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F Team - Managing Multicultural Teams

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        As the most experienced and successful racing team in the most advanced auto racing event, the F team seems to struggle a lot when regulations of the racing event have been revolutionized since 2008. In the old era when all racing cars were powered by pure petrol engine, F team was insurmountable and constantly take first place of the podium; however, after the league enforced the hybrid power units regulations- which required all racing cars in this league have to be powered by not only the petrol engine but also two different hybrid systems, F team has never won the championship for 10 years.         

        This year F team seems to be coming back because, though it is still at the second place in the middle of the season, the credits earned by F team and M team, another competitive team which won the last 4 seasons, are strikingly close which the differences can be eliminated in just one racing event.  Now all teams and their team members is enjoying an exactly one month break from the amazing racing events except for those team engineers. The break not only assures a good rest for the team members but also allows team engineers to research and squeeze all the potentials from the vehicle. The Mangers of the F team recruit us and several other engineering teams to further extract more power from two of the hybrid systems. Considering millions of dollars invested by stockholders, the managers and board of directors cannot risk waiting another season to get the championship.

        This team consists 3 people of different nationality. Doctor G from Germany, senior engineer Y from Italy, and me from China. Though we have never met each other before and are randomly selected by the manager of F team, we all know how the two hybrid systems work. the two hybrid systems are named MG-H and MG-K, respectively. MG-H systems absorbs the extra heat wave directly from the exhaust, transferring the heat energy to kinetic energy through turbine. The kinetic energy will then be transfer into electric energy and store in the battery units of the car by MG-H, which allows more juice to be taken by the electric motor equipped in the vehicle. MG-K, on the other hand, stores the kinetic energy from the wheel. The rotation of the wheel would cause the wire inserted continually cutting through magnetic field; According to Faradays’ law, cutting through the magnetic field would induce current, vice versa; therefore, the MG-K can either transfer the kinetic energy into electric energy then store it, or transfer electric energy back to kinetic energy and directly boost the vehicle. To put it simple, MG-H allows driver to boost the car for longer time, whereas the MG-K directly gives the car for more power.

        The first scale involved in building the team dynamics is the communicating. According to culture mapping tools (Meyer 206), G prefers low-text communicating whereas Y and I shared the similar preference that exist at the middle zone. The potential conflict is that we may convey some ideas that look vain to G, but we thought to be good enough. For example, I may say that “the idea that adding the rotors in MG-K may not benefit the lap time for the rest of races.” But in fact, what I actually convey to the team is that adding more rotors would increase the power delivered by MG-K but it will dramatically extract more energy from battery, lessening the time for drive to continually boost the car, this will be beneficial in overtaking but eventually detrimental to the lap time, because the track lengths of the second half seasons are much longer than those of first half season on average, which driver need more time to boost.

        one possible solution is that Y and I need to be self-adapted and try to say things in full thoughts and detail, because less sophisticated and implicated message are paramount in engineering teams; nonetheless, this solution might further create another problem. According to the author Brett, adaption might take some time (Brett, 199). Given that we only have a month to come up with a plan and have the factory build for it, any unclear and indirect communication is not tolerable if we consider the enormous concepts and ideas we are going to share with each other in such an intense time. So, under some circumstances, it would be expedient to apply managerial invention to boost the team efficacy (Brett, 199).

        The second scale is evaluating. The result of the test indicates that I prefer to give indirect negative feedback while G and Y are more likely to simply repudiate ideas. In the previous example, I would not even start with the negation if I were to find that I disagree with one of my teammates. If one of them come up with the adding rotor ideas during the discussion, I would probably first agree with them with an uncategorical voice such as “O…K”; that “uncategorical voice” will be the only negative thing that I would provide, and it would be hard to imagine those preferring direct negative feedback would take this as a negative sign at the beginning of our cooperation.

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