Exploration of Multi-cultural Teaching and Learning in a Collaborative Virtual Environment

Exploration of Multi-cultural Teaching and Learning in a Collaborative Virtual Environment

Gonca Telli Yamamoto (Okan University, Turkey), Michael D. Featherstone (Jacksonville State University, USA), Faruk Karaman (Istanbul Aydin University, Turkey) and Patricia C. Borstorff (Jacksonville State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-599-5.ch018
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The chapter details the experiences both students and instructors encountered in creating and participating in a cross-cultural virtual team conducted predominantly in a virtual environment. We describe problems encountered and often (though not always) overcome. Students learned both the rewards and the frustrations such teams experience as they learned to participate in and contribute to the collective intelligence of the team.
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The advent of the World Wide Web has created an entirely new environment for the conduct of business. One attribute of any business which chooses to enter this environment is this; the business becomes a de facto international business. Markets once unreachable are now readily accessible. Working relationships which only a few short years ago may have been the dominion of only the largest of enterprises are now within the realm of any business – no matter the size – which has a Web presence. In addition, changes in information technology have made global communications virtually cost-free to most businesses.

The full impact of this rapidly evolving new business environment upon management is unclear. Equally nebulous are the best practices for utilizing the new communications tools for strategic advantage. What has been made abundantly clear is that businesses now interact in a global multicultural business environment (Benson-Armer & Hsieh 1997; Borstorff et al. 2006; Clausen et al. 2009; Duarte & Snyder 2006; Gatlin-Watts et al. 2007; Jarvenpaa & Leidner 1998; Johnson 2009; Lisak & Erez 2009; Mihhailova & Piiriste 2008; Powell, Piccoli & Ives 2004; VanRyssen & Godar 2000; Vinaja 2003; Yamamoto & Karaman 2006).

Because of the increasing importance of the globalization phenomenon, it is vital that companies adapt to these changes, or they risk losing their competitive standing. While this environment represents challenges for businesses hoping to compete in the global business arena, it also represents a unique opportunity for business schools who train the next generations of business leaders. Those business schools which recognize this and are transforming curricula to educate managers for the specific challenges of this new environment assume the risk but also gain the advantage of early adaptors. (Featherstone, Ellis & Borstorff 2004). On the other hand, not only the business schools but all universities and/or the institutions that provide the universal information/knowledge are facing different business environments than they were used to. Their marketing environment is also affected by these changes.

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