Document Type

Closed Project

Publication Date

Fall 2008


Dundar F. Kocaoglu

Course Title

Management of Engineering and Technology

Course Number

EMGT 520/620


As companies and organizations are increasing their global operations, virtual multicultural teams have become a much used strategy for many of them. Virtual multicultural teams are teams composed of members with different cultural backgrounds working at different geographical locations. Due to their specific nature, they present unique and complex challenges that are not found in regular teams, but at the same time they have a good number of intrinsic advantages. The purpose of this paper is to identify the critical issues for the success of virtual multicultural teams. To achieve this purpose, four different research methods were utilized. The first method is a literature review that includes a brief definition of virtual multicultural teams, types, complexity, critical issues for success, and advantages and disadvantages. The second method is a series of interviews with four different employees of a company that uses virtual multicultural teams as part of its strategy, and the fourth is an experimental virtual multicultural team comprised of members of the project team. Virtual multicultural teams can be a very effective way for companies and organizations to conduct short and long projects as long as all the unique and complex challenges associated to them are well-understood and addressed successfully. The critical issues identified as the keys of success for virtual multicultural teams are: a superb leader, high levels of trust among team members, clear and open communication, understanding of cultural differences, and the use of appropriate technology. The interviews, the experiment, and the case study confirmed and supported the findings of the literature review providing specific examples for some of them.


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