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Subject Cultural communication patterns in heterogeneous virtual teams
Eileen Lübcke, University of Bremen, Germany
Outline Virtual teams are working groups whose members are spread over geographic boundaries, but are linked together via I &C technology thereby increasing group heterogeneity. Heterogeneity of group members (in age, gender, culture, profession etc.) has a variety of effects on the group as well as the individual level. Positive effects are, for example, that heterogeneous groups are able to produce a greater number of alternative problem solving solutions than homogenous groups through the integration of different perspectives. The effects of such heterogeneity is the
topic of diversity studies. These studies, however, focus on traditional organisational structures while information about consequences of group heterogeneity in virtual teams are largely missing. By contrast computer-mediated communication (CMC) research mainly deals with the consequences of this new form of communication. This paper demonstrates how diversity researchers can profit from the perspective on cultural diversity combined with findings from CMC. We discuss the cultural diversity in communication patterns and the quality of change in communication using I &C technology and what effects they have on virtual teams.
Source Paper presented at the 5th conference on human resource development research and practice across Europe: International, comparative and cross-cultural dimensions of HRD. University of Limerick, 27-28 May 2004 (Abstract; full paper incl. in CD-ROM).
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