Global Perceptions of Teams in Project Management

Global Perceptions of Teams in Project Management

Manouchehr Tabatabaei (Georgia Southern University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJITPM.2020040102
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The importance of team building and teamwork cannot be over emphasized as more work is increasingly performed in teams. The success of teams can be influenced by the makeup of the team and the working relationship between team members. A group of individuals with the same perceptions and team values can form a more effective team with more effective teamwork activities resulting in more successful outcomes. The purpose of this research is to examine the perceptions of international students on teams and determine if culture is related to their perceptions of teams. The international students in a project management course were surveyed, and the findings suggest significant difference in perception of international students about the importance of team building skills and teamwork.
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The importance of teams and teamwork and the impact of effective teamwork on the success of organizations is well documented (Goodman et al., 1987; Janis, 1982; Kulkami et al., 2013; Morehead et al., 1997; Sundstrom et al., 1990). Many issues of working in a team and factors for effective teams, such as culture of team members for effective teamwork, have been identified (Aronson, 2015; Guzzo, 1986; Guzzo & Dickson, 1996; Hackman, 1983, Hackman & Walton, 1986; Latane, 1986). Further, the advancement in technology is encouraging work in online environments and therefore also encouraging the forming and functioning in virtual teams. The technology is also facilitating team activities in both co-located and virtual teams (Laru & Jarvela, 2008; McCreary, 2009; Thompson & Coovert, 2003). For example, Collaboration and Communication Technologies (CCTs) are facilitating teamwork. CCTs can make significant changes to our society (Golding, 2000) facilitating virtual teams working in virtual environments which are considered to be the work place of the future (Florea & Stoica, 2019; Townsend et al., 1998).

As teamwork is increasing, employers are emphasizing teamwork skills and are increasingly interested in graduates with teamwork skills. This is particularly important as more work is expected to be performed in co-located teams and in virtual teams where members are geographically dispersed. Employees are increasingly expected to work in global virtual teams with global team members (Florea & Stoica, 2019; Newell et al., 2007). While, in some organizations, employees are expected to work in both environments (Boughzala et al., 2012; Hanebuth, 2015). The scope and magnitude of global virtual teams are expected to increase as technology is facilitating more organizations seeking internationalization. Organizations are increasingly dependent on effective virtual teams as virtual teams are becoming the vehicle through which global business is increasingly being conducted (Alsharo & Ramirez, 2017; Maes & Weldy, 2018).

In response to increasing demand for team players, the accreditation bodies and programs’ model curricula are highlighting teamwork as an integral component of curriculum in intuitions of higher education. The project management course is an essential component of the model curriculum in Information Systems and is one of the last courses undergraduate information systems students take before graduation. In this capstone course, teamwork among other skills is emphasized. Students are required to engage and complete a major system development project as part of the course. Therefore, students are required to form a team, work on a project, and drive it to success as a team.

There are many factors impacting the team, makeup of the team, and team characteristics (Chong, 2007; Goodman, 1986; Jackson et al., 1993; Stevens & Campion, 1994). These factors consequently determine the value of team and teamwork. One important factor is culture (Dunkel & Meierewert, 2004; Schwartz & Bardi, 2001). The culture of team members is an important factor in makeup of the team and has been the focus of research in technology (Leidner & Kayworth, 2006). Culture is defined as “A set of shared values, assumptions and beliefs that are learnt through membership in a group, and that influence the attitudes and behaviors of group members” (Ghemawat & Reiche, 2011). Gert Jan Hofstede (2001) defines culture as “The unwritten rules of the social game that are shared by the members of the same group” which could be a firm, a family or a society.” Hofstede introduced four dimensions explaining national cultures (Hofstede, 1980). This framework was later expanded by two more dimensions (Hofstede et al., 2010). The dimensions of the new framework are: Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, Individualism versus Collectivism, Masculinity versus Femininity, Long Term versus Short Term Orientation and Indulgence versus Restraint.

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