Virtual collaboration across cultures

EEU412 Virtual collaboration across cultures

Spring 2024

Autumn 2024
  • Topics

    In a world that has become more globalised than ever, future leaders need to work and collaborate effectively in virtual teams, with colleagues from different countries and cultural backgrounds. Research shows that multicultural teams are more productive, profitable, and creative. Yet, this positive outcome depends on whether leaders and their team members can bridge diversity effectively. In this course, students will learn about and experience first-hand the challenges and opportunities of working across cultures and reflect on the process. The course involves a team project in which students apply design thinking processes and collaborate virtually with students from other ENGAGE.EU universities. This part allows students to apply and deepen their learnings in a project that simulates real-business-world global virtual teamwork.

    Topics will include diversity and inclusion, leading globally distributed teams, design thinking, teamwork across cultures, remote work, cross-cultural management and communication.

    The course is based on recent research and insights from several disciplines such as global leadership, intercultural management, organizational behavior, information systems and human resource management. It has an international dimension and is business focused.

    The course will draw on the diversity that the ENGAGE.EU alliance offers to develop collaborative and cross-cultural competencies that are necessary when working in global virtual teams across cultures.

  • Learning outcome

    Upon successful completion of the course, the students will have attained the following:

    • Knowledge

      • Knowledge of core concepts and theories in relation to:
        • cross-cultural teamwork
        • communication across cultures, languages, distance and over technology
        • leadership and collaboration in global virtual teams
        • management of diversity and inclusion
        • management of individual and team well-being and performance
    • Skills
      • Ability to work and communicate effectively with people from different cultural/language backgrounds
      • Ability to collaborate in global virtual teams
      • Ability to include diversity to enrich teamwork and integrate resources into the team
      • Ability to apply the design thinking process to tackle international business challenges and to produce a solution.
      • Ability to evaluate team members’ contributions and give constructive feedback
      • Ability to reflect upon and develop a meta-perspective on one's culture and behavior
      • Ability to reflect on the feedback received and identify an action plan to improve one’s behavior
      • Ability to present ideas and concepts both verbally and visually to different audiences
    • General competence

      • Improved interpersonal skills to collaborate and lead in intercultural and virtual settings
      • Global mindset and tolerance
      • Toolbox to face complex intercultural situations
      • Analytical and problem-solving skills

  • Teaching

    The teaching will take place digitally. The teaching method, inspired by Team-based learning, offers a set-up that allows for competencies development:

    1) students from different partner institutions are set in multicultural and multilingual teams. The teams remain permanent throughout the whole course. The permanence of the teams allows relationships to form, but it also implies that students must manage relationships throughout the course with people different from themselves and work on their collaboration skills. In their teams, students will work on an international business project.

    2) each session focuses on a specific topic. Before class, students learn the basic knowledge/concepts at home, e.g., by reading assigned texts or watching a video lecture.

    3) class activities include group tests (multiple-choice questions) that check that the basic knowledge is understood and application activities, such as case studies and group discussions.

    4) at the end of each class, students engage in a student-to-student peer feedback exercise and write personal reflection notes. These activities allow students to reflect on the process of working in a global team and see how their behaviors are perceived by team members who have another cultural backgrounds than theirs.

    Thus, in addition to knowledge about collaborating in virtual teams across cultures (through theories and case studies), the course, as a whole, works as a semester-long experiential activity where students practice and develop their communication and collaboration skills

    The teaching is once a week (4-hour class).

  • Restricted access

    This course has restricted access (60 students).

    You sign up for the course at Studentweb by 1 September on a first come, first serve basis.

  • Compulsory Activity

    Participation in the group project

    Course approval is only valid in the semester it has been obtained.

  • Assessment

    Portfolio assessment. A final grade will be given after the evaluation of the following elements:

    Individual reflection paper (20 % )

    Group project: oral presentation ( 25%) and written report (25%)

    Peer evaluation (10% )

    Multiples choice question tests (group score) (20 %)

    All parts have to be taken in the same semester and it is not possible to retake the elements separately. In order to retake the course, students must retake compulsory activities (work requirements)

  • Grading Scale

    A-F (fail)

  • Literature

    A selection of book chapters and articles will be made available on the learning platform


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Offered autumn 2023.

Course responsible

Annelise Ly (NHH), Marie-Thérèse Claes (WU) and Emma Nordbäck (Hanken)