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Cultural Diversity in Teamwork: Research Process

Topic Origin

The topic is inspired by the major, which is communication and media studies.

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Topic Reason

The topic is closely associated with the major, so it would be interesting to investigate it. When covering various aspects of life in the media, one needs to keep in mind the peculiarities of different cultures. It is necessary to realize that every nation or ethnicity has its own perspectives on some issues or events. Thus, researching this topic might provide an explanation of some of the key factors related to the major.


Understanding the aspects of cultural diversity in teamwork (at a workplace)

Focus Reason

The particular focus of research is related to the future social status, which will involve working in various environments with people from different backgrounds. Almost every day, one can notice that learning through cultural diversity is highly effective. Thus, it is interesting to investigate this approach in regard to working in a team and find out its benefits and challenges for coworkers. The focus connects the present and future by allowing to understand the role of cultural diversity in education (as a kind of teamwork) and to predict its importance in the future profession.

Focus Significance

The topic is worth researching because the modern world enables people to travel and communicate with a variety of people both on business and pleasure. It is crucial to analyze it in order to avoid misunderstandings and reach the best outcomes of interaction.

Advantages and disadvantages of the focus for a research essay or report

The major benefit of researching this topic is that there is much information available both in scholarly papers and in non-academic sources. Also, since scholars cover various aspects of cultural diversity, it is possible to gather data on the particularly selected element. Another advantage is that authors from different countries pay attention to this research area, so it will be attainable to collect an array of papers for analysis. The main limitation of the focus is that many studies will probably be qualitative, which presupposes a certain degree of bias. Also, it may be difficult to narrow down the search terms since the topic is rather popular with researchers.

Research Question

What are the benefits and challenges of a multicultural working environment?

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Thesis Statement

Understanding the aspects of cultural diversity at a workplace allows realizing the benefits and challenges of such an approach to teamwork.


  1. cultural
  2. diversity
  3. teamwork
  4. workplace
  5. benefit
  6. challenge


  1. educational, developmental, socializing
  2. difference, variety, multifariousness, diversification
  3. collaboration, partnership, unity, cooperation, coalition
  4. company, organization, system, structure, enterprise
  5. advantage, profit, aid
  6. limitation, drawback, complication, difficulty, disadvantage

Search Statements

  1. cultural diversity OR variety
  2. cultural diversity AND teamwork
  3. cultural diversity AND workplace
  4. collaboration AND socializing diversification
  5. cultural diversity AND teamwork AND benefits
  6. cultural diversity AND workplace AND media

Annotated Bibliography

Bouncken, R., Brem, A., & Kraus, S. (2016). Multi-cultural teams as sources for creativity and innovation: The role of cultural diversity on team performance. International Journal of Innovation Management, 20(1), 1650012.

Connection to topic

The source is exactly on the focus topic since it researches the effect of cultural diversity on team performance. Since it is a scholarly article, the authors suggest ample data on the issue investigated. First of all, they present an overview of theoretical information on the topic. Bouncken, Brem, and Kraus (2016) analyze such theoretical concepts as creativity and innovation, multi-cultural teams, levels of diversity in multi-cultural teams, and the impact on creativity through cultural values. Apart from being related to the focus topic, this source additionally investigates such an aspect of the problem as the role that cultural diversity in a workplace plays in innovation and creativity. Thus, this article is rather connected to the selected topic.

Search details

The search process that was employed to locate this source involved looking through such databases as EBSCO, ProQuest, JSTOR, and Google Scholar. The keywords and Booleans used in the process were “cultural diversity AND teamwork” and “cultural diversity AND workplace.” There were many search results matching the search terms and phrases. The article by Bouncken et al. (2016) was located at Google Scholar. The search was limited not only by the key phrases but also by the publication date: only the articles published between 2013 and 2018 were taken into consideration. Such a limitation allowed finding the most recent scholarly papers investigating the topic. This approach enables seeing the relevant discussion and, hopefully, borrowing some of the suitable items from the list of references for further analysis when needed.

Usefulness for an academic research paper

The authors of the article are specialists in the field of management and organization. Bouncken is the chair of Strategic Management and Organization University. Brem works at the University of Southern Denmark, and Kraus is employed at the Institute of Entrepreneurship in Liechtenstein. The authors’ belonging to various professional and cultural environments adds to the credibility of their investigation and allows them analyzing the issue from the inside. The article was published in 2016, which means that it is quite recent. The scholars cover a considerable number of questions and come up with fourteen propositions regarding the article’s theme.

Apart from substantial conclusions, Bouncken et al. (2016) discuss implications for theorists and practitioners. The peer-reviewed journal in which the article is located is published by Imperial College Press. The journal was founded over twenty years ago, which emphasizes its practicality and reliability. The bibliography presented at the end of the article includes more than sixty items. However, the vast majority of the sources that Bouncken et al. (2016) consulted are outdated. Still, it is possible to conclude that it has a high level of usefulness for the academic research paper.

Sharma, N., Singh, V. K., & Pathak, S. (Eds.). (2018). Management techniques for a diverse and cross-cultural workforce. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

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Connection to topic

The book edited by Sharma, Singh, and Pathak (2018) is exactly related to the focused topic since its authors analyze cultural variety at a workplace. The book is a combination of articles by various authors divided into three sections. The first section is aimed at investigating diversity at a workplace. The second section focuses on cross-cultural issues within the organizational culture. The third section is the largest, and it contains chapters on management techniques employed for cultural diversity. The book provides a theoretical overview of workplace diversity. The authors pay special attention to such aspects as gender diversity and workforce challenges.

Also, the authors investigate the causes and elucidations of cross-cultural conflicts between team members. Interesting topics of analysis include leadership in a multi-cultural team, employee engagement, empowerment, performance appraisal, and human resource management. Thus, the book contains the theoretical and background information, as well as offers specific details associated with the focused topic.

Search details

The search for academic books is more limited than that for articles. For the current assignment, Google Books engine was employed. First of all, the search was limited by dates (between 2013 and 2018) to look for the most recent and relevant sources. Then, the following key phrases were employed: “cultural diversity AND teamwork AND benefits,” “cultural diversity AND teamwork,” and “cultural diversity AND workplace.” Out of the received search results, the book edited by Sharma et al. (2018) was selected. The limitation by key phrases allowed finding only the sources closely related to the focused topic. The book was selected because it covered a variety of issues incorporated in the general topic of cultural diversity, as well as the focused topic of cultural diversity at a workplace.

Usefulness for an academic research paper

Although all contributors are from India, Serbia, and Turkey, one must admit that their research is based on a variety of sources from international and US scholarly journals. Moreover, the origin of contributors is a positive factor since they present the topic from the combined perspective of their native country and the US. All authors are scholarly employees at universities or researchers who have experience in analyzing different aspects of cultural diversity. The coverage of the book is its another beneficial feature. Many different questions are investigated by the authors, and many explanations of crucial concepts are given. The bibliography at the end of each chapter is substantial and consists of relevant and reliable sources. The book was published by IGI Global, the company that recently celebrated three decades of publishing excellence (“About IGI Global,” n.d.).

IGI Global cooperates with such renowned institutions as Harvard University, Tsinghua University, University of Cambridge, and Stanford University. The core subject areas of this publisher include business and management, medicine and healthcare, social sciences and humanities, government and law, and education. The usefulness of the located source for an academic research cannot be overestimated.

Taylor, T. A. (2018). Diversity, inclusion, and culture: How to build great teams. Times Open. Web.

Connection to topic

The third source selected for annotated bibliography is an article from an online magazine. As well as the previous two works, this publication covers the focused topic. The author does not provide theoretical or background information. Rather, Taylor (2018) describes her own experience of not only working in a diverse environment but also creating such a team. Although it is not a research paper, the author gives much significant information about the arrangement of a multi-cultural team and keeping it successful. Particularly, Taylor (2018) dwells on such subtopics as hiring, team culture, onboarding, and inclusion.

The author notes that one of the reasons why homogeneous teams tend to sustain their homogeneity is that they are afraid to change. Also, such companies do not want to experience a complicated process of interviewing and hiring people (Taylor, 2018). The author remarks that having people with diverse cultural backgrounds gives an opportunity to benefit from each employee’s unique skills and ideas. Taylor (2018) also notes that it is highly important to acknowledge and reward each team member’s efforts in order to keep people motivated.

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Search details

Looking for this source demanded the use of such a search engine as Google Search. Because the engine generates a very large number of results, it is always necessary to limit the findings by some aspects. With this aim, the following key phrase was used: “cultural diversity AND workplace.” Further, the results were filtered by date (2017-2018) and type of source (article). Even after making these steps, there were still many items to choose from and consider for analysis. Thus, the focus was made on more or less popular online magazines and newspapers. Such periodicals as “Forbes,” “New York Times,” “Business Insider,” “Daily Mail,” and “Bloomberg Businessweek” were taken into consideration.

The article selected for the inclusion in the annotated bibliography was published in “Times Open,” a division of “The New York Times” that covers the most recent stories of success in the digital and business world (“The New York Times Open,” n.d.). The popularity of the newspaper implies credibility, so the article by Taylor (2018) was chosen.

Usefulness for an academic research paper

The evaluation of this source’s usefulness is more difficult than that of the previous two sources since it lacks many of the items that can be employed as assessment markers. Still, the article by Taylor seems to be rather helpful for writing an academic research paper, and there are several reasons for this. First of all, the author is experienced in management and team-building (“Tessa Ann Taylor,” n.d.). According to her profile, she builds “great teams” and “solid platforms (“Tessa Ann Taylor,” n.d., para. 1).

Secondly, the article was published nearly half a year ago, which means that the experiences described in it are quite fresh and can be used as the basis for understanding the challenges and opportunities of a multi-cultural team. Thirdly, the publisher is a highly renowned US newspaper, which increases the reliability of the source. There is no bibliography in Taylor’s article, but the author dwells on personal experience, which is sometimes more important than scholarly references. Thus, taking all of these aspects into account, it is viable to say that the article is useful for an academic research paper.

Discussion Essay

Any written task can present some difficulties, but working on a research paper is particularly challenging. The preparation to write a research essay involves several different stages, each of them having its own peculiarities. Designing the plan of drafting a research essay incorporates coming up with a general topic and understanding the rationale behind choosing it. While this stage is comparatively easy, other aspects may arouse concerns and problems.

A research process is not easy, but it is a highly engaging one. Once it becomes clear what focus the work should be considered, it becomes much easier to evaluate the significance of the future research essay. In the present assignment, the idea of the general topic appeared quite soon. Cultural diversity is closely associated with the major, and it was logical to investigate that issue. However, when it came to specifying one narrow aspect of the selected topic, it became more difficult to make a choice. The reason is that cultural diversity is present in various environments, such as education, work, health care, family, and others. After browsing the possible topics, I decided to analyze workplace diversity since, I believe, it will be useful for my future career.

When it came to singling out the advantages and disadvantages of the selected focus, it appeared that it was easier to identify benefits than find limitations. It seems that this issue was associated with some bias and the feeling that one’s topic was very well established. I consider this aspect a weakness and will work on eliminating such a problem in the future. Even scholars who perform substantial research admit that their studies have limitations.

Thus, it is crucial to develop the analytical skills and learn how to be able to single out the downsides of a project. Another difficulty was writing a thesis statement even though it was based on the research question. From the previous assignments, I realized that my weakness is “announcing” the purpose of the paper instead of writing a thesis statement. In this task, it was particularly important to prepare a thesis, so the assignment had a positive effect on my analytical and writing skills.

While working on the preparation to an academic essay writing, it was possible to note that some parts of the process were more time-consuming than others. For instance, coming up with a general topic was much faster than thinking over a specific focus.

However, once the topics in each category were settled, it did not take long to write an explanation for their selection. It was so because in the process of choosing the topic, the reasons were considered and evaluated, so the only thing left was to arrange them in a written form. Thinking of the research question also took some time since it involved looking through various sources with the aim of realizing what question would be the most interesting to inspect. Writing a thesis statement took much effort and time since it was my weakness.

On the other hand, creating a list of keywords and their synonyms did not take much time. The terms had already been identified, and the thesaurus was used to assist in finding synonyms. However, the Boolean search was more time-consuming since it demanded the evaluation of key phrases’ compatibility. It was necessary to think thoroughly of what Boolean operator to employ in each combination to make sure that search engines would produce the most precise results.

It is not possible to identify one single method of searching that could be considered as the most successful. However, there are some tips that can be employed when looking for sources which make search results more efficient. The simplest and most common method employed by beginning researchers is using the keyword or a combination of a few. However, in this case, one cannot be sure that he or she will receive a source with the exact phrase. An effective way of narrowing down the search is exploiting inverted commas. With this method, one will see the results of the precise word combination needed.

Employing the Boolean search strategy is also very useful since its operations help to expand or narrow the results or exclude some items from the detected books or articles. The operator ‘and’ narrows down the search since it gives the command to look for both words or combinations typed in the search engine. The ‘or’ operator broadens the results since it requires looking for both phrases or words. The operator ‘not’ allows filtering the results from the unwanted or irrelevant things. Thus, each of the Boolean search options is useful and can help a researcher to make the process of looking for sources more convenient. The most useful of them is probably the ‘and’ operator since it narrows down the identified sources. Thus, this operator was used most frequently in the present work.

Having created annotated bibliographies for three different types of sources, it is possible to discuss the pros and cons of each type and to assess their usefulness for research work. When writing a scholarly paper, it is crucial to back up one’s arguments with relevant and reliable references. This is done due to two reasons: firstly, one needs to demonstrate that his or her ideas are not just made up but have a scholarly background. Secondly, one should point out what sources he or she consulted in order to avoid plagiarism. Academic sources, such as books and articles, are better than the data found in online magazines or journals.

The authors of scholarly sources usually have a degree in a specific area, work in a higher educational institution or a laboratory, and have experience in the field about which they are writing. Another positive aspect about scholarly sources is that they are usually peer-reviewed, which means that the possibility of errors and biases is eliminated. An additional benefit of using scholarly sources is that they contain a bibliography where one can find some more articles or book chapters related to the topic of the work.

When choosing between articles and books, the use of the former seems to be more convenient. Articles are published more frequently than books, so there is an opportunity to find the most recent data in them. Also, articles are shorter than books, so it is easier to read them and find the most relevant information. Also, journal articles commonly have a brief annotation in the beginning that enables the researcher to identify whether the source is useful or not.

Overall, this type of sources is well-structured, discusses different methodologies, and teaches how to arrange a scholarly paper. Finally, the authors almost always discuss the limitations of their work, which allows identifying the gaps in research and helps to come up with new research questions.

However, books are also rather useful sources of scholarly information. Sometimes, it is more helpful to read a book than browse several articles. If a book is well-structured, it helps beginning researchers to understand the nature of the problem and see the variety of aspects it includes. Sometimes, books can also be represented as collections of scholarly papers united by a single topic. In this case, it is a very useful source since it combines many investigations under one cover. Non-academic sources may be helpful since they contain anecdotes and personal experiences. However, it is not preferable to employ many of them in a research paper since they lack reliability.

The assignment has given many important insights not only into the research process but also into some aspects of the future profession. Working on a research paper is not easy, but it is exciting and thought-provoking. While working on this paper, I improved my ability to formulate a thesis statement and increased researching skills. Also, it became easier to manage the time and distribute it between the different tasks. Analyzing various types of sources allowed finding out which one was the most advantageous. Overall, the assignment was rather insightful, and it gave students the possibility to enrich the understanding of the process of writing a research paper.


About IGI Global. (n.d.).

Bouncken, R., Brem, A., & Kraus, S. (2016). Multi-cultural teams as sources for creativity and innovation: The role of cultural diversity on team performance. International Journal of Innovation Management, 20(1), 1650012.

The New York Times Open. (n.d.). Web.

Sharma, N., Singh, V. K., & Pathak, S. (Eds.). (2018). Management techniques for a diverse and cross-cultural workforce. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Taylor, T. A. (2018). Diversity, inclusion, and culture: How to build great teams. Times Open.

Tessa Ann Taylor. (n.d.). Medium. Web.

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