The Effects of Cultural Diversity in Virtual Teams Versus Face-to-Face Teams
- 3.5k Downloads
Diversity in the national background and culture of team members is common in virtual teams. An experimental study, with short term teams, was undertaken to examine the effect of cultural diversity on team effectiveness and to examine if this effect changes depending if the team worked face-to-face (F2F) or virtually. Heterogeneous teams were created that had greater diversity than homogeneous teams of individualism/collectivism values, different languages spoken, country of birth, and nationality. The teams worked on a desert survival task either F2F or virtually (via audioconference and electronic chat tools). The overall results indicated that heterogeneous teams were less satisfied and cohesive and had more conflict than the homogeneous teams, although there were no statistical differences in team performance levels. However, examining just the heterogeneous teams found that the performance of the virtual heterogeneous teams was superior to that of the F2F heterogeneous teams. The results support Carte and Chidambaram's (2004) theory that the reductive capabilities of collaborative technologies are beneficial for newly-formed diverse teams.
Keywordsteam diversity virtual teams cultural diversity national culture experiment survival task reductive capabilities of collaborative technologies
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Anderson, W.N. and S.R. Hiltz. (2001). “Culturally Heterogeneous vs. Culturally Homogeneous Groups in Distributed Group Support Systems: Effects on Group Process and Consensus,” Proceedings of the 34th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.Google Scholar
- Blau, P.M. (1977). Inequality and Heterogeneity : A Primitive Theory of Social Structure, New York, Free Press.Google Scholar
- Carte, T. and L. Chidambaram. (2004). “A Capabilities-Based Theory of Technology Deployment in Diverse Teams: Leapfrogging the Pitfalls of Diversity and Leveraging its Potential With Collaborative Technology,” Journal of the Association for Information Systems 5(11–12), 448–471.Google Scholar
- Evaristo, R. (2003). “The Management of Distributed Projects Across Cultures,” Journal of Global Information Management 11(4), 58–70.Google Scholar
- Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. Beverly Hills, Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Hofstede, G. (1994). VSM94: Value Survey Module 1994 Manual, IRIC, Tilberg. Accessible at http://feweb.uvt.nl/center/hofstede/VSM.html (August 2005).
- Janis, I. L. Victims of Groupthink Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1982.Google Scholar
- Johnson, D. W. and F.P. Johnson. (1994). Joining together: Group Theory and Group Skills (5th ed.), Boston, Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
- McGrath, J.E. (1984). Groups: Interaction and Performance, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
- Powell, A., G. Piccoli, and B. Ives. (2004). “Virtual Teams: A Review of Current Literature and Directions for Future Research,” Data Base for Advances in Information Systems 35(1), 6–36.Google Scholar
- Sarker, S. and S. Sahay. (2002). “Information Systems Development by US-Norwegian Virtual Teams: Implications of Time and Space,” Proceedings of the Thirty-Fifth Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.Google Scholar
- Staples, D. S., I.K. Wong, and A.F. Cameron. (2004). “Best Practices for Virtual Team Effectiveness,” in: David Pauleen (ed.), Virtual Teams: Projects, Protocols and Processes, Idea Group Publishing, Hershey PA, pp. 160–185.Google Scholar
- Van de Ven, A.H. and D.L. Ferry. (1980). Measuring and Assessing Organizations. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
- Williams, K.Y. and C.A. O'Reilly. (1998). “Demography and Diversity in Organizations: A Review of 40 Years of Research,” in B. M. Staw and L.L. Cummings (eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior (20), 77–140.Google Scholar