When Three Is Better than Two: How Culture Can Bridge Collaboration in Globally Distributed Teams
Globally distributed teams (GDTs) have become essential tools for organisations to expand, quickly adapt and restructure to remain competitive in the current economic climate. The theoretical literature has been discussing the advantages, but also the barriers, limitations and challenges in GDTs’ internal practices and processes. However, scholars have not yet sufficiently examined empirically the implications of cultural differences when teams operate in virtual contexts. To address this gap, this study aims to explore how different cultures interact and stimulate work collaboration in GDTs. Following the acquisition and merger of Volvo and Renault, we conducted a qualitative study of the collaborative work of GDTs located in Brazil, Sweden and France during the creation of Volvo Group’s VM truck. Our results highlight that the interaction of the three involved national cultures led to better collaboration between members of a GDT. Furthermore, as a managerial contribution, this study suggests that culture can be understood as an agent of transformation to facilitate or improve the collaboration process.
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