Is More Technology Better for Communication in International Virtual Teams?

Is More Technology Better for Communication in International Virtual Teams?

Cleber Marchetti Duranti (University of São Paulo, Brazil) and Fernando Carvalho de Almeida (University of São Paulo, Brazil)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/jec.2012010103
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With the advent of the collaboration tools based on ICT (Information and Communication Technology), the distances between the team members of a company spread around the world have shrunk, at least virtually. Using the most complete collaboration/communication technologies for project meetings, although beneficial at first glance, is not always the best choice when one considers the diverse cultural aspects of the team members of different nationalities. This article examines the adequacy of the communication tools for project communication in line with the cultural differences by comparing the views of American and Brazilian groups used to communicating through ICT on a daily basis for project related work. The results show significant differences between the perceptions and attitudes of the two groups regarding the adequacy of the communication tools in addressing usual project tasks.
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Current corporate reality demands that companies cooperate across national boundaries (Pick, Romano, & Nicholas, 2008) and many projects are being developed around the world through cooperative activities of people without being in face-to-face contact. This type of activity aims at availing of the competitive advantages being offered by the involved countries in reducing the cost of human resource deployment in countries at different development levels (Daga & Kaka, 2006) and specializations.

This research analyzes the interaction between cultural traces and communication in global virtual projects which rely on ICT (Information and Communication Technology) tools as the primary communication media, specifically the relation between cultural dimensions like “individualism/ collectivism”, “power distance”, “uncertainty avoidance” (Hofstede, 2005) and “cultural context in communication” (Hall, 1976) and perception of the fit of different ICT tools such as e-mail, chat and teleconference (audio and video), which reflect different technology features, to the project’s communication needs.

The sketch (Figure 1) illustrates that the fit between communication technologies and different communication tasks can be weighed by the culture.

Figure 1.

Schematic sketch of how culture influences the fit between communication technology and communication task


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