Multiculturalism and leaders impact on conflict in global virtual teams
Global virtual teams have a higher chance of conflict, but making sure the teams have a leader does not seem to be an effective way of handling conflict within this team form. Read the Student blog by Maria Barstad and Asbjørn Rake.
As the world is getting progressively more globalized, the use of global virtual teams is on the rise. Research shows that multinational companies predict that the use will continue to increase in the future.
Our thesis has focused on how the multicultural aspect of these teams might affect team conflict, as well as the presence of a team leader’s effect on conflicts in multicultural global virtual teams.
Our research project was made possible thanks to Dr. Vasyl Taras, the founder of X-Culture, who provided us with large amounts of data regarding global virtual teamwork, allowing us to examine the work of around 750 global virtual teams in a period of ten weeks. We researched cultural team composition, types, and level of conflict, as well as whether the teams had some sort of leadership while working together.
Through our study, we found a positive relationship between multiculturalism within teams and conflict level. We did not, however, find any relationship between the presence of a leader and conflict, neither directly or as a moderating effect on the established relationship between team multiculturalism and conflict.
Companies utilizing multicultural global virtual team should be aware of the increased chance of conflict within this kind of team, as well as planning on how to handle this situation. Making sure the teams have a leader does not seem to be an effective way of handling conflict within this team form.