Diversity in remote teams leads to problems
The evidence presented suggests that cultural problems can cause differences but that these can be mitigated by making efforts to understand different cultures and increasing trust between team members. But overall, the research on this topic is relatively old and may be outdated by contemporary standards where many organisations make efforts to ensure an inclusive culture for a diverse range of employees. More research is needed on this topic.
We are still looking for more scientific and professional evidence on this. Do you know any studies on this topic? We’d love it if you could share them with us!
Various studies suggest that cultural and language differences among remote team members can negatively affect remote team effectiveness48 by leading to coordination and communication difficulties36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 49. Other researchers suggest that even subtle difference between people of the same country but from different regions can result in problems38.
On the other hand, research also shows that trust can reduce the negative effects of cultural differences on remote team performance50. Other researchers state that the negative impacts of cultural differences can also be reduced by active efforts made by team members to understand the different cultures38, 40.
36Kayworth, T., & Leidner, D. (2000) The global virtual manager: a prescription for success. *European Management Journal, 18*(2), 183–194. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0263-2373(99)00090-0
37Maznevski, M. L., & Chudoba, K. M. (2000) Bridging space over time: Global virtual team dynamics and effectiveness. *Organization Science, 11*(5), 473–492. https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.11.5.473.15200
38Robey, D., Khoo, H. M. & Powers, C. (2000) Situated learning in cross-functional virtual teams. *Technical Communication, 47*(1), 51–66. https://doi.org/10.1109/47.826416
39Van Ryssen, S., & Godar, S. H. (2000) Going international without going international: multinational virtual teams. *Journal of International Management, 6*(1), 49–60. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1075-4253(00)00019-3
40Sarker, S., & Sahay, S. (2002) Information systems development by US-Norwegian virtual teams: implications of time and space. *Proceedings of the 35th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 10*. https://doi.org/10.1109/HICSS.2002.993875
48Au, Y. & Marks, A. (2012) Virtual teams are literally and metaphorically invisible: Forging identity in culturally diverse virtual teams. *Employee Relations, 34*(3), 271–287. https://doi.org/10.1108/01425451211217707
49Johansson, C., Dittrich, Y., & Juustila, A. (1999) Software engineering across boundaries: student project in distributed collaboration. *IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 42*(4), 286–296. https://doi.org/10.1109/47.807967
50Garrison, G., Wakefield, R., Xu, X., & Kim, S. (2010) Globally distributed teams: the effect of diversity on trust, cohesion and individual performance. *The Data Base for Advances in Information Systems, 41*(3), 27–48. https://doi.org/10.1145/1851175.1851178