Article

Preparing computing students for culturally diverse e‐mediated IT projects

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

In this paper we present an account of an undergraduate team-based assignment designed to facilitate, exhibit and record team-working skills in an e-mediated environment. By linking the student feedback received to Hofstede’s classic model of cultural dimensions we aim to show the assignment’s suitability in revealing the student’s multi-cultural context. In addition to anecdotal evidence we also present a quantitative analysis that shows that the desired learning outcomes have been met. In a further discussion we show how the qualitative data collected can be used to quantitatively determine a cultural fingerprint of the groups that is useful to predict the team’s suitability for a given task in a real-world project.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... The marks were based on the students evaluation of those meetings. For more details (without the Second Life context) please see ( Conrad et al., 2006) where the as- signment and learning outcomes are presented and the relevance to cultural profiles of teams is discussed. ...
Article
Full-text available
Some of the problems that multi-cultural virtual teams experience include: time delays in replies, lack of synergy among cross-cultural team members, communications breakdowns, unresolved conflicts among members, limited hours allowed to be worked and different holidays. This paper reviews major challenges faced by multi-cultural virtual teams and describes some managerial implications. Although many previous studies have focused in various factors such as telecommuting issues, there are few studies that investigate the issues in multi-cultural virtual teams. The main objective of this research-in-progress paper is to empirically investigate multi-cultural challenges in virtual teams and outline the proposed research.
Article
Full-text available
This paper reports the results of a study which examined the use of the Internet as the means by which international business students who were engaged in a collaborative learning project could conduct their interactions at distances of many thousands of miles. The students were surveyed after completion of the project. The difficulties, which they experienced when using this medium of communication, are reported, as are the positive aspects, which were identified. The survey also identified key areas of suggested improvement for future Internet based collaborative projects. The paper discusses the results of the study and suggests methods by which Internet based teaching can be improved, as well as areas for further research.
Article
Full-text available
Global virtual teams are internationally distributed groups of people with an organizational mandate to make or implement decisions with international components and implications. They are typically assigned tasks that are strategically important and highly complex. They rarely meet in person, conducting almost all of their interaction and decision making using communications technology. Although they play an increasingly important role in multinational organizations, little systematic is known about their dynamics or effectiveness. This study built a grounded theory of global virtual team processes and performance over time. We built a template based on Adaptive Structuration Theory (DeSanctis and Poole 1994) to guide our research, and we conducted a case study, observing three global virtual teams over a period of 21 months. Data were gathered using multiple methods, and qualitative methods were used to analyze them and generate a theory of global virtual team dynamics and effectiveness. First, we propose that effective global virtual team interaction comprises a series of communication incidents, each configured by aspects of the team's structural and process elements. Effective outcomes were associated with a fit among an interaction incident's form, decision process, and complexity. Second, effective global virtual teams sequence these incidents to generate a deep rhythm of regular face-to-face incidents interspersed with less intensive, shorter incidents using various media. These two insights are discussed with respect to other literature and are elaborated upon in several propositions. Implications for research and practice are also outlined.
Article
Computer self-efficacy is the belief a person has in his or her ability to accomplish certain computer tasks. This belief is due in part to an individual's past experiences and other characteristics. This paper reports results of a survey measuring the relationship between computer self-efficacy and various personal characteristics of beginning information systems students. Results supported hypotheses stating that students expecting higher course grades would express greater computer self-efficacy than those expecting lower course grades, that students with prior computer experience would express greater computer self-efficacy than those with lesser or no prior experience. Results also indicated the more "internal" locus of control a student has the greater the reported computer self-efficacy would be, and the greater the need for problem solving ("need for cognition"), the greater the reported computer self-efficacy would be. Results did not support three hypotheses, which are discussed. Instructional implications are provided.
Article
Pilots from the United States, the Philippines, and Taiwan as well as flight attendants from the United States, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and Taiwan completed a 20-item attitudinal questionnaire about group processes on the flight deck. A three-dimensional INDSCAL analysis revealed one dimension, used primarily by the eight Asian groups, which reflected high power distance and collectivism. The second dimension, reflecting individualism and moderate power distance, was used by the U.S. flight attendants. The third dimension, individualism and low power distance, was used almost exclusively by the U.S. pilots. The attitudinal similarity among the eight Asian groups was attributed in part to the questionnaire's monocultural bias. A new study is outlined, and training recommendations are offered.
Article
Pilots from the United States, the Philippines, and Taiwan as well as flight attendants from the United States, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and Taiwan completed a 20-item attitudinal questionnaire about group processes on the flight deck. A three-dimensional INDSCAL analysis revealed one dimension, used primarily by the eight Asian groups, which reflected high power distance and collectivism. The second dimension, reflecting individualism and moderate power distance, was used by the U.S. flight attendants. The third dimension, individualism and low power distance, was used almost exclusively by the U.S. pilots. The attitudinal similarity among the eight Asian groups was attributed in part to the questionnaire's monocultural bias. A new study is outlined, and training recommendations are offered.
Article
Research by Herman A. Witkin reports that one aspect of cognitive style, namely field dependence/field independence, is affected significantly by socialization and child-rearing practices. The present cross-cultural project, using the Children's Embedded Figures Test, examined the cognitive style of 100 African American and 100 Black South African males and females in grades 4 and 5. Hierarchical loglinear models were utilized to uncover the complex relationships between gender (males and females), culture (African Americans and Black South Africans) and learning style (field dependence and field independence). The results were significant and suggest that African Americans are more likely to be using a learning style characterized by field independence and Black South Africans are more likely to be using a learning style characterized by field dependence. No differences were found relative to gender for either group or for the two groups combined. Although no formal cross-cultural research has previously been done relative to cognitive style in the context ofthese two groups, the findings are consistent with the overall theoretical and historical research relative to field dependence and field independence.
Article
This case study of a multinational virtual team project tells how students have collaborated to write a paper in country dyads. Spanning our experience over five semesters, the paper shows how students can participate in an actual cross-cultural learning alliance within the normal curriculum. In this project, students are partnered with students from another country and jointly analyze the marketing of a product in the two countries. Communicating by E-mail and the Web, they work together in virtual teams to complete this task. Analyzing the benefits—and the problems—such collaborative efforts present for our students, we offer suggestions for professors who might like to design and administer a similar project. We find that the effectiveness of such projects is dependent on the professor/instructor's ability to help students overcome barriers to successful intercultural communications, not on mastery of technology.
Article
Sixty-seven searchers carried out 275 searches, both with and without postings information, of a LISA CDROM. This provided an opportunity to investigate the effect of cognitive styles on searching behaviour which has substantial implications both for the teaching of searching and for search system design. Subjects were tested for field-dependence/ field-independence and for Comprehension/Operation/ Versatile learning styles. Statistically significant differences in both searching behaviour and search outcomes were obtained by those with different learning styles, with and without postings information. These results are presented and implications for training are discussed.
Article
Global virtual teams have emerged in response to the growing demands placed upon organizations to rapidly coordinate individuals located in geographically dispersed locations. Virtual teams promise to improve cycle time, reduce travel costs, and reduce redundancies across organizational units. Moreover, the use of global virtual teams provides an opportunity to coordinate complex business tasks across a potentially far-flung confederation of organizations. However, virtual teams are beset with a range of challenges inherent to their dispersed, and often impersonal, nature. While all teamwork involves challenges to be managed, the tools at the disposal of virtual teams limits the options they have for addressing the difficulties of coordination. This field-based research study was undertaken to assess the core issues and challenges faced by a group of twelve culturally diverse global virtual teams with members from Europe, Mexico, and the United States. Our findings suggest that global virtual teams face significant challenges in four areas: communication, culture, technology, and project management (leadership). Drawing from the members' assessments of their virtual team experiences, each area of challenge is discussed in detail. This is followed by a set of managerial prescriptions that outline specific critical success factors useful for the implementation of virtual teams.
Article
This case study of a multinational virtual team project tells how students have collaborated to write a paper in country dyads. Spanning our experience over five semesters, the paper shows how students can participate in an actual cross-cultural learning alliance within the normal curriculum. In this project, students are partnered with students from another country and jointly analyze the marketing of a product in the two countries. Communicating by E-mail and the Web, they work together in virtual teams to complete this task. Analyzing the benefits—and the problems—such collaborative efforts present for our students, we offer suggestions for professors who might like to design and administer a similar project. We find that the effectiveness of such projects is dependent on the professor/instructor's ability to help students overcome barriers to successful intercultural communications, not on mastery of technology.
Article
In this paper we present a process model for developing usable cross-cultural websites. Compatible with ISO 13407, the process model documents an abstraction of the design process focusing on cultural issues in development. It provides a framework in which a variety of user-based and expert-based techniques for analysis and design are placed within the life-cycle of website development. In developing the model, we relate practical approaches to design with theories and models of culture and discuss the relevance of such theories to the practical design process. In particular we focus on four key concerns: how an audit of local website attractors can inform the design process; the concept of a cultural fingerprint to contrast websites with the cultural needs of local users; the problems associated with user evaluation; and cross-cultural team development. We then show their relation to our process model. We conclude by summarising our contribution to date within the field.
Conference Paper
Telework is a phenomenon of growing international importance. U.S.-based studies have raised a concern that telework may increase workers’ psychological distance from the organization and their Workgroup. This study investigates this proposition. It also explore possible mediating effects of technology infrastructure and national culture on the psychological distancing of the workforce as a result of telework. Survey respondents for this study were drawn from four countries: the U.S., Kenya, U.A.E, and India. Dimensions of psychological distance studied were interdependence, cohesiveness, trust, and involvement. Contrary to the expectations formulated in this paper, physical distance induced by telework was not found to contribute to perceived psychological distance. Technological infrastructure was found to have a negative impact on cohesiveness. Cultural uncertainty avoidance was found to result in lower interdependence and trust levels. High power-distance resulted in lower interdependence levels, and high individualism was found to result in lower cohesiveness levels among teleworkers. Thus, culture and technology infrastructure.
Conference Paper
Global Virtual Teams (GVT) typically includes members from culturally different countries, who differ in the views of their relation to authority, time, work ethics, and perception of communication technologies. These cultural differences play an important role in shaping both an individual member’s and a team’s preference of a particular media to be used for communication in a GVT environment. Media choice affects the effectiveness of communication, trust, knowledge flow and overall team effectiveness. Media choice in GVTs is a moving target (contrary to the expectations of Media Richness Theory which sees media choice as static), with the team opting for different communication technologies during different phases of the project. This article focuses on providing a theoretical understanding of the role of cultural norms of the various members of the GVT in the choice and use of media.
Article
The effects of reward or reinforcement on preceding behavior depend in part on whether the person perceives the reward as contingent on his own behavior or independent of it. Acquisition and performance differ in situations perceived as determined by skill versus chance. Persons may also differ in generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. This report summarizes several experiments which define group differences in behavior when Ss perceive reinforcement as contingent on their behavior versus chance or experimenter control. The report also describes the development of tests of individual differences in a generalized belief in internal-external control and provides reliability, discriminant validity and normative data for 1 test, along with a description of the results of several studies of construct validity.
Article
Geographically distributed software development projects have been made possible by rapid developments primarily within the data communication area. A number of companies recognize that distributed collaboration has great potential for the near future. The article describes the empirical study of a cooperative student project located at two different geographical sites. The project was carried out at two universities: one in Sweden and one in Finland. The initial goals were to give the students the opportunity to learn about the practical aspects of cooperation between two geographically separate institutions and to study specific problems anticipated by the teachers with regard to communication, coordination, language, culture, requirements' handling, testing, and bug fixing. The article focuses on communication and coordination within the cooperative project, as these were identified as the most significant problem areas. We also thought that these areas were the most interesting and the ones most likely to lead to improvements. The article not only describes our findings but also gives hints about what to think about when running similar projects, both with respect to project related issues and teaching issues
Major Challenges in Multi-Cultural Virtual Teams University of Texas-Pan American, USA. Accessible on-line from: http://www.sbaer.uca
  • R Vinaja
Vinaja, R., 2003. Major Challenges in Multi-Cultural Virtual Teams. University of Texas-Pan American, USA. Accessible on-line from: http://www.sbaer.uca.edu/research/swdsi/2003/Papers/068.pdf.
Virtual Teams in the Classroom: a Case Study
  • N E Landrum
  • L D Paris
Landrum, N. E., Paris L. D., 2000. Virtual Teams in the Classroom: a Case Study. Morehead State University, New Mexico State University, USA. Accessible on-line from: http://cbae.nmsu.edu/mgt/handout/nl/teams/.
Effect of Cultural Protocols on Media Choice in Global Virtual Teams. The University of Texas at San Antonio, USA. Accessible on-line from
  • S Ramachandran
Ramachandran, S., 2004. Effect of Cultural Protocols on Media Choice in Global Virtual Teams. The University of Texas at San Antonio, USA. Accessible on-line from: http://tigger.uic.edu/~evaristo/p9_2004.pdf.
A Process Model for developing Usable cross-cultural websites. Interacting with Computers: Special Edition – Global human-computer systems cultural determinants of usability
  • A Smith
  • T French
  • L Dunckley
  • S Minocha
  • Y Chang
Smith, A., French, T., Dunckley, L., Minocha, S., Chang, Y., 2004. A Process Model for developing Usable cross-cultural websites. Interacting with Computers: Special Edition – Global human-computer systems cultural determinants of usability,Vol. 16 (1) Feb 2004, 63-91.