Multicultural issues of product development education in virtual teams

Čok, Vanja and Fain, Nuša and Vukašinovic, Nikola and Žavbi, Roman (2015) Multicultural issues of product development education in virtual teams. International Journal of Engineering Education, 31 (3). pp. 863-873. ISSN 0949-149X

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Project oriented courses became a global trend among best engineering universities around the world in the past decade. They teach students not only core academic knowledge, but face students with real problem solving situations, where they need to express and develop their other virtues and skills, e.g. working in multidisciplinary teams, time and task management, problem solving, different presentation and communication skills, etc. In this paper we investigate (multi-) cultural background of virtual team members from two different aspects: how it influences the team’s creativity and how various cultural backgrounds of creative team members could lead into different perceptions of particular design features. Multi-cultural background of NPD teams is a complex challenge, which—if not addressed properly—could cause multi-level problems. The results of our first described research clearly indicate how these differences could affect the forming of virtual NPD creative teams and suggest guidelines how to build effective NPD teams. The second research shows that the same design features can trigger different responses in different cultural background. The designers, who design a product for a particular market, should be aware of these differences, which must be addressed with a special care if we want the product to be properly accepted at the desired target of a global market.