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Handbook of Advances in Culture and Psychology, Volume 6$
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Michele J. Gelfand, Chi-yue Chiu, and Ying-yi Hong

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190458850

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190458850.001.0001

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Insights for Culture and Psychology from the Study of Distributed Work Teams

Insights for Culture and Psychology from the Study of Distributed Work Teams

(p.259) Chapter 6 Insights for Culture and Psychology from the Study of Distributed Work Teams
Handbook of Advances in Culture and Psychology, Volume 6

Catherine Durnell Cramton

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes a 20-year research program concerning globally distributed or “virtual” work teams, emphasizing findings useful to scholars of culture and psychology. Intercultural contact, intercultural adaptation, and behavioral aspects of culture central to the conduct of work are illuminated. In particular, this work shows how contextual embeddedness complicates the establishment of shared understanding and shared practices in intercultural distributed work groups, and explains the effortful adaptation process that ensues. The research program also has illuminated the political struggles, self-protective strategies, and emotionality that accompany language choice at work. Work in progress focuses on scripts and genres as framing concepts for investigation of dynamic cultural norms in the work context. Overall, findings of the research program reinforce and extend the case for the dynamic systems approach to culture by showing how people engaging in contexts shape and are shaped by culture and how cultural systems change over time.

Keywords:   global team, virtual team, intercultural contact, intercultural adaptation, script, genre, dynamic system, sociocultural model, geographically distributed team, meeting

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