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Cross-cultural team work for innovation

Re-designing a culturally diverse simulation game, using insights from self-designed  experiments

Admission:  BA3 and (Pre-)Master’s students
Number of students: 10-15 students from all faculties
Time frame: 
March 5 - April 23
 6 meetings (2 full days, 2 meetings in the evening, 1 company visit to ASML in Veldhoven, 1 self-organized meeting to implement experimental design)
Study load: The study load is approximately 3-4 hours per week, with a peak in April when you create your experimental design.
Course coordinator: Dr. Joost Bücker, senior lecturer International HRM and Cross-Cultural Management
Study costs: None
Application deadline: February 13

Today’s world is making increasingly use of innovative solutions in different areas such as energy transition, sustainable transport, healthier food production and supply, fight against diseases such as Malaria, developing new vaccines today for COVID-19 and its mutations. Work for these innovative solutions often happens within teams, preferably culturally diverse teams that seem to be more productive in developing innovative solutions than culturally homogeneous teams.

There are various forms of team cooperation, with different underlying mechanisms:

  • In the dominant coalition model, a coalition of members directs the process of information extraction and decision making.
  • In the integration team model, team members seek consensus about a common way of communicating within the team.
  • In the fusion team model, dialogue happens via meaningful participation to seek compatibility of cultural precepts.

Researchers have indicated that fusion teams are more innovative than the dominant coalition team model or the integration team model, as fusion teams are more ‘cultural intelligent’ than the others.

Cultural Intelligence (CQ) of a team refers to the skill to relate and work effectively in culturally diverse situations. It’s the capability to cross boundaries and thrive in multiple cultures. Various studies indicated that team cultural intelligence (team CQ) has a positive impact on team innovative work behaviour. On the other hand, studies have also showed that team members in cross-cultural teams feel stress and anxiety and are uncertain about their proficiency in English.

Therefore, Bücker and Korzilius recently developed a ‘team cultural intelligence construct’ which can be used to measure team CQ. With this instrument, they already measured that team CQ indeed can have a positive impact on team learning and team innovation.

Aims of this honours lab

In this honours lab, you are going to explore the value of this ‘team cultural intelligence construct’ in practice. You first delve into the theory of various team work models, and you observe team work in R&D teams in real business, by visiting ASML in Veldhoven.

After that, you will develop an experimental design, with three different team models. You will invite students from your own study programmes at the Radboud University to participate in your experiment. By simulating these different team formats in a small experimental set-up, the hypothesis that fusion teams show more creative output can be accepted or rejected.

In the final step, you are going to re-design an existing culturally diverse simulation game (Ecotonos), based on your own findings.

Preliminary pogramme:

Meeting 1 - Saturday, March 5 | 12.30-17.00 hours | Location: off-campus

Whole Brain Thinking workshop, including a diversity game to get to know each other and develop insights into team members’ personal contributions

Meeting 2 - Thursday, March 10 | 18.30-21.00 hours | Location: on campus

Discussing the fusion team concept in comparison to the dominant coalition team model and the integrated team perspective based on literature.

Meeting 3 - Thursday, March 17 | 13.00-17.00 hours | Location: ASML in Veldhoven

Company visit to ASML, including a guest lecture and making a start with developing an experimental design for testing the best innovative team structure.

Meeting 4 - Thursday, April 7 | 18.30-21.00 hours | Location: on campus

Refining and preparing an experimental design for testing the best innovative team structure

Meeting 5 -Thursday, April 14| 13.30-17.30 hours | Location: on campus

Self-organised session: implementing experimental research design comparing teams of culturally diverse students working in different team formats.

Meeting 6 - Saturday, April 23| 9.30-18.00 hours | Location: off-campus

Playing the existing culturally diverse simulation role game (Ecotonos) with three different team formats to experience team fusion in a culturally diverse practice; followed by a work session to re-design Ecotonos based on the outcomes of the experiments.


You can apply for this honours lab via this form. The application deadline is February 13, 2022. Please include your CV and a motivation letter (of maximum 1 page) for the honours lab in your application.

If you have any questions, you can contact Floor Binkhorst (floor.binkhorst@ru.nl) or visit the information session in the beginning of February (date will be announced).