of global teams. According to Zander et al., (2012), the managers of global team are majorly faced with four common problems such as problems of communication, cultural and language diversity, team conflicts and different style of working. Stahl et al. (2010) argues that the primary objective of creation of global team is to enhance operational efficiency by utilising the cultural diversity factor. The author view that the team members with cultural diversity  can  develop innovative ideas working together as a team and manage business operations/projects in a inventive way to develop competitive edge in global operations. In support of this, in the study of diverse cultures Yilmaz and Pena, (2014) found that the team members from different cultural backgrounds respond differently in same situations and are likely to adopt different managerial outlook. This can lead to creation of new ideas that can contribute to team creativity. The role of heterogeneous teams in global business operation is seen to a contributing factor for bringing improvements in team creativity and providing broad range of solution being sourced from different team member experience and outlook for global problems.  It can be said that the multi-cultural factor of team is incorporating different business viewpoints into management decision to enhance the effectiveness of these decisions in global operations. In contrast, the study of team composition by Mathieu  et al. (2014) found that team members belonging to similar cultural background show positive commitment towards the team and members depict high satisfaction in team work than the teams having members for diverse culture background that affects the individual member contribution in team.

Cultural differences

Studies on cultural differences point out that these differences create conflicts within global teams (Deresky, 2017).   O’Leary & Mortensen (2010) found out the presence of sub-cultural groups impacts the team dynamics as a result of social grouping or differentiation with other groups. Such social categorisations are accountable for team conflicts and trigger negative emotion or action such as biased information sharing (Yilmaz and Pena, 2014). According to Ferraro and Briody (2017), there is a greater complexity in managing global teams in comparison to traditional teams due to cultural diversity.  Nurmi (2011) elaborates that the complexity in the management of global teams arises due to culturally diverse background of the employees, extended business operations in different time zones of geographical locations and use of technologies platform in communication. It can be said that theses complexities in terms of projects and tasks bring in certain implications for the team management and development that can affect the final outcomes for the teams. In the views of Ferraro and Briody (2017) cultural diversity is a major challenge for global teams. The cultural differences among teams or members of team are likely to bring in misunderstanding leading to workplace conflicts. The individual set of values differs in different countries due to diverse cultural backgrounds which affect individual behaviour, attitude towards other employees or team members. The author suggests identifying the cultural cause that leads to conflicting situation among team members in global work environment. This will help the managers to better management of global team and to avoid future conflicts in global teams. The authors have recognised the effect of demographic characteristics like age, gender, nationality and ethnicity that is holding the efficiency of communication in global teams. In addition to this, Muethel et al. (2012) states that communication effectiveness is largely impacted by individual personality, attitude towards team members and cultural values in global teams. Hence, these demographic differenced with personal factors and cultural parameters are resulting in threats of team conflicts and team performance as well as opportunity in sharing knowledge, innovative ideas, effective problem solving and decision making approaches to enhance team capabilities in global competitive landscape.

Communication, Time and Distance factor

The studies of literature in global business management have identified different challenges faced by organisation in management of teams in overseas projects. Yilmaz and Peña (2014) in the study of virtual team management it has been identified that the challenge of communication linked to the team management. The study reflects that the problem of communication is a challenge to share important information and make knowledge sharing a difficult process that affects the efficiency of teamwork. Another challenge in management of global team is identified in the work of Nurmi (2011). The author found that managing time factor in different time zones is a challenge for distributed global teams. It can be said that the allocation of team in different geographical locations across different time creates difficulty for organisation in controlling multiple teams. In addition, Nurmi (2011) also states that time management factor in teams is responsible to create stressful situation leading to inefficiency in teamwork. Cummings and Haas (2012) studied the consequences of time factor through survey of different teams in a multinational firm. The author found that allocation of time for global projects pose challenge in global team management affecting the focus on tasks and overall team performances. The study also concluded that cultural differences among team members were the cause of dispute in global teams in a multinational firm.

Distance factor

Likewise, Nurmi (2011) emphasise on the distance factor as a challenge for distributed global teams. It can be noted that the distance factor in geographical diverse business operation was a responsible factor for lack of information sharing and transfer that lead to insufficient  situational know how among multiple teams. On the other hand, Treem and Leonardi (2013) states that with the advent of internet age, the challenge of distance no longer hold relevance as major challenge in managing global teams.  The use of internet by multinational to connect teams in global operations has reduced its dependence of physical reminders and work constraints with the use of technologies like social networking and social enterprise networks to reach geographical diverse teams. O’Leary and Mortensen (2010) argue that physical encounters are necessary in sharing knowledge and for team commitments. The author argues that members working in global teams or multiple teams are more likely to show varying level of commitment in its knowledge or experience in making contributions towards team tasks or projects.

Performance evaluation

In the words of Savery (2015), Performance evaluation refers to a process of acknowledging the performance off the employees. Performance evaluation is important as it helps to guide the employee in the performance of his/her duties ion the service firm. It is important to evaluate the performance of the employees at least thrice a year. Every organization adopts different ways to evaluate the performance of its employees. At the same time, in the research of Smallbone et al., (2010), it is defined that every employee is also not same as per their culture, behavioral, etc. So, the performance of the employees is evaluated in different ways. As the technology has changed, the need and the requirements of the people have also been changed.

Language differences

From the research of Delhey et al., (2011), it is illustrated that language becomes a barrier when people shift from one place to another. It is not possible that wherever people go they will find people speaking a single language. There are many different languages spoken in different places. There is no universal language. But, English is one language that is considered to be the business language all over the world. According to, Smallbone et al., (2010), language becomes a barrier for the all people at the time of shifting their course of work from one country to another country. The reason in this is that in order to successful manage itself in the new country them people has to be familiar with their local language. It creates the issue for the people to successful manage their work and other purposes. So, it can be interpreted that language is one of the major factor in managing the global team. In the same concern of this, in the research of Smallbone et al., (2010), it is illustrated that due to the language barriers, people face the issues in the communication and the negotiation that also make the cause of proper management of the team and to effective handle the operation at global level.

But at the same time in the findings of Savery (2015), it is illustrated that although the language is a challenge for the people at international level to managing the global team but there are also different equipments that are available to convert the foreign language in to the local language and make easy the people and the service firm to have effective communication and manage the issues related to the language. In support of this, in the research of Delhey et al., (2011), it is stated that it will become a major problem for people to carry their business transactions, and to deal with other people if they are not familiar with the other language. There will exit a state of misunderstanding and confusion among the employees if they are not able to understand each other’s language. It becomes difficult for people to express their views and ideas if they are not familiar with the language of the other country. The openness and clarity of thought has been lost somewhere.


In the research of Smallbone et al., (2010), it is determined that Trust is a major element which is vital for any organization to be successful. Trust is the primary thing on which the actions, work, plans depends. If there is no trust among the members of the organization then the members will start to follow the unethical ways and will not be able to justify that what is correct & appropriate for the business. There is always an existing need to cultivate trust between the team members to make foster the relationships and to enhance the productivity in the organization. When, people go to at international level then it is difficult for people to adjust in the new working climate. According to Delhey et al., (2011), people do not easily trust on other people because of having so much difference in the culture, language, etc. Trust cannot be developed easily among the new members. Without mutual trust on each other, people face a state of shy and they get away from the stage of revealing their true benefits. If people build trust on each other, it will help in building new synergies and will produce a collective wisdom. From the findings of Delhey et al., (2011), it is determined that if there is lack of trust among the team members of any organization then team will turn into a liability rather than a productive asset. Trust helps to develop cooperation and people work more efficiently in a service organization when they develop a feeling of trust on their team members. It is also stated that it helps to reduce unproductive conflict among team members in service firm. So, trust is an important factor to be developed among the team members when moving global.

The study by Treem and Leonardi (2013) suggests that organisations need to develop a model for global workforce that can be use to assess global teams and to develop effective communication medium through use of interactive technologies across different regions to manage employees and teams across different locations. Another study by Dragoni et al. (2014) suggest that cross-cultural training and communication technologies, workshop on developing inter-cultural competence is useful in team collaboration and to manage team across different cultures. This will be useful for managers of global teams in multinationals which are increasing creating cross cultural teams as a strategic solution to integrate efforts, knowledge and experience to build team capabilities, encourage innovation and achieve operational efficiency for global business solutions.


It can be summarised that managing communication for information exchange and knowledge sharing, language difference, cultural diversity are the common problems identified in the literature that has long been challenges in the management of teams management in work environment. However, the studies recognised that these problems have become elevated due to increased complexities of cultural differences, language barrier, and business operations in different time zones and distances in managing global management of teams effectively and efficiently.



Cummings, J. N. and Haas, M. R. (2012) So many teams, so little time: Time allocation matters in geographically dispersed teams. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 33(3), pp. 316-341.

Delhey, J., Newton, K. and Welzel, C. (2011) How general is trust in “most people”? Solving the radius of trust problem. American Sociological Review, 76(5), pp. 786-807.

Deresky, H. (2017) International management: Managing across borders and cultures. India: Pearson Education.

Dragoni, L., Oh, I. S., Tesluk, P. E., Moore, O. A., VanKatwyk, P. and Hazucha, J. (2014) Developing leaders’ strategic thinking through global work experience: The moderating role of cultural distance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99(5), pp. 867.

Ferraro, G. P. and Briody, E. K. (2017) The cultural dimension of global business. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Mathieu, J. E., Tannenbaum, S. I., Donsbach, J. S. and Alliger, G. M. (2014) A review and integration of team composition models: Moving toward a dynamic and temporal framework. Journal of Management, 40(1), pp. 130-160.

Muethel, M., Gehrlein, S. and Hoegl, M. (2012) Socio‐demographic factors and shared leadership behaviors in dispersed teams: Implications for human resource management. Human Resource Management, 51(4), pp. 525-548.

Nurmi, N. (2011) Coping with coping strategies: How distributed teams and their members deal with the stress of distance, time zones and culture. Stress and Health, 27(2), pp. 123-143.

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Savery, J. R. (2015) Overview of problem-based learning: Definitions and distinctions. Essential readings in problem-based learning: Exploring and extending the legacy of Howard S. Barrows, 9, pp. 5-15.

Smallbone, D., Kitching, J. and Athayde, R. (2010) Ethnic diversity, entrepreneurship and competitiveness in a global city. International Small Business Journal, 28(2), pp. 174-190.

Stahl, G. K., Mäkelä, K., Zander, L. and Maznevski, M. L. (2010) A look at the bright side of multicultural team diversity. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 26(4), pp. 439-447.

Treem, J. W. and Leonardi, P. M. (2013) Social media use in organizations: Exploring the affordances of visibility, editability, persistence, and association. Annals of the International Communication Association, 36(1), pp. 143-189.

Yilmaz, G. and Peña, J. (2014)The influence of social categories and interpersonal behaviors on future intentions and attitudes to form subgroups in virtual teams. Communication Research, 41(3), pp. 333-352.

Zander, L., Mockaitis, A. I. and Butler, C. L. (2012) Leading global teams. Journal of World Business, 47(4), pp. 592-603.

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