Global Collaboration Simulation

Tip of the Iceberg

$150 / seat

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Simulation Overview

Many global businesses use a common language, often English, to facilitate business across multiple countries — even as many in their workforce are not native speakers. This simulation allows students to step into the role of multinational business executives who deal with language barriers daily, and forces students to collaborate under time pressure.

The Story

In this multiplayer simulation, students communicate via online chat in teams of 4 or 5, racing against the clock to prepare a crucial presentation. Students are randomly assigned the role of a native English speaker or a nonnative English speaker at their organization, and each student has unique and essential information to contribute. The simulation includes two different backstories — one for a start-up company marketing solar-powered outdoor speakers, and one for a non-profit organization focused on decreasing waterborne illnesses in the developing world. Instructors can choose either scenario, or run both in succession to engage students in deliberate practice of cross-cultural communication skills.

The simulation constrains the ways in which the native and nonnative speakers can interact. As students struggle to collaborate, their resulting experience replicates communication patterns in real globally diverse and distributed teams. The simulation illustrates how much can be lost in translation between people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds, and provides an opportunity for students to practice skills for better communication in cross-cultural interactions.

Learning Focus

  • Examine assumptions when communicating with global colleagues
  • Experience communication challenges for both native and nonnative English speakers
  • Experience cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses to cultural differences
  • Introduce the concepts of reflected knowledge and mutual adaptation to promote understanding and manage difference
  • Learn practical skills on how to better communicate with colleagues from different backgrounds
  • Learn leadership skills on how to better manage the flow of cross-cultural interactions

Topics Covered

  • Communication
  • Cross-cultural relations
  • Global collaboration
  • International business & management

Additional Information

Duration

1 to 3 hours including introduction and debrief


This simulation is by Tsedal Neeley, Harvard Business School Publishing, and Forio

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