I am a junior manager at a European branch of a US-based firm.

Our US-based colleagues and superiors often come over for major projects but always seem to keep a greater professional distance from those who are not from the US - they only mingle with other US people who are seconded or who are expatriated in Europe.

I believe the cause for this might be some deficiency in intercultural communication, though many Europeans confide to me that they perceive a slight attitude of superiority from the Americans due to them being from the "owning" country - I am not sure about this.

Anyway, I feel that when people from one nationality are more informal/comfortable and friendly only amongst themselves but exclude the others, it is not very pleasant to work together.

I have a some influence on launching social events and initiatives - but even at social events, the Americans just seem to snub the rest.

What can we do to help improve bonding between different cultures at the same company where the offices are located in different countries?

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    Is this perceived aloofness affecting anyone's job performance i.e. it's harder to get things done because the US workers are insufficiently cooperative? Here is an idea nowfitnessstl.vpweb.com/Corporate-Bootcamp.html The idea behind the boot camps is that team members MUST work together to get something done, so they are compelled to socialize. The drawback with parties is that the socialization is optional. – Vietnhi Phuvan May 24 '14 at 16:14
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    Just because a question is difficult does not make it too broad... – IDrinkandIKnowThings May 27 '14 at 13:43

People gravitate towards people they have most knowledge about. When you are an American and you go to a social gathering with mostly Americans but the only person you know there is Ricardo, it does not matter that he is from Mexico. What matters is that you know him more than you know the other people.

If those US based employees work together in person in America on a regular basis, there is a really good chance they know each other more than they know the employees in your country.

Shuffle them up a bit. Do not provide the ability for the people who know each other to socialize. This applies to employees of your country as well. Also design some events that encourage getting to know each other. You will see that this problem might start disappearing after a while.


I can see the impact you want to create by this question:
Actually I come from India where in a single country we speak 18 languages and have some 100 religions.

Some things that help us to work as a team:

  • Americans know Americans, Europeans know Europeans - but both of them don't know India or Indians. Get both groups together in that unknown 'area', like visiting an Indian event. As it is unknown to all, everyone is equal.

  • Imagine you have team of 60; 30 people speak French and 30 Hindi.
    Take these two groups to German language class. All are now at the same level: no one knows German.

Encourage events among the team where the whole team is on the same page.

For example on a sunday morning arrange a get together and play a sport that is either known to both, or better known to none.
Specifically try playing Indian Holi, I bet the the team will enjoy it and will become more mingled.

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    Mayank, I have edited your question for clarity. I was unsure to leave Holi in. AFAIK it is not a sport, but the spring festival where indeed everyone is treated equally and to show that one thing people do is throw color powder (or liquids) at each other. I doubt that would go well in a US/European company. Do you have other examples? – user8036 Dec 5 '16 at 9:16
  • Yeah well said Jan it's not a sport... In such companies the team should opt for team games like soccer or Cricket which by the way are better examples – Mayank Gaur Jan 30 '17 at 19:22

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