Hyper-Sensitivity in Global Virtual Teams

Hyper-Sensitivity in Global Virtual Teams

Andre L. Araujo (Texas A&M University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch062

Abstract

This chapter broadens the understanding of global virtual teams by integrating two theoretical approaches—the Hyper-personal Perspective and the Social Constructionist Theory—to examine how members of global virtual teams develop relational interactions and outcomes. Specifically, the integrated research model presented here suggests that global virtual team members are hyper-sensitive to their computer-mediated interpersonal interactions in that individuals' socially constructed perceptions of the context influence their relational development and judgments much more intensively than those of collocated members. The chapter offers managerial suggestions and research directions.
Chapter Preview
Top

Background

Typically, global virtual teams employ web-based collaboration tools such as Trello, Basecamp, and Sync.in, to name a few (Gilson, Vartiainen, & Hakonen, 2015).While recent web-based technologies provide a great deal of functionalities, anecdotal and empirical evidence suggest a number of challenges faced by teams who rely on computer-based technologies to communicate and accomplish their tasks. Some of the challenges include overcoming isolation among team members, cultural differences, less time for relationship building, lack of participation, conflict management, and building trust.

This chapter broadens our understanding of this phenomenon by integrating two theoretical approaches—the Hyper-personal Perspective and the Social Constructionist Theory—to examine how members of global virtual teams develop relational interactions. Specifically, the integrated research model presented here suggests that global virtual team members are hyper-sensitive to their computer-mediated interpersonal interactions in that individuals’ socially constructed perceptions of the context influence their relational development and judgments much more intensively than those of collocated members.

In this study, the key components of the context are the task-at-hand and shared identity, while relational interactions are defined in terms of interpersonal conflict and level of engagement. Thus, how members of global virtual teams perceive their task and their team will profoundly affect their relational interactions, including how much conflict they experience and how engaged they view their team members as being. Over time, the amplification of these affective elements will affect their judgments about their fellow members’ trustworthiness. The main components of our research model and its relationships are depicted in the Figure 1. In the following sections we describe the research model (Figure 1), its components, and their combined impact on relational interactions in global virtual teams.

Figure 1.

The research model

Key Terms in this Chapter

Hyper-Sensitivity Perspective: This perspective helps explain why members of distributed groups have the potential to profoundly amplify interpersonal exchanges between the sender and receiver

Shared Identity: It refers to the extent which an individual identifies with his or her team members when working in a global virtual setting.

Perceptions of the Task: It is a contextual element that is susceptible to interpretation and reinterpretation and may vary as the result of an individual’s social interactions.

Level of Engagement: Refers to the extent to which members of global virtual teams see their virtual counterparts as being responsive to the needs of the team as they interact through computer-mediate technologies.

Social Constructionist Perspective: It suggests that human social order is produced through interpersonal negotiations and implicit understandings that are built up via shared stories and experiences (Berger and Luckman, 1967 AU17: The in-text citation "Berger and Luckman, 1967" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ). Thus, beliefs held by members of a group determine to what extent meanings of terms are invented and sustained. In other words, how members interpret their context and social interaction processes helps to predict individual cognitions and behavior.

Interpersonal Conflict: Refers to the extent to which individuals perceive clashes among team members when working in a global virtual setting. Typically, it is detrimental to group work by increasing the intensity of negative attitudes toward others.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset