Factors of social influence in virtual multicultural teams
1 / 14

Factors of Social Influence in Virtual Multicultural Teams - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Factors of Social Influence in Virtual Multicultural Teams. Iris Fischlmayr, Assistant professor Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria iris.fischlmayr@jku.at Satu Lähteenmäki, Professor Turku School of Economics, Turku, Finland satu.lahteenmaki@tse.fi Eeli Saarinen, Researcher

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Factors of Social Influence in Virtual Multicultural Teams' - kenyon-mccarty

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
Factors of social influence in virtual multicultural teams

Factors of Social Influence in Virtual Multicultural Teams

Iris Fischlmayr, Assistant professor

Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria


Satu Lähteenmäki, Professor

Turku School of Economics, Turku, Finland


Eeli Saarinen, Researcher

Turku School of Economics, Turku, Finland


Timo Lainema, Professor (acting)

Turku School of Economics, Turku, Finland


IAREP/SABE 2008 – Conference

2008, Sept. 3rd – 6th, Rome

Why this topic

  • Virtual Teams are a common and increasing form of collaboration in our modern world

  • A lot of research has been done on social influence in traditional teams – but are the findings also applicable to virtual ones?

  • There is already some research on social influences on virtual teams but still little on group processes

  • Research on VTs is focused to trust, conflict

    management and inter-personal processes – only little on social integration and group relations

Virtual team adapted from lipnack snell 2000
VIRTUAL TEAM (adapted from Lipnack & Snell, 2000)

  • = a group of knowledge workers who are

  • geographically and/or organizationally,

  • but many times also temporally dispersed and brought together

  • across time and space by the help of ICT

  • to work together on important tasks

  • while physically remaining apart.

  • All the networking (i.e. communicating, gathering and sharing information, collaborating and making decisions) primarily takes place without face-to-face contact of the team members

Results related to group processes in virtual teams vts are conflicting
Results related to Group Processes in Virtual Teams (VTs) are conflicting

  • Commitment and feeling of belongingness in VTs lower than in traditional teams (~ sign of lower group cohesion)


  • VTs reach high quality decisions

    • due to being more creative

    • and having more ideas and solutions

  • VTs are more satisfied with their outcome

Suggested explanations refer to the different nature of vts
Suggested explanations refer to the are conflictingdifferent nature of VTs

  • Higher and more open-minded participation in the communication process

  • Less process losses in the communication process due to computer-mediated communication

  • No symbols of power => more equal possibilities to


  • Task-focus rather than internal relations

  • Tendency to take higher risks due to lower commitment

  • Lack of social loafing due to lack of social pressure

  • Experts with willingness for e-collaboration and independence

Social influence
Social Influence are conflicting

… process of changing the thinking and behavior of other individuals


- Do members of one team tend to have similar attitudes and behavior?

- How do single persons succeed in convincing a whole group?

- Why are individuals who do not behave according to group norms rejected by their team mates?

Main factors of social influence
Main Factors of Social Influence are conflicting

  • Normalization: change of individual behavior that leads to change of others´ behavior => creates norms

  • Majority Influence / Conformity: team members behave according to norms and rules in order not to break ranks. Conformity is integration in a group, different opinion means being an outsider

  • Minority Influence: single persons influence a group by constantly emphasizing a different opinion than the others

  • Groupthink: conformity and group cohesion end up in consentaneity (“Groupthink”)

Research questions
RESEARCH QUESTIONS are conflicting

  • Can better performance of VTs be explained by social influence?

  • Are the processes of social influence identified in traditional teams applicable to virtual teams?

  • What role do normalization, majority/minority influence, conformity and groupthink play on differences noticed in virtual team performance?

Data gathering
Data Gathering are conflicting

  • Experimental design

  • Virtual and face-to-face teams

  • Business students in Linz and Turku

  • Business simulation game (RealGame™)

  • Multicultural composition

  • Negotiation and decision making

  • CEOs – subcontractors – producers

  • Communication via Skype, e-mail, face-to-face if possible

  • RealGame™- Training session - RealGame™

  • Data

  • Observation during the game

  • Diary kept during the game

  • Reflective essays written after the game

Reflective essays and analysis
Reflective Essays and Analysis are conflicting

  • Reflective Essays

  • Reflexion about experiences, learnings, critical incidents

  • Issues covered, among others, group processes, decision making, power distribution, group cohesion

  • 3-5 pages

  • Approx. 60 teams and more than 400 essays

  • Grounded theorymethod

  • Line-by-line coding of reflective essays

  • Meanings, explanations, situational and contextual factors

  • Focus on critical incidents

  • => Finding out more about social factors influencing team work “directly in the field”

First results 1
First Results (1) are conflicting

Subgroups of VT‘s (i.e. on-site teams sitting at one location, possibilty of making face-to-face contact)

  • Striving for establishment of norms (structuring of tasks) – but norms were not valid in main team

  • Tried to conform in decision making and power- related questions

  • Majority influence and striving for conformity (e.g. single opinions have been adapted during the process, no nomination of a leader)

  • Influenced by virtual working environment as by adopting working norms from teams working on a virtual basis

First results 2
First Results (2) are conflicting

  • Virtual Teams

  • Avoiding conflict as main aim => normalization as a consequence

  • More tolerance for different opinions and working habits

  • Strive for conformity (external adaptation – internalization?)

  • Refrained themselves from steep opinions in order to enhance team cohesion

  • Divided groupthink (no „we“ and „us“ for talking about team but „we“ and „they“, divided by geographical location)

  • Lower group cohesion than subgroups due to limited and irregular (resp. asynchronous) contact

Discussion 1
Discussion are conflicting (1)

  • High group cohesion among subteams, low (but still existing) cohesion in virtual team

  • No social loafing

  • Groupthink above all observable in subgroups, not in virtual teams

  • Majority or minority influence did not occur

  • Normalization and strive for conformity could be stated

Conclusion are conflicting

  • High tolerance for diversity / status differences in VTs

    (national culture, organizational culture, language) BUT

    still striving for conformity (at least at the surface)

    • Do status differences vanish in VTs?

  • Social influence is occuring in a weakened form only

    • Do VTs have less process losses and thus, better performance?