Linguistic tremours : Language diversity as a fault line in intercultural virtual teams. / Drabble, David.

THE 10th MEDITERRANEAN CONFERENCE ON INFORMATION SYSTEMS, MCIS 2016, PAPHOS, CYPRUS, SEPTEMBER 4-6, 2016. UNIVERSITY OF NICOSIA, P.O.Box 24005, 1700 ΛΕΥΚΩΣΙΑ, 2016.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Forthcoming

Abstract

This research in progress paper presents a study that aims to understand how language affects intercultural virtual collaborations. Technologically enabled alliances between people of diverse backgrounds are growing at pace but remain an understudied and underconceptualised area within virtual team and diversity management research. This research aims to build upon Hinds et al (2014) study to explore the development of trust types in multi-lingual teams, how language is a potential fissure can become activated, and how language subgroups can develop and affect organisational tasks.

This paper uses the theoretical lens of fault lines in online groups, the various potential dividers that can produce conflict and splits in groups. Language may be amongst the strongest of these fault line, with some studies suggesting it is a more salient group identity than nationality or culture for virtual teams. Whilst not problematic to all members, when activated language asymmetries can be deskilling and demand emotional work from employees. The study will ultimately focus on East Asian and Western virtual teams, whose relationships are affected more by linguistic and related trust issues than other international configurations.

The conceptual framework above will be explored and applied to current research of an online project team. In this EU project (featuring northern and southern partners), language has become an important problem, in terms of expression of usual communication patterns, and when coupled with poorly selected ICT tools, contributing to unhelpful conflicts and emotional repression.

Understanding how and in what ways language asymmetries become salient may contribute to filling several gaps in the virtual organisation field particularly on the formation of subgroups and the effect of language differences on the experience of working in virtual teams.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTHE 10th MEDITERRANEAN CONFERENCE ON INFORMATION SYSTEMS, MCIS 2016, PAPHOS, CYPRUS, SEPTEMBER 4-6, 2016
PublisherUNIVERSITY OF NICOSIA, P.O.Box 24005, 1700 ΛΕΥΚΩΣΙΑ
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)978-9963-711-42-0
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2016

ID: 27026147