Global Leadership and Virtual Teams
Abstract Miriam Erez
Globalization and new developments in communication technology have accelerated the number of knowledge employees and managers who work in the context of virtual teams. However, the vast majority of theories on team processes and outcomes have been developed in the context of stable face-to-face teams. The question is whether such theories apply "as is" to the virtual team context and what are the unique characteristics of the virtual team context that may influence the team structure, processes and outcomes. In this paper I focus on the role of culture in understanding virtual teams' structure, processes and outcomes. Most virtual teams are geographical dispersed and culturally diverse. The multi-cultural context introduces another dimension of complexity into the understanding of team processes and outcomes, which is not captures by the common definition of a team - two or more individuals, interacting interdependently, who have come together to accomplish a joint goal. The missing part in this definition is the shared meaning system which has recently been emphasized in a number of theories of team learning and performance (Huber & Lewis, 2010; Mathiew et al., 2008; Rico et al., 2008; Wilson et al., 2007). Multi-culturalism means that each team member comes from a different cultural system of shared understanding, and there is no one shared understanding system by all multi-cultural team members. Such cultural systems differ in their values, which influence how team members perceive time, creativity, quality, efficiency, interdependence and how they differ in their communication style. This paper presents findings of three studies, which highlight (a) differences in cultural values and their implications to team structure and team performance outcomes (Erez, 2010; House et al.,2004), (b) differences between culturally homogeneous and heterogeneous teams in the performance of convergent versus divergent tasks, under conditions of 'strong' versus 'weak' situations (Erez & Nouri, 2010), (c) the emergence of a global identity as a result of working in virtual multi-cultural teams (Shokef & Erez, 2006) and (d) the effect of high versus low global identity on communication styles in virtual multi-cultural teams (working paper, with Glickson, E.). Implications to future research directions will be openly discussed.
Abstract Alon Lisak
As part of the globalization process, a growing number of employees in Multi-National Organizations (MNOs) face the new reality of working in Multi-Cultural Teams (MCTs). Although a plethora of articles concerning MCTs have been published in the last decade, most of these studies didn't consider the role of leaders and followers in the MCTs as part of their research models (Lisak & Erez, 2009).
|This seminar is organized by the Erasmus@Work group.|
|Dr. Michaela Schippers|