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Paul McGinley – Leading a Multinational Team of Individuals

By Lisa Duke, Randall Peterson


In January 2013, Irish Tour Professional Golfer, Paul McGinley was named as Captain of Team Europe for the 2014 Ryder Cup in Gleneagles, Scotland. Across his career, McGinley had both played himself in the Ryder Cup as well as acted as Vice Captain in two successful tournaments for the Team Europe. Being the Captain, however, was a different game. This case traces McGinley’s team strategy and demonstrates his leadership as he moulded 12 players from different European countries together into an effective team, in only a few days. He faced numerous challenges including diverse European nationalities, golf being an individual rather than a team sport, that he would only know who was on his team a few weeks before the Ryder Cup, and then that the players would only be ‘together’ to train four days before the actual tournament began. As well as these, Team Europe were the favourites and would be playing in Europe. McGinley knew that wasn’t an easy position to play from, particularly when the US were fielding a very strong team that year. Expectations were running high. Even during the competition, there were upheavals that McGinley had to deal with.

Learning objectives

  1. Diversity in teams results in more information at the team's disposal, but also lower group cohesion. The best and worst groups are diverse - how one manages the resulting conflict is key to getting the benefits of diversity without the costs.
  2. Trust is a key feeling within a diverse team. Where groups have trust members can be blunt and direct when they express conflict; where there is a lack of trust, people interpret things in the worst light, so phrase things very carefully and deliberately.
  3. Diverse teams take more time, but have the potential to bring greater returns in the longer run; criteria for success need to be very carefully defined, including both affective and economic outcomes, before decision making can begin.
  4. Shared team values / identity is critical for success in the multinational / multicultural team to deal with the tradeoffs between greater information and less cohesion. Team leaders need to encourage shared goals and values.
  5. Successful leaders understand what motivates each individual on the team (eg, prestige, development opportunities, etc) and tries to match rewards to those individual motivations.


Publication Date: August 2018
LBS Case Code: CS-16-002
Subjects: , , ,
Pages: 18
Format: pdf