Bridging cultural diversity through e-mail

Shachaf, Pnina Bridging cultural diversity through e-mail. Journal of Global Information Technology Management, 2005, vol. 8, n. 2, pp. 46-60. [Journal article (Paginated)]


Download (90kB) | Preview

English abstract

The implementation of global virtual teams presents modern organizations with significant challenges, such as a multicultural workforce and the use of information and communication technology. Cultural diversity increases teamwork complexity and may weaken a team's effectiveness and jeopardize its viability. Selection and implementation of appropriate information technology may facilitate group processes and overcome potential barriers created by team heterogeneity. This study illustrates how e-mail mitigates intercultural miscommunication. Interviews with 41 global virtual team members in nine countries, who were employed by a multinational corporation, were transcribed and analyzed. The use of e-mail improves language accuracy, mitigates intercultural miscommunication resulting from verbal differences among team members, and eliminates nonverbal differences. Only future studies can determine the extent of this mitigation.

Item type: Journal article (Paginated)
Keywords: global virtual teams, e-mail, email, intercultural communication
Subjects: F. Management. > FA. Co-operation.
L. Information technology and library technology > LA. Telecommunications.
Depositing user: Pnina Shachaf
Date deposited: 09 Dec 2007
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:10


Adler, N. J. International dimensions of organizational behavior (3rd ed.). Boston: PWS-Kent, 1997.

Dafoulas, G., & Macaulay, L. "Investigating cultural differences in virtual software teams," The ElectronicJournal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 7(4), 1-14, 2001.

Daft, R. L., & Lengel, R. H. "Organizational information requirements, media richness and structural design,"Management Science, 32, 554-572, 1986.

Daily, B. F., & Steiner, R. L. "The influence of group decision support systems on contribution andcommitment levels in multicultural and culturally homogeneous decision-making groups," Computers in Human Behavior, 14(1), 147-162, 1998.

Daily, B., Whatley, A., Ash, S. R., & Steiner, R. L. "The effects of a group decision support system on culturally diverse and culturally homogeneous group decision making," Information & Management, 30, 281-289, 1996.

Dennis, A. R,, & Valacich, J. S. "Rethinking media richness: Towards a theory of media synchronicity," Proceedings of the 32nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 1999.

DeSanctis, G., Wright, M., & Jung, L. "Building a global learning communication," Communications of the ACM, 44(12), 80-82, 2001.

Dube, L., & Pare, G. "Global virtual teams," Communications of the ACM, 44(12), 71-73, 2001.

Earley, P. C., & Mosakowski, E. "Creating hybrid team cultures: An empirical test of transnational team functioning," Academy of Management Journal, 43(1), 26-49, 2000.

Evaristo, R. "The management of distributed projects across cultures," Journal of Global Information Systems, 17(4), 58-70, 2003.

Frank, J., & Toland, J. "E-mail as a learning technology in the South Pacific: An evaluation," Education Technology & Society, 5(3), 40-53, 2002.

Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago: Aldine, 1967.

Gudykunst, W. B., & Ting-Toomey, S. Culture and interpersonal communication. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1988.

Hollingshead, A. B., McGrath, J. E., & O'Connor, M. "Group task performance and communication technology: A longitudinal study of computer-mediated versus face-to-face work groups," Small Group Research, 24, 307-324, 1993.

Jackson, T.W., Dawson, R., & Darren, W. "Understanding e-mail interaction increases organizational productivity," Communications of the ACM, 46(8), 80-84, 2003.

Jarvenpaa, S. L., & Leidner, D. E. "Communication and trust in global virtual teams," Organization Science,10, 791-815, 1999.

Kayworth, T. R., & Leidner, D. E. "Leadership effectiveness in global virtual teams," Journal of Management Information Systems, 18(3), 7-40, 2001.

Kirkman, B. L., Rosen, B., Gibson, C. B., Tesluk, P. E., & McPherson, S. O. "Five challenges to virtual team success: Lessons from Sabre, Inc.," The Academy of Management Executives, 16(3), 67-69, 2002.

Klimoski, R., & Mohammed, S. "Team mental model: Construct or metaphor?," Journal of Management, 20,403-437, 1994.

Lee, A. "Electronic mail as a medium for rich communication: An empirical investigation using hermeneuticinterpretation," MIS Quarterly, 18(2), 145-157, 1994.

Lee, O. "Cultural differences in e-mail use of virtual teams: A critical social theory perspective. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 5(3), 227-232, 2002.

Lipnack, J., & Stamps, J. Virtual teams: Reaching across space, time and organizations with technology. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997.

Markus, L. Electronic mail as the medium for managerial choice. Organization Science, 5, 502-527, 1994.

Massey, A. P., Hung, C. Y., Montoya-Weiss, M., & Ramesh, V. "When culture and style aren't about clothes: Perceptions of task-technology "fit" in GVTs," In Proceedings of the 2001 International ACM SIGGROUP Conference on Supporting Group Work (pp. 207-213), 2001.

Maznevski, M.L., Chudoba, K. M. Bridging space over time: Global virtual team dynamics and effectiveness. Organization Science, 11, 473-492, 2000.

McLeod, P. L., & Lobel, S.A. "The effects of ethnic diversity on idea generation in small groups," In Academy of Management Annual Meeting Best Papers Proceedings (pp. 227-231), 1992.

Miles, M. B., & Huberman, M. A. Qualitative analysis: An expanded sourcebook (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1994.

Oetzel, J.G. "Self-constructs, communication processes, and group outcomes in homogeneous and heterogeneous groups," Small Group Research, 32(1), 19-54, 2001.

Pauleen, D. J. "Lessons learned crossing boundaries in an ICT-supported distributed team," Journal of Global Information Management, 11(4), 1-19, 2003.

Schmitz, J., & FuIk, J. "Organizational colleagues, media richness, and electronic mail," Communication Research, 75,487-523, 1991.

Sproull, L., & Keisler, S. "Reducing social context cues: Electronic mail in organizational communication," Management Science, 32, 1492-1513, 1986.

Suchan, J., & Hayzak, G. "The communication characteristics of virtual teams: A case study.," IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 44(3), 174-186, 2001.

Watson, W. E., Kumar, K., & Michaelson, L. K. "Cultural diversity's impact on interaction process and performance: Comparing homogeneous and diverse task groups," Academy of Management Journal, 36,590-602, 1993.

Watson-Manheim, M. B., & Belanger, F. "Exploring communication-based work processes in virtual work environments," Proceedings of the 35th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2002.


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item