Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 21 Number 3 2004 pp. 185-222

An Empirical Investigation of Collaborative Conflict Management Style in Group Support System-Based Global Virtual Teams

Paul, Souren, Samarah, Imad M, Seetharaman, Priya, and Mykytyn Jr, Peter P

ABSTRACT: Virtual teams cut across national, organizational, and functional boundaries, often resulting in diversity in team composition. This paper presents the results of a laboratory study involving groupware-supported, culturally homogeneous, and heterogeneous virtual teams where collaborative conflict management style, a team's cultural orientation as measured by the degree of individualism-collectivism, and group diversity affect several group performance variables. Collaborative conflict management style was positively related to performance, group diversity was found to have a moderating influence between collaborative style and group performance, and collaborative style was influenced by the individualistic-collectivistic orientations. Consistent with prior research, we found that collectivistic orientations help enhance the level of collaborative conflict management style prevailing in teams. Our research also indicates that the process to motivate team members may differ depending on their orientation.

Key words and phrases: collaborative conflict management, collectivism, group support systems, individualism, perceived decision quality, perceived participation in decision-making, satisfaction with decision process, team diversity, virtual teams