Facilitating Culturally Diverse Groups with Visual Templates in Collaborative Systems: Increasing Structuration to Improve Precision

December 29, 2016

Our article “Facilitating Culturally Diverse Groups with Visual Templates in Collaborative Systems: Increasing Structuration to Improve Precision” is published  in Cross Cultural & Strategic Management (previously: Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal) Vol. 24 Iss: 1.

Abstract:

Purpose – The use of visual templates has proven instrumental in supporting group meetings. This study explores whether visual templates enable culturally diverse groups to achieve greater task precision in face-to-face meetings.

Design/methodology/approach – Building on Adaptive Structuration Theory (AST), it is argued that visual templates provide structuration for face-to-face meetings, even more so when they are embedded in computer-supported collaborative systems. In particular, it is hypothesized that the higher the degree of structuration imposed by visual templates, the higher the degree of task precision will be. It is also hypothesized that this relationship is positively moderated by group cultural diversity: higher cultural diversity will further sustain the positive effects of visual templates that provide higher structuration.

Findings – Results of an experiment with 229 managers from 49 countries confirm that facilitating groups with visual templates embedded in a computer-supported collaborative system significantly increases task precision at high levels of cultural diversity.

Research limitations/implications – This study contributes to Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) by investigating the use of visual templates as a contingency factor that increases performance – specifically task precision – of co-located, culturally diverse groups.

Practical implications – Results indicate that visual templates embedded in a computer-supported collaborative system are an effective method for increasing task precision in face-to-face meetings of culturally diverse groups.

Originality/value – Theories from information systems and visualization are integrated into cross-cultural management with a view to sustaining the effectiveness of culturally diverse groups. The study sample is characterized by highly culturally diverse groups interacting in face-to-face meetings.

Keywords: multicultural groups, cultural diversity, visual templates, face-to-face meetings, computer-supported collaborative systems, structuration theories.


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