Managing Communication and Conflict in Sino-German Global Virtual Teams - A Social Media Enhanced Team Working Methodology and Action Case Study

UoM administered thesis: Doctor of Business Administration

  • Authors:
  • Alexander Jurack

Abstract

A study series of three sequential phases was conducted. The first phase described the development of the Communication Technology Index (CTI). The CTI is a tool to measure how modern the communication in a team is. A survey questionnaire was developed that collects the necessary data for the CTI. Reliability and validity were successfully tested during an online survey test run (n=108). The second phase investigated the correlation between communication and conflict of Sino-German Global Virtual Teams (GVTs). An exploratory quantitative online survey was conducted in German companies doing business in Greater China. A focus was given to the analysis of modern web 2.0 communication technologies and their potential influence on conflict. As expected, GVTs experience more cross-cultural conflicts than collocated teams. However, there was no statistically significant difference in the amount of conflict between GVTs 1.0 and GVTs 2.0. Surprisingly, video calls correlated with a higher amount of task conflicts and cross-cultural conflicts. Furthermore, social media correlated with a lower amount of cross-cultural conflicts. The third phase used an Action Case approach to transform a GVT 1.0 into a GVT 2.0 by successfully implementing video call and social media communication. Video call recordings, communication logs, interviews and social media analytics were used to gain a deep understanding about the correlation between conflict and communication technology. Social media communication is likely to mitigate cross-cultural conflicts and video call communication is likely to contribute to task conflict and cross-cultural conflicts in Sino-German GVTs. The mitigating effects of social media communication on conflicts are believed to be caused by the spontaneous and informal nature of social media. Video call communication is likely to contribute to task conflict and cross-cultural conflicts. A confrontation between a German direct approach to conflict and a Chinese indirect approach to conflict might be the reason why this synchronous media enhances the amount of conflict in Sino-German GVTs.

Details

Original languageEnglish
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Supervisors/Advisors
Award date31 Dec 2020