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Communication and Trust in Global Virtual Teams

Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa and Dorothy E. Leidner
Organization Science
Vol. 10, No. 6, Special Issue: Communication Processes for Virtual Organizations (Nov. - Dec., 1999), pp. 791-815
Published by: INFORMS
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2640242
Page Count: 25
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Communication and Trust in Global Virtual Teams
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Abstract

This paper explores the challenges of creating and maintaining trust in a global virtual team whose members transcend time, space, and culture. The challenges are highlighted by integrating recent literature on work teams, computer-mediated communication groups, cross-cultural communication, and interpersonal and organizational trust. To explore these challenges empirically, we report on a series of descriptive case studies on global virtual teams whose members were separated by location and culture, were challenged by a common collaborative project, and for whom the only economically and practically viable communication medium was asynchronous and synchronous computer-mediated communication. The results suggest that global virtual teams may experience a form of "swift" trust, but such trust appears to be very fragile and temporal. The study raises a number of issues to be explored and debated by future research. Pragmatically, the study describes communication behaviors that might facilitate trust in global virtual teams.

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