Collaboration across Boundaries: New Perspectives on Global Virtual Teams
Information and communication technologies drive globalization and have radically changed the organization of work structures within organizations. The organizations have responded by progressively shifting from traditional collocated teams to global virtual teams (GVTs) (Webster and Wong, 2008; Zakaria, 2008). The effective use of GVTs has become an indispensable prerequisite to implementing global strategies of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) and independent firms working together in international networks (Lovelace et al., 2005). Several authors report that more than 60% of managers work regularly in virtual teams (de Lisser, 1999; Kanawattanachai and Yoo, 2002; Hertel, Geister, and Kondradt, 2005).
Global virtual teams can be defined as “temporary, culturally diverse, geographically dispersed, and electronically communicating work group[s]” (Jarvenpaa and Leidner, 1999). GVTs are not constrained by traditional geographic and time boundaries and can offer many advantages if properly managed. As Duckworth (2008) points out, through GVTs MNEs can economize on travel, immigration, expat relocation costs and save time. GVTs help improve efficiency by seamlessly distributing workload across different time zones. Importantly, the different backgrounds, local networks and knowledge resources of locally embedded team members create new opportunities to leverage complementarities, creativity and innovation.
However, to live up to their full potential, MNEs need to address crucial challenges of GVTs, such as time-zone differences (Sutanto, Kankanhalli and Tan, 2011), work styles (Liu, Magjuka and Lee, 2008), communication via low-context and low-media-richness channels across cultures (Butler and Zander, 2008) and leadership as well as technological-related issues hindering effective communication (Flammia, Cleary and Slattery, 2010).
This new phenomenon entails several important repercussions for management theories regarding the boundaries of the firm, principal-agent relationships, organizational learning, appropriability and social networks, among others. The growing importance of GVTs is also affecting the contents of the business curriculum, as many universities and business schools are implementing activities to teach and train students how to effectively work in this type of teams and how to cope with challenges mentioned above (Taras et al. 2013). As the crucial role of GVTs is only expected to grow more in the years to come, we encourage scholars to examine GVTs from different theoretical perspectives and empirical approaches in order to achieve implications relevant both for academics and practitioners.
This Special Issue aims to attract contributions that offer a fine-grained analysis of the distinct aspects that affect the behavior and performance of GVTs. Specifically, how can MNEs benefit from the several potential advantages that a smart management of this kind of team may provide? How can MNEs avoid the common pitfalls of GVTs? We welcome theoretical, empirical, methodological and case studies submissions addressing, but not limited to, the following issues:
- Advantages and disadvantages of GVTs vis à vis traditional collocated teams.
- Determinants and characteristics of successful GVTs.
- Knowledge-creation, dissemination and leakages in GVTs.
- Open collaboration and GVT-headquarters relationships.
- The process of creation and development of GVTs over time.
- Differences in GVTs composition and performance across industries.
- Leadership and team-dynamics in GVTs.
- Improving inter-personal communication, team cohesion and trust among GVT members.
- The impact of cross-cultural differences among GVT members on the team performance.
- Language-related issues in GVTs.
- Information and communication technologies and GVTs.
- The multifaceted role of distance (geographical, institutional, psychic, cultural, etc) in GVTs.
- Training employees and students how to effectively work in a GVT.
- The relationship between the use of GVTs and firm performance.
- GVTs and employee satisfaction.
- Reducing shirking and cheating in GVTs
- Trends in the use of GVT around the world – who makes use of them, who does not, and why?
- The role of GVTs in global business strategy.
The deadline for manuscript submission is March 8, 2016. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with Journal of International Management’s Style Guide for Authors: http://www.elsevier.com/journals/journal-of-international-management/1075-4253/guide-for-authors and submitted through the Journal’s submission website.
To ensure that all manuscripts are correctly identified for consideration for this Special Issue, it is important that authors select ‘SI: Global Virtual Teams’ when they reach the “Article Type” step in the submission process.
Please direct any questions regarding the Special Issue to Alfredo Jimenez (email@example.com), Dirk Boehe (firstname.lastname@example.org), Vasyl Taras (email@example.com), and Dan Caprar (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Butler, C., Zander, L. 2008. The business of teaching and learning through multicultural teams. Journal of Teaching in International Business, 19(2), 192-218.
de Lisser, E. 1999. Update on Small Business: Firms with Virtual Environments Appeal to Workers. Wall Street Journal, October 5, 1999.
Duckworth, H. 2008. How TRW automotive helps global virtual teams perform at the top of their game. Global Business and Organizational Excellence, 28, 6-16.
Flammia, M., Cleary, Y., Slattery, D. M. 2010. Leadership roles, socioemotional communication strategies, and technology use of Irish and US students in virtual teams. IEEE Transactions of Professional Communication, 53(2), 89-101.
Hertel, G., S. Geister., U. Kondradt. 2005. Managing virtual teams: A review of current empirical research. Human Resource Management Review, 15, 65-95.
Jarvenpaa, S.L., Leidner, D.E. 1999 Communication and Trust in Global Virtual Teams, Organization Science 10, 791–815.
Kanawattanachai, P., Yoo, Y. 2002. Dynamic nature of trust in virtual teams. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 11(3-4), 187-213.
Liu, X., Magjuka, R.J., Lee, s. 2008. An examination of the relationship among structure, trust, and conflict management styles in virtual teams. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 21(1), 77-93.
Lovelace, K., Shapiro, D. L., Weingart, L. R. 2001. Maximizing cross-functional new Product teams’ innovativeness and constraint adherence: A conflict communications perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 44(4), 479-493.
Sutanto, J., Kankanhalli, A., Tan, B. C. Y. 2011. Deriving IT-mediated task coordination portfolios for global virtual teams. IEEE Transactions of Professional Communication, 54(2), 133-151.
Taras, V., Caprar, D., Rottig, D., Sarala, R., Zakaria, N., Zhao, F., Jimenez, A., Wankel, C., Lei, W.S., Minor, M., Bryła, P., Ordenana, X., Bode, A., Schuster, A., Vaiginiene, E., Froese, F., Bathula, H., Yajnik, N., Baldegger R., Huang V., 2013. A global classroom? Evaluating the effectiveness of global virtual collaboration as a teaching tool in management education. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12(3), 414-435.
Webster, J., Wong, W. 2008. Comparing traditional and virtual group forms: Identity, communication and trust in naturally occurring project teams. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 19(1), 41-62.
Zakaria, N. 2008. Using computer mediated communication as a tool to facilitate intercultural collaboration of global virtual teams. In M. Pagani (ed.) Encyclopedia of Multimedia Technology and Networking, (1115-1123), 2. New York: Information Science Reference.
About the Guest Editors
Dr. Jiménez is Assistant Professor at the University of Burgos (Spain). His research interests are focused on the process and the determinants of success in the internationalization strategy of firms including political risk, cultural and psychic distance and corruption. In addition, he is also working on a research line devoted to virtual team and multi-cultural team management and dynamics. He has previously published several papers in several international relevant journals, including Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of World Business, Management International Review International Business Review and European Journal of International Management. He has also been a visiting scholar in different institutions in Australia, Norway, Italy, Germany, Ecuador and Mexico.
Dr. Dirk Boehe is Senior Lecturer at the University of Adelaide Business School (Australia). His research interests focus on multinational corporations, corporate social responsibility and corporate governance in emerging markets. His scholarly articles have appeared in The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of International Management, Journal of Small Business Management, Management International Review, Journal of World Business, World Development, Business and Society, Studies in Higher Education, among others. Before joining the University of Adelaide, he held full-time positions at Brazilian business schools. Before joining academia, Dirk gained professional experience in related areas such as market research, foreign trade and international consulting projects in Colombia, England, Germany and Venezuela.
Dr. Vasyl Taras is Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (United States). He has published several papers on culture and global virtual teams in leading International Business and Psychology journals such as Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of World Business, Journal of International Management, Academy of Management Learning and Education, International Journal of Human Resource Management and Management International Review. He is also Associate Editor of the International Journal of Cross Cultural Management and Editorial Review Board Member of Journal of International Business, Journal of International Management and Management Research Review. He has recently co-edited a book about Experiential Learning and has plenty of experience as a business consultant.
Dr. Dan Caprar is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Management of the UNSW Australia Business School. His research, teaching, and consulting work are in the area of cross-cultural management, leadership, and self-development. Dan has published several papers on culture and global virtual teams in top journals including Journal of International Business Studies, Academy of Management Learning and Education, Journal of Business Ethics, Personnel Psychology, and the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. In addition, his work on the culture of MNC local employees, published in the Journal of International Business Studies, was the runner-up for the Academy of Management HR Division Scholarly Achievement Award in 2011. Dan is currently a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of International Business Studies and a Regional Associate Editor for the International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management.