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  • 1. Revisiting Communication and Trust in Globally Distributed Teams: A Social Network Perspective Coathors: Saonee Sarker, Suprateek Sarker (Washington State University) Sarah Almbjerg (Copenhagen Business School) Manju Ahuja Kelley School of Business
  • 2. Agenda
    • State of knowledge on globally distributed teams
    • The theorized relationships among communication, trust, and performance
    • Communication and Trust from a Social Network Perspective
    • Research Methodology
    • Findings
    • Discussion
  • 3. Research on Trust in VTs
    • Key areas of research in globally distributed teams
        • Trust (e.g., Jarvenpaa, Shaw, and Staples 2004; Piccoli and Ives, 2003; Sarker, Valacich, and Sarker 2003)
        • Communication (e.g., Piccoli, Powell, and Ives 2004; Galvin and Ahuja 2001; Jarvenpaa and Leidner 1998)
          • “ The most widely researched of the issues surrounding virtual teams” (Powell et al. 2004, p. 17)
          • Trust is Generally a dependent variable
  • 4. Research in virtual teams
    • Focus on group performance
      • Need to investigate individual performance (Mehra et al. 2001)
      • Need to identify the high performing team members (e.g., Powell et al. 2004)
    • Reliance primarily on individual trait-based or sometimes behavior-based explanations
      • Need structural/relational approach (Tichy 1981)
      • Research on the structural position of individuals can answer “ why are some people better performers than others ” (Mehra et al. 2001)
  • 5. RESEARCH QUESTION What is the role of communication and trus t centrality in determining an individual’s performance within a globally distributed team? The approach - “ networked individualism .”
  • 6. Networked Individualism
    • Noted researchers have observed that ICT-mediated groups are moving towards “networked individualism” (Wellman et al. 2003)
    • “By bringing to bear measures and constructs of social structure, we can begin to how simple notions of .. autonomous individuals are incomplete ” (Rice 1994, p. 181)
  • 7. “ Networked Individualism” (contd.)
    • “If you took away my computer, my colleagues, my office, my books, my desk, my telephone I wouldn’t be a sociologist writing papers, delivering lectures, and producing knowledge. I’d be something quite other – and the same is true for all of us.” (Law 1992)
  • 8. Virtual Teams as a Social Network
    • We conceptualize a distributed team as a social network , and each individual having a structural position within that network.
    Communication- & Trust-based Stru. Position Performance
  • 9. Three Models
    • We explore three perspectives regarding the nature of influence of trust and communication on individual performance in globally distributed teams
    • They represent three Strands of Theorizing about the role of Communication and Trust
      • an additive model
      • an interaction model, and
      • A mediation model.
  • 10. The Additive Model
    • Twin predictions concerning performance
      • One preditcs a strong linkage between trust and performance (Hossain and Wigand 2004; Coppola, Hiltz, and Rotter 2004)
        • “ Prevailing view of trust in the IS literature contends that trust has direct positive effects on .. performance” (e.g., Iacono and Weisband 1997; Jarvenpaa and Leidner 1999)”
      • The other predicts that “Ineffective communications,” may “hinder” performance (Scarnati 2001)
    Trust Communication Individual Performance
  • 11. The Interaction Model
      • Model suggests that both trust and communication are necessary for higher individual performance
      • That is, trust and communication interact to affect outcome (Jarvenpaa et al. 2004)
      • E.g., team member may be perceived as a low performer by peers if he/she exhibits low communication and does not enjoy the trust of other members (Jarvenpaa et al. 2004)
    Communication Trust Individual Performance
  • 12. The Mediation Model
      • Any effect of communication on performance is due to trust
        • Communication leads to trust, and trust leads to performance (Coppola, Hiltz, and Rotter 2004).
        • “ Trust is developed through communication” (Handfield 1994)
        • “ High levels of trust will cause the trustor .. to perceive good performance” (Jarvenpaa et al. 2004)
      • “ Several empirical studies on the trust development process suggest that video and audio.. are nearly as good as face-to-face contacts provided that participants engage in various getting-acquainted activities..” (Hossain and Wigand 2004)
    Trust Communication Individual Performance
  • 13. Ego-centric Network View
    • Communication Centrality
      • The extent to which a member is communicatively connected with each of the other members within a team
    • Trust Centrality
      • The extent to which a member enjoys the trust of each of the other members within a team (trustworthiness)
    • Degree-based
  • 14. Communication Centrality Legend: Blue nodes: Location A team members Red nodes: Location B team members Size of nodes: Communication centrality
  • 15. Trust Centrality Legend: Blue nodes: Location A team members Red nodes: Location B team members Size of nodes: Trust centrality
  • 16. Research Methodology
    • A field study of hybrid virtual teams
    • Sample
      • US-Norway student teams engaged in systems development
        • Duration: 1 semester
      • US-Denmark student teams engaged in systems analysis
        • Duration: 6 weeks
      • N=111
  • 17. Measures
      • In-degree centrality
        • In-degree centrality is relatively stable even at a low sampling level (Valente and Davis 1999)
        • Freeman’s (1979) measure of relative in-degree centrality (i.e., the actual number of lines relative to the total number that it could sustain) was used
      • Performance
        • “ .. the effects of networks on performance.. measured by supervisor ratings, may contain political aspects” (Brass 2003)
        • Consistent with the above comment, each team member was asked to rate the performance of every other team member
  • 18. Analysis Technique
    • Additive Model
      • Linear Regression
    • Interaction Model
      • Hierarchical Regression (Mehra et al. 2001)
    • Mediation Model
      • Linear Regression following the guidelines of Baron and Kenney (1986)
  • 19. Results - Additive Model
    • Model Summary
      • Effect of communication (b = .001, p> .10)
      • Effect of Trust (b = .519, p < .05)
      • R-square = .646
    • Results fail to support the Additive Model
  • 20. Interaction Model
    • Model Summary
      • 1st block with communication centrality and trust centrality as predictors ( R-square = .646, 2 nd model R-square = .781)
        • R-square change is .134 (F-change is significant)
      • 2nd block included the above predictors and an additional interaction term
        • The ANOVA model (1st Model (F= 98.736, p < .01), 2 nd Model (F= 126.85, p< .01, Role of communication (b= -.064, p> .10), role of trust (b= .562, p< .01), role of interaction (b= -.444, p< .01)
    • 2 nd Model has better fit.
    • However, direction of the interaction is anomalous
  • 21. Mediation Model
      • Model Summary (Baron and Kenney, 1986)
        • Commun. centrality affects trust centr. (b= .832, p<.01)
        • Commun. centrality affects performance (b= .432, p< .01)
        • Trust centrality affects performance (b= .519, p< .01) and effect of commun. centrality disappears (b= .001, p> .10)
      • Thus, full mediation exists (Baron and Kenney 1986)
      • Results support the mediation model
  • 22. Discussion
    • Complete mediation of trust on the relationship between communication and performance
      • That is, high levels of communication cannot lead to high performance until he/she is trusted by the other team members
      • ‘ More [communication] is not always better” (Krackhardt and Hansen 2003)
  • 23. What about the anomaous Moderation Model?
    • To understand anomalous moderating model, we split the sample into
      • High trust centrality
      • Low trust centrality
    • In hi-trust group, the interaction effect is positive; negative in the low-trust group
    • Less trustworthy members are harmed by more communication
  • 24. Possible effect of task? No!
    • We split the sample into:
      • those involved in systems analysis tasks (US-Denmark), &
      • those involved in systems development tasks (US-Norway)
      • Results are consistent, showing robustness
  • 25. Continuing Research
    • Continuing to qualitatively explore the three models
    • Initial exploration supports regression results
  • 26. Questions?

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