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Bryan Forsyth


Culturally diverse teams are becoming the norm with the rising trend of globalization. The phenomenon has been associated with a rise in the number of multicultural teams with diversified team members. The central problem addressed in this study relates to inadequate understanding of challenges posed to project managers of multicultural software development teams operating in Nigeria. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore challenges faced by this population. Avruch’s theory of culture, the Human needs theory by Burton, and the cross-cultural adaptation theory by Kim were the conceptual frameworks for this study. Participants included 15 project managers or senior leaders of multicultural software development teams in Nigeria and were selected using a purposive sampling technique. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted until data saturation was reached. Braun and Clarke’s thematic data analysis method was used involving familiarizing data, generating initial codes, searching for themes, and reviewing and defining themes. Identified themes include language barriers, cultural differences, perceptions of time, lack of tolerance, differences in work cultures, and perceptions and stereotypes. Solutions to addressing challenges included improving communication, tolerance, and respect for diversity. An effective multicultural management and training program is needed to impact team members with skills required to lead and manage multicultural project teams. Study findings can inform the design of multicultural team leadership workshops for project managers leading multicultural software development teams with skills required to effectively lead teams, thus promoting positive social change through improved teamwork and productivity.