Geographic Diversity in Globally Dispersed Teams: An Empirical Test

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Geographic Diversity in Globally Dispersed Teams: An Empirical Test
Advances in communication technology, a trend toward globalization, and related forces
are fueling the popularity of globally dispersed teams, so called global virtual teams. The
diversity in geographical locations of members is a salient difference among members of
virtual teams versus face-to-face teams. People may categorize others and assess
similarity based on their own and others’ geographical locations, much the same way
they use other diversity dimensions. Although research on team diversity has remained
largely separate from research on team dispersion, our study has geographical location as
a key dimension along which teams can vary in diversity. Diversity in geographical
locations introduces mechanisms that influence the amount and nature of interaction
among group members – the differential availability of communication media. The study
considered the impact of geographical dispersion on two indicators of group functioning
– conflict and trust. The study has important implications for the design of global virtual
teams.
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