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Communication and Trust in Global Virtual Teams

Author

Listed:
  • Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa

    (Graduate School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712)

  • Dorothy E. Leidner

    (INSEAD, Boulevard de Constance, 77305 Fontainebleau, France)

Abstract

This paper explores the challenges of creating and maintaining trust in a global virtual team whose members transcend time, space, and culture. The challenges are highlighted by integrating recent literature on work teams, computer-mediated communication groups, cross-cultural communication, and interpersonal and organizational trust. To explore these challenges empirically, we report on a series of descriptive case studies on global virtual teams whose members were separated by location and culture, were challenged by a common collaborative project, and for whom the only economically and practically viable communication medium was asynchronous and synchronous computer-mediated communication. The results suggest that global virtual teams may experience a form of “swift” trust, but such trust appears to be very fragile and temporal. The study raises a number of issues to be explored and debated by future research. Pragmatically, the study describes communication behaviors that might facilitate trust in global virtual teams.

Suggested Citation

  • Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa & Dorothy E. Leidner, 1999. "Communication and Trust in Global Virtual Teams," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 10(6), pages 791-815, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ororsc:v:10:y:1999:i:6:p:791-815
    DOI: 10.1287/orsc.10.6.791
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/orsc.10.6.791
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