Title: Understanding culture-specific leadership relationship in a multi-cultural virtual project team (MVPT): a case study

Authors: Zhangying He; Tojo Thatchenkery

Addresses: Institute for Advanced Studies, Colorado Technical University, 4435 N. Chestnut Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80907, USA. ' School of Public Policy, George Mason University, 3351 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22201, USA

Abstract: In the 21st century business environment, successful international project management requires special attention to team leaders| leadership styles from different culture backgrounds. This case study explores an intergroup conflict that occurred during a global product development project within an international company which utilised a virtual team. The virtual team consisted of team members with different cross-functional roles, from teams and offices in the People|s Republic of China, the USA, and the UK. The conflict was centred on the management of the project as well as leadership style differences in approaching resource allocation among headquarters, local offices, and external partners. This case study demonstrates that when conflict happens in a multi-cultural virtual project team (MVPT), a successful resolution is dependent on the leadership styles of team leaders. The study distinctly reveals the effect of leadership for reshaping the culture of virtual teams and how doing so will impact team performance for the duration of the project.

Keywords: leadership styles; virtual teams; conflict management; cultural intelligence; cultures; project teams; multi-cultural teams; business environments; international projects; project management; team leaders; cultural backgrounds; intergroup conflicts; global projects; product development; international companies; multinational corporations; MNCs; MVPT; cross-functional roles; China; United States; USA; UK; United Kingdom; leadership differences; resource allocation; headquarters; local offices; external partners; successful resolutions; team performance; web based teams; online teams; internet; world wide web; telecommunications; business strategies; globalisation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBG.2011.042751

International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 2011 Vol.7 No.4, pp.446 - 458

Available online: 03 Oct 2011 *

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