Establishing Effective Global Virtual Student Teams

Robert Davison, Niki Panteli, Andrew Hardin, Mark Fuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Research problem: In the educational arena, virtual teams made up of students who are located in more than one country are becoming increasingly commonplace. However, studies of the technological, social, and organizational factors that contribute to the success of these global virtual student teams (GVSTs) have yet to be systematically identified and discussed. In this paper, we seek to address this gap in our knowledge, drawing on several years of experience with GVSTs and addressing the following research question: How can university instructors establish effective GVST projects? Situating the case: The cases that we explore in this paper involve GVSTs with team members located variously in Hong Kong (all four cases), the USA (two cases), the UK (one case), and Singapore (one case). Students are a mix of undergraduate and graduate. How the case was studied: Our pedagogical purpose for running the GVST projects was to expose students to international communication and negotiation practices. The case designs involved situations where the student team members had to work collaboratively on a variety of tasks. We collected observational data and survey data, and required the team members to submit individual reflective reports about their learning experiences. About the case: We examine cultural differences among teams. We also note how issues of time and space vary across these teams, and consider how sufficient trust may be developed between team members to ensure productive work. Conclusion: From the four cases, we elicit 10 pertinent operational factors that should be of value to educators planning GVST projects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-329
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
Issue number3
Early online date29 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017

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