“He doesn’t ask because he is from China” – How People Make Sense of Communication Behaviour in Global Virtual Teams

Karin Väyrynen, Riitta Hekkala

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Global virtual teams (GVT) continue to struggle with the challenges of communication. In order to understand and study GVT actors’ behaviour in GVTs, it is imperative to understand what they attribute their own and others’ communication behaviour to. We examined a multinational corporation, with its headquarters in Europe and conducted 11 interviews with GVT actors. With our qualitative research we investigated how GVT members explain their own as well as others’ communication behaviour in GVT. This study enriches the existing GVT literature by providing information on how actors make sense of their own social world in a different way than they make sense of their co-workers’ social world. We show that there is a mismatch in the types of explanations given for the interviewee’s own communication behaviour and others’ communication behaviour. One example of the mismatch is that GVT actors tended to explain their own constructive communication behaviour, but placed greater emphasis on explaining other persons’ defensive and negative communication behaviour. Another example is that GVT actors explain others’ communication behaviour with the other persons’ cultural background, but not their own communication behaviour. Our study contributes to research on communica-tion behaviour in GVTs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationECIS 2018 Proceedings
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978 1 86137 667 1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventEuropean Conference on Information Systems - Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Jun 201828 Jun 2018
Conference number: 26


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Information Systems
Abbreviated titleECIS
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Communication behaviour
  • Electronic communication media
  • Global virtual team
  • Qualitative research
  • Self-attribution
  • Social attribution


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