Cross-over teams: International research a la rheingold

At rheingold, international studies are conducted by so-called cross-over teams. These teams consist of staff from the country where the market research institute is based (in rheingolds case, Germany) and from the nations where the research is conducted. For international studies, rheingold has staff from most European language areas and the United States. In addition, rheingold cooperates with institutes and researchers in Europe, Japan, and the U.S.

By working with cross-over teams, rheingold gains very profound knowledge. Furthermore, this method solves a big problem facing market and media researchers today. Research institutes often overlook the fact that their staff are strongly influenced by the culture in which they live. Their own culture determines the way they evaluate phenomena from other cultures and the questions they ask. The cultural background of the researcher can distort findings in international studies.

Now, one might think that this problem can be solved by simply employing researchers from the country where the study is being conducted. But this is not the answer either, because a market research institute cannot accurately evaluate results reached by foreign researchers.

A German company, for example, cannot simply use results achieved by either German or American researchers. German researchers cannot completely understand the American way of life, while the cultural "lens" of the German institute can lead to misunderstandings when it evaluates the American researchers findings.

An international cross-over team solves the problem because it consists, in this case, of both Germans and Americans who jointly tackle the cultural problems. The team ensures that the right questions are asked in the U.S. and that the institute learns how to evaluate the results reached in the different cultural environment.

© 2015 rheingold