Date of Award

8-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Member

Dr. Marissa L. Shuffler, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Travis Maynard

Committee Member

Dr. Eduardo Salas

Committee Member

Dr. Fred Switzer

Committee Member

Dr. Mary Ann Taylor

Abstract

As organizations continue to spread across geographic boundaries, we must understand the complex interplay between an individual's cultural values and the effects of distribution. Despite the fact that almost half of all organizations utilize virtual tools to collaborate across nations, there is a dearth of research on this topic. Without considering cultural differences in this context, issues can emerge ranging from increased social loafing to decreased trust. In this study, I argue that the lack of social cues in virtual teams renders high-/low-context cultural differences imperative and that variations therein can cause the emergence of faultlines, thereby leading to negative team outcomes. This study uses data from 135 global virtual teams engaged in a decision-making task over the course of three weeks to test these ideas. These data show that in the global virtual team context, task conflict does not significantly impact proximal outcomes like faultline emergence, nor distal outcomes such as effectiveness. However, it stresses the importance of avoiding relationship conflict in these teams, as they can both trigger faultline emergence and impact a team's viability. As such, it serves to answer the calls of multiple researchers by merging the interconnected contexts of virtuality and national culture and by moving beyond the Hofstede (1984) cultural dimensions. Additionally, it furthers faultlines research by uncovering antecedents of their emergence in this unique context. Finally, the incorporation of an exploratory machine learning component takes the first step towards showing that faultline emergence can be predicted based on individual differences, with deep-level characteristics mattering more.

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