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Communication is the key

Kirjoittanut: Taru Jytilä - tiimistä SYNTRE.

Esseen tyyppi: Akateeminen essee / 3 esseepistettä.
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Communication is the key
when working together as a team

Photo: Businesstopia / Website


Every creature on this earth communicates with someone or something. Is It the seagull sitting on the roof making sounds, or the rabbit running from its life. They all communicate somehow. How animals communicate, is still not very clear for humankind and I wonder if it ever ever will be. But one thing we know more about. Speaking with human. Communicating with other human beings. We might know about it, but there’s many people who should learn to become better at it. In a civilized and educated living environment, normally the parents are giving every day lessons to you, how you should talk to people, how to behave and be surrounded by people. People have a quite instant reaction if someone behaves weirdly. Some cultural differences exists of course too. Whilst living in Turkey I recognized that people are very reserved and they tend to respect not to talk out of turn. Very similar to our culture here in Finland. We tend to respect others speaking, listen and after that express our own opinions. Obviously when we are young and eager this might be very difficult for us. But as the Finns grow older , they learn to bite their teeth and wait for their turn to speak out.

Whilst my travel guide years in Spain I realized how different communication can vary depending on the country and culture. Spanish people tend to speak whenever and they are totally not up for waiting their turn. They are more passionate so to say. They like to talk and use their voice a lot. At first it was horrible , but I guess you learn how to live with the noise. There was no option of going for coffee to a bar over a work meeting, as it was so loud that you could not hear your own thoughts in there. And this happened in every restaurant and bar, regardless of the time. In this essay I will speak about communication a bit more thoroughly and compare my thoughts with subject communication in different cultures.




Many famous psychologists think that there are five main points dividing our personalities. These are known as the big five dimensions. The opposite dimensions would be called as an extrovert or introvert, but in real life we would think that most of the personalities would lie somewhere in the middle of these scales. (Cherry, 2021) As for myself I believe that I am mostly an extrovert, but I also enjoy being alone, so I guess I fit somewhere middle in the scale as well.


There have been many different versions of personality types, but the big five has been taken in action as the other ones have either been too complicated or too limited in some way. (Cherry, 2021)

Some evidence for this theory is made by these authors. First there was D. W. Fiske (1949) and it was extended by other researchers including Norman (1967), Smith (1967), Goldberg (1981), and McCrae & Costa (1987). (Cherry, 2021)


First of them is extroversion, which is concluding how are we acting around other people, are we delighted to be around people and do we easily meet new people. Basically, how social we are. An extrovert is a person who really enjoys being surrounded with other people, talks a lot and is energized when surrounded by people. They might lack listening skills and might be seen too talkative.


The next dimension is called agreeableness, how well we can adapt our thinking based on other people’s thoughts. Do we think that we are always right or can we make agreements on other people’s opinions and change our vision. If rated high on agreeableness the person is most likely social and most likely surrounded by people as this personality type is known of putting others interests above your own interests. They have a high level of empathy and might be very good in babysitting and taking care of other human beings. (Gordon, 2020)


Third step is openness to experience, how easy it is for us to tell others about our self, about our lives and about our opinions. For others it seems to be very easy to open up themselves in front of strangers as for others it might feel impossible to even tell them some small things about their backgrounds, family or something personal. (Gordon, 2020)


Fourth object is conscientiousness, which means you can have high amount of self-discipline and self-control. These personality types are commonly very organized and they think about the long term goals. They can easily adapt to leading positions because of their calm personality. This is not the personality to choose something fun to do but the person who thinks about their long-term goal and is ready to do whatever it takes to succeed in their career and in their work life. They can experience problems during the learning process as they might be too focused on their performance. (Gordon, 2020)


Finally, there is neuroticism. Neuroticism can be explained as the person’s ability to manage their emotions or not being able to manage them. The persons rating high on this element can be easily annoyed when stimulated. They might also feel that they cannot control their angriness or sadness in difficult situations. Neuroticism might be easy to connect to negative emotions and can be related to stress and to find difficult situations because of all the negative thinking. (Gordon, 2020)


All these different personality types can work together as a team, but it takes a lot of learning, concentration and understanding from team members. In teamwork it there are two important aspects. The ability to complete tasks and work with our skills and experience. The other aspect is to work together as a team trough communication and collaboration. It has been proven that personalities that score higher being more conversational, can attribute easily for team work. (Curseu, Illies, Virga, Maricutoiu & Sava, 2018.)

“No man is an island. There’s no “I” in team.”  There are a lot of great quotes that states that team is better than one person. I have personally noticed during the last (Wood, 2017)


It is normal to face obstacles when working together as a team with different personalities. We might get negative feedback, we can face lack of motivation or even end up having conflict resulting ending of friendships. We need to set our common goal and remember it during hard times. We need to remember to celebrate success and enjoy each other’s company outside of work as well. It has been shown that conflicts between team members can also create most successful and stronger team. (HR Collaborative)


Team members should figure out their own personality type and recognize who is who. Find skills and match them with job roles to be affective. Understanding each other’s might improve the work quality and reduce the conflicts. (Marsh,2018)



Verywell / Joshua Seong



World is full of people moving to other countries and locations when looking for work. Many people leave their families if they can support them better whilst living in another country. Many South-American will move to United States, due to the quality of life. Asian people are looking for work in places like Finland due to the higher incomes. People are moving between the contents more than never before. Still it seems like when it comes to Finns , we are not eager to move anywhere. Not even to another city which would be located 200 kilometres from your home. Why do you think Finns are like this?


According to this research if person has lower education, family and especially if they have kids, it is more unlike for them to move location because of work.( Lappalainen 2017,p1.)

                                      Kat Boogaard/ Toggl

Whilst people move locations, we might notice that our working environment can compose people from very different cultural backgrounds. So how can we communicate and work together. Culture is something that passes within generations. Culture includes our body language, beliefs and behaviours. We should stay very open minded when communicating with people from another culture, to avoid any barriers between us. Even though in Finland our level of English is quite good, we have to remember that there are still billions of people who do not understand or speak English. Even signs and non-verbal communication can cause problems. As an example a common symbol of “thumbs up” is normally known around the world as a positive signal, if showing this to person from Bangladesh it might cause you conflict. When meeting a person from cultures that you might have stereotype pictures or prejudices, remember that even though you saw  in the news this culture combined with something negative related in the news, this person does not have nothing to do with it. Even the smallest thing like eye contact might be disrespectful in some countries. But do not worry, you can not know all the differences between cultures. It is impossible. Just stay with an open mind and try not to judge people even if you think that they might behave oddly. Even tough surviving in cross cultural environment is not easy it can also be the most creative environment if people are willing to understand each others. (Businesstopia 2018.)

“Culture is the pattern of taken-for-granted assumptions about how a given collection of people should think, act, and feel as they go about their daily affairs”
-Joynt & Warner, 1996

Here is a tool from Hofstede (Hofstede. G), who has invented it based on working with people from more than 50 countries. He has found a way to separate people from different cultures into four categorize.  Here are the most important four dimensions:

  1. Power Distance Index (PDI).
PDI Characteristics Tips
High PDI ·       Centralized organizations.

·       More complex hierarchies.

·       Large gaps in compensation, authority and respect.

·       Acknowledge a leader’s status.

·       Be aware that you may need to go to the top for answers.

Low PDI ·       Flatter organizations.

·       Supervisors and employees are considered almost as equals.

·       Delegate as much as possible.

·       Ideally, involve all those in decision making who will be directly affected by the decision.


According to Hofstede, people coming from countries where the power distance is high they are not very self-imposed as they have been used to getting orders from leaders and not actioning by themselves. People from this culture might also feel that the task given is not so important. Countries where we do not have power distance, like Finland, we are used to make our own decisions and familiar with decision making.


  1. Masculinity Versus Femininity (MAS).
MAS Characteristics Tips
High MAS ·       Strong egos – feelings of pride and importance are attributed to status.

·       Money and achievement are important.

·       Be aware of the possibility of differentiated gender roles.

·       A long-hours culture may be the norm, so recognize its opportunities and risks.

Low MAS ·       Relationship oriented/consensual.

·       More focus on quality of life.

·       Success is more likely to be achieved through negotiation, collaboration and input from all levels.

·       Avoid an “old boys’ club” mentality, although this may still exist.


Based on this MAS mapping, I do not believe I would feel comfortable working in a country with high MAS level. I could notice this example in Turkey. It was very hard to work there as a woman. Everything you said or did was doubted, just because you were a woman. These countries should develop and bring their structure to the 2020 century.


  1. Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI).

This dimension describes how well people can cope with anxiety.

UAI Characteristics Tips
High UAI ·       Conservative, rigid and structured, unless the danger of failure requires a more flexible attitude.

·       Many societal conventions.

·       People are expressive, and are allowed to show anger or emotions, if necessary.

·       A high energy society, if people feel that they are in control of their life instead of feeling overwhelmed by life’s vagaries.

·       Be clear and concise about expectations and goals, and set clearly defined parameters. But encourage creative thinking and dialogue where you can.

·       Recognize that there may be unspoken “rules” or cultural expectations you need to learn.

·       Recognize that emotion, anger and vigorous hand gestures may simply be part of the conversation.

Low UAI ·       Openness to change or innovation, and generally inclusive.

·       More inclined to open-ended learning or decision making.

·       Less sense of urgency.

·       Ensure that people remain focused, but don’t create too much structure.

·       Titles are less important, so avoid “showing off” your knowledge or experience. Respect is given to those who can cope under all circumstances.




Conclusions based on the essay. We as a team, should use the first semester to really get to know each team member and build trust among each other’s. We have come up with some team developing exercises. We will have started our journey and are on the edge of creating our own team enterprise. We will do our first projects soon to get to know all the team members and to learn to work with different personality types. We are changing the leader roles so that different people can try out different roles within our company. All of the projects will have project manager to try out the leading position in a smaller team. I believe this is important in order for us to grow as persons and learn new skills. Our team wants to give responsibility to different team members and to change them every now and then, in order for everyone to get the chance to shine. We must create safe environment, where everyone can freely express their opinions and share their experiences. By learning more about our cultural backgrounds and history we can work together more easily and create understanding among each other’s. Hopefully after three years we can call each other’s family and to have a life long lasting friendship among the team members. Communication is the key to success as a team and as long as we make sure our communication works, we believe we can be the team to be remembered.


Kat Boogaard, written on 12.3.2019. Read on 21.3.2022. Website. Link: 

Businesstopia, written on 6.1.2018. Read on 18.3.2022 Website. https://www.businesstopia.net/communication/cultural-barriers-communication

Cherry Kendra, written on 20.02.2021. Read on 29.11.2921.  https://www.verywellmind.com/the-big-five-personality-dimensions-2795422

Coding tech, 2021. Secrets Of Successful Teamwork: Insights from Google. Published on 12.10.2021. Secrets Of Successful Teamwork: Insights From Google

Gordon Sherri, written on 17.09.2020. Read on 29.11.2021 https://www.verywellmind.com/how-agreeableness-affects-your-behavior-4843762

Hofstede. G, Hofstede. G, Minkov. M, 2010. “Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind”, Third Revised Edition, McGraw-Hill

Lappalainen Oskari, 2017. Read on 18.3.2022 Website. Link: https://helda.helsinki.fi/bitstream/handle/10138/193560/Lappalainen_Sosiologia.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y

Marsh Emily, written on 11.5.2018. Read on 30.11.2021 https://www.t-three.com/thinking-space/blog/how-understanding-different-personality-types-improves-team-dynamics

Master Class, 2021. 9 Steps to Building a Strong and Efficient Team: How to Build a Strong Team. Published on 13.08.2021. Read on 27.11.2021. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-build-a-strong-team#why-is-it-important-to-build-a-strong-team

Petru Lucian Curşeu,Remus Ilies,Delia Vîrgă,Laurenţiu Maricuţoiu,Florin A. Sava, First published: 16 July 2018. Read on 30.11.2021 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ijop.12511

Wood Meredith, Written on 11.10.2017. Read on 30.11.2021 https://www.business2community.com/leadership/key-personality-types-work-well-together-01934388

Written by HR Collaborative. Read on 30.11.2021 https://hrcollaborative.com/2018/05/get-different-personalities-work-together/




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