Virtual Leadership in its socio-cultural context - The influence of the project leader’s culture in virtual project teams

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Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master Thesis
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2017
Författare
HUNDT, MARKUS
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AIM – The purpose of this research is to identify how national cultural factors influence virtual leadership in global virtual teams (GVT) that rely on communicating through information and communication technologies (ICT). METHOD – The research design was qualitative in nature and focused on a single case study with a global company, whose headquarters are in Sweden, for an intensive examination of the specific context. Theoretical saturation was reached after seven interviewees (project directors, managers, and researchers) were provided by the case company. The interviews followed a semi-structured approach. FINDINGS – Virtual leadership consists of task-, functional-, and social processes. Culture has no impact on task-related activities due to the rigid structure that the case company embraces to stimulate global collaboration. Functional- and social processes are influenced by the cultural intelligence and language comprehension of the project leader. A high level of cultural intelligence and the understanding of verbal and nonverbal language differences enables the project leader to overcome the limitations of ICT and geographical boundaries of GVT. It mitigates stereotypical attribution, subgroup dynamics, and enables individual contribution to the project. CONCLUSIONS – This research supports the notion that culture and cultural diversity in GVT impacts the effectiveness of virtual leadership depending on the individual competences of the project leader in different processes.
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Samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Civil Engineering
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