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  1. 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. 2. Agenda <ul><li>State of knowledge on globally distributed teams </li></ul><ul><li>The theorized relationships among communication, trust, and performance </li></ul><ul><li>Communication and Trust from a Social Network Perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Research Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Findings </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul>
  3. 3. Research on Trust in VTs <ul><li>Key areas of research in globally distributed teams </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Trust (e.g., Jarvenpaa, Shaw, and Staples 2004; Piccoli and Ives, 2003; Sarker, Valacich, and Sarker 2003) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Communication (e.g., Piccoli, Powell, and Ives 2004; Galvin and Ahuja 2001; Jarvenpaa and Leidner 1998) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ The most widely researched of the issues surrounding virtual teams” (Powell et al. 2004, p. 17) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Trust is Generally a dependent variable </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Research in virtual teams <ul><li>Focus on group performance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to investigate individual performance (Mehra et al. 2001) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to identify the high performing team members (e.g., Powell et al. 2004) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reliance primarily on individual trait-based or sometimes behavior-based explanations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need structural/relational approach (Tichy 1981) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research on the structural position of individuals can answer “ why are some people better performers than others ” (Mehra et al. 2001) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 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. 6. Networked Individualism <ul><li>Noted researchers have observed that ICT-mediated groups are moving towards “networked individualism” (Wellman et al. 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>“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) </li></ul>
  7. 7. “ Networked Individualism” (contd.) <ul><li>“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) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Virtual Teams as a Social Network <ul><li>We conceptualize a distributed team as a social network , and each individual having a structural position within that network. </li></ul>Communication- & Trust-based Stru. Position Performance
  9. 9. Three Models <ul><li>We explore three perspectives regarding the nature of influence of trust and communication on individual performance in globally distributed teams </li></ul><ul><li>They represent three Strands of Theorizing about the role of Communication and Trust </li></ul><ul><ul><li>an additive model </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>an interaction model, and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A mediation model. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. The Additive Model <ul><li>Twin predictions concerning performance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One preditcs a strong linkage between trust and performance (Hossain and Wigand 2004; Coppola, Hiltz, and Rotter 2004) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ 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)” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The other predicts that “Ineffective communications,” may “hinder” performance (Scarnati 2001) </li></ul></ul>Trust Communication Individual Performance
  11. 11. The Interaction Model <ul><ul><li>Model suggests that both trust and communication are necessary for higher individual performance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>That is, trust and communication interact to affect outcome (Jarvenpaa et al. 2004) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>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) </li></ul></ul>Communication Trust Individual Performance
  12. 12. The Mediation Model <ul><ul><li>Any effect of communication on performance is due to trust </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Communication leads to trust, and trust leads to performance (Coppola, Hiltz, and Rotter 2004). </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Trust is developed through communication” (Handfield 1994) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ High levels of trust will cause the trustor .. to perceive good performance” (Jarvenpaa et al. 2004) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ 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) </li></ul></ul>Trust Communication Individual Performance
  13. 13. Ego-centric Network View <ul><li>Communication Centrality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The extent to which a member is communicatively connected with each of the other members within a team </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Trust Centrality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The extent to which a member enjoys the trust of each of the other members within a team (trustworthiness) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Degree-based </li></ul>
  14. 14. Communication Centrality Legend: Blue nodes: Location A team members Red nodes: Location B team members Size of nodes: Communication centrality
  15. 15. Trust Centrality Legend: Blue nodes: Location A team members Red nodes: Location B team members Size of nodes: Trust centrality
  16. 16. Research Methodology <ul><li>A field study of hybrid virtual teams </li></ul><ul><li>Sample </li></ul><ul><ul><li>US-Norway student teams engaged in systems development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Duration: 1 semester </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>US-Denmark student teams engaged in systems analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Duration: 6 weeks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>N=111 </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Measures <ul><ul><li>In-degree centrality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In-degree centrality is relatively stable even at a low sampling level (Valente and Davis 1999) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Performance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ .. the effects of networks on performance.. measured by supervisor ratings, may contain political aspects” (Brass 2003) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Consistent with the above comment, each team member was asked to rate the performance of every other team member </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Analysis Technique <ul><li>Additive Model </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Linear Regression </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interaction Model </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hierarchical Regression (Mehra et al. 2001) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mediation Model </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Linear Regression following the guidelines of Baron and Kenney (1986) </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Results - Additive Model <ul><li>Model Summary </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Effect of communication (b = .001, p> .10) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Effect of Trust (b = .519, p < .05) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>R-square = .646 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Results fail to support the Additive Model </li></ul>
  20. 20. Interaction Model <ul><li>Model Summary </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1st block with communication centrality and trust centrality as predictors ( R-square = .646, 2 nd model R-square = .781) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>R-square change is .134 (F-change is significant) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2nd block included the above predictors and an additional interaction term </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>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) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>2 nd Model has better fit. </li></ul><ul><li>However, direction of the interaction is anomalous </li></ul>
  21. 21. Mediation Model <ul><ul><li>Model Summary (Baron and Kenney, 1986) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Commun. centrality affects trust centr. (b= .832, p<.01) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Commun. centrality affects performance (b= .432, p< .01) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Trust centrality affects performance (b= .519, p< .01) and effect of commun. centrality disappears (b= .001, p> .10) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thus, full mediation exists (Baron and Kenney 1986) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Results support the mediation model </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Discussion <ul><li>Complete mediation of trust on the relationship between communication and performance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>That is, high levels of communication cannot lead to high performance until he/she is trusted by the other team members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ More [communication] is not always better” (Krackhardt and Hansen 2003) </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. What about the anomaous Moderation Model? <ul><li>To understand anomalous moderating model, we split the sample into </li></ul><ul><ul><li>High trust centrality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low trust centrality </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In hi-trust group, the interaction effect is positive; negative in the low-trust group </li></ul><ul><li>Less trustworthy members are harmed by more communication </li></ul>
  24. 24. Possible effect of task? No! <ul><li>We split the sample into: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>those involved in systems analysis tasks (US-Denmark), & </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>those involved in systems development tasks (US-Norway) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Results are consistent, showing robustness </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Continuing Research <ul><li>Continuing to qualitatively explore the three models </li></ul><ul><li>Initial exploration supports regression results </li></ul>
  26. 26. Questions?