The Effect of Cultural Dimensions on the Development of Intra-Team Trust in Global Virtual Teams

The Effect of Cultural Dimensions on the Development of Intra-Team Trust in Global Virtual Teams

Kurt D. Kirstein (City University of Seattle, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-533-9.ch005
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Abstract

The widespread adoption of global virtual teams has been driven by an unprecedented need to draw upon talents of employees from around the globe in a manner that is both organizationally and financially feasible. The success of these teams depends largely on the levels of intra-team trust and collaboration they are able to establish throughout the life of their projects. Team members on global virtual teams may differ substantially on a number of cultural dimensions including preferences for individualistic versus collective teamwork, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and contextual communication. This chapter will investigate how these four cultural dimensions are likely to impact intra-team trust within a global virtual team. Suggestions that team leaders can utilize to address these cultural dimensions are also presented.
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Background

Team formation can be a challenging process and one that takes time. Often, the process of forming the team and bringing its members together to accomplish a difficult task can take longer than the actual task itself (Wallace, 2001). Peck (1987) used the term pseudocommunity to refer to the ways in which a team interacts when it is first formed. The team will attempt to become an instant community through cordial interactions and the denial of differences. Yet, Peck points out that such reticence toward the recognition of individual differences does not support the development of novel solutions to pressing problems. The team must progress beyond its pseudocommunity stage and this requires the acknowledgement of different traits, attitudes, experience, and cultural norms.

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