Vicious and virtuous cycles in global virtual team role coordination

Juliana Sutanto, Chee Wei Phang, Huei Huang Kuan, Atreyi Kankanhalli, Bernard Cheng Yian Tan

Research output: Journal PublicationConference articlepeer-review


Role coordination is an important aspect of task performance in teams. This phenomenon has received little attention in global virtual teams (GVT) with their coordination hurdles. An exploratory study of two GVT was conducted to investigate role coordination. Our findings reveal that role ambiguity may lead to the emergence of individual roles in GVT contingent on task interdependency. In particular, high role ambiguity leads to the emergence of individual roles when GVT task interdependency is low but not so when it is high. These factors form a vicious cycle that hampers GVT role coordination. Another vicious cycle is formed when personal coordination mechanisms result in uneven distribution of information. Virtuous cycles are formed when group coordination mechanisms aid effective role coordination, preventing the emergence of individual roles and building shared team interaction mental models. In addition to vicious and virtuous cycles, we also identified technical roles as being salient in the GVT context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49
Number of pages1
JournalProceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes
Event38th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences - Big Island, HI, United States
Duration: 3 Jan 20056 Jan 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (all)

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