Crisis Management in cross-cultural teams: A qualitative study of leaders in Norwegian shipping
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- Master of Science 
Globalization in the business world has increased the need to understand how cultural differences affect leadership performance. An individual’s cultural frame affects how they perceive the world around them, influencing their interactions with other people, reactions to events, and attitudes toward leaders. The foundations of structure and communication in multicultural teams can further be distorted by crises, throwing a wrench in organizational routines. Since a growing number of maritime accidents are attributed to ineffective communication and misinterpretation of different behaviors on multilingual and multicultural vessels, cultural complexity in the shipping industry has gained intensive attention. Although research literature in cross-cultural management has increased substantially in the past years, there remains a gap in research on crisis management in cross-cultural teams. Hence, the aim of this study was to contribute to an enhanced understanding of cultural differences in the context of crisis management. An exploratory, qualitative study was conducted to answer the research question. After reviewing the relevant literature, the authors conducted semi-structured in-depth interviews with six male leaders from the shipping industry to address their experiences with crisis management in a multicultural workplace. The results reveal that culture affects various aspects of crisis management. Language misunderstandings, insufficient cooperation, or conflicting expectations can all influence how a crisis is handled. In order to benefit from cultural diversity in a crisis, the leader’s ability to include team members seems to be crucial. The findings emphasize the importance of cultural competency and that a cultural approach should be incorporated in all phases of crisis management.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Business, Leadership and Change - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2022