We present a study of cross-cultural virtual teams supported by two computer-mediated communication technologies (electronic mail and the World-Wide Web). Our primary focus is to identify how cultural differences affect users' task and technology perceptions. Dyads made up of members from the United States and Mexico created a five-page strategic plan for the implementation of a joint MBA international business capstone course that establishes strong international bonds between the students of both institutions. Team members generated ideas, made decisions, and created a common strategic course through Email-based correspondence. They also had access to a project coordination guide, which was a website with project guidelines, timelines, updates, and the postings of all participants and information on their respective institutions and host cities. Analysis of pretest questionnaires revealed strong similarities between the two cultural groups with respect to professional background and experience with relevant technologies, and differences in language facility with Spanish and English. Analysis of posttest data showed marked differences in communication characteristics (frequency and length of message) and perceptions of process, outcome and opinions of suitability of the technologies to support the task. Results, consistent with earlier studies, show the limited power of popular theoretical characterizations of national culture to predict culture-based differences in information technology use and perceptions. Alternative, relevant culture-based factors are discussed.
Potter, Richard E. and Balthazard, Pierre A.
"Cross-cultural issues in virtual team support: Communication characteristics and task/technology perceptions from Mexican and U.S. team members,"
Journal of International Information Management: Vol. 9
, Article 1.
Available at: http://scholarworks.lib.csusb.edu/jiim/vol9/iss2/1