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Title: How intra-firm networks create value and liabilities in micro-level processes of global virtual teams
Author: Vahtera, Pekka Johannes
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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Research on organisational networks is abundant, yet understanding about the positive and negative effects of networks in global business settings remains relatively limited. This dissertation analyses the network mechanisms that add value to global virtual teams (GVTs). More specifically, it examines the role of (i) network structure, (ii) individuals’ network position, and (iii) the types of relationships which people share as both value-adding mechanisms as well as sources of potential liabilities. Added value in this study refers to interpersonal benefits which may help GVTs realise their full potential, meaning an increased knowledge flow, decreased levels of conflict and a higher degree of integration among diverse team members, amongst other things. The theoretical underpinning of this study lies within the intersection of network theory, international business, and virtual team management. The empirical analysis is conducted within a social network data set collected from 160 GVT members from three multinational companies working in a high technology sector. Statistical analyses of these data suggest that network mechanisms such as the types of ties people share (i.e. friendship), reciprocity (i.e. two-way interaction), the structure of ties (i.e. cliques), and an individual’s network positions (i.e. brokerage over structural holes) have important effects on knowledge sharing and potential for conflict. Surprisingly, the GVTs are found to show little tendency for homophily (tendency for similar others) and no support is found for the argument that cultural dissimilarities or geographical distance would negatively affect interpersonal interactions. It is concluded that network-based theories need to be more rigorously tested in global contexts in order to truly evaluate their generalisability for international business.
Supervisor: Buckley, P. ; Clegg, J. ; Cross, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available