The Effects of Culture on Virtual Teams


This paper provides an analysis of how the dimensions of culture affect virtual teams within the realm of marketing at a high-technology company. The question posed by the research is, “How does culture affect virtual teams?” The assumption is that the described dimensions of culture affect virtual teams such that they must shift how we view culture and diversity in business.

The research for the paper involved a 20-question Web survey that went to 56 global marketing employees, and a review of literature on culture, corporate culture and diversity in global business and virtual teams. The first portion of the on-line Web survey covered demographics such as gender, age, and location. The second part collected opinions about statements relating to how culture affects virtual teams. The author has seven years experience in hi-tech marketing, has lived and worked in four countries, and has been interacting in global virtual teams since 1988.

The paper is relevant to the field of business and communication, where culture is not always considered in strategic teaming or planning. Virtual teams are growing in multinational businesses. How culture affects virtual teams is poorly understood. The research is predominantly qualitative and descriptive and targets a specific group of marketing employees. This is an important time for organizations to understand how the cultural dynamic plays into the new way of teaming to better understand globalization in the business context.

The conclusions drawn from this research are that businesses must take a look at how they are using virtual teams in the global context -- in particular where cultures (and therefore people) are concerned. This information, when observed and understood -- can transform the way we view global business today. Our current viewpoint will be altered and a new point of view will emerge that will take business to a new level. This is important to business ---the new viewpoint may forward business strategies – solving the business theory stagnation of the 90s and desire for change of business practice in the 21st century.


International and Intercultural Communication | Organizational Behavior and Theory

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