Commentary: Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: Justification and Prevention Strategies Provided by Free-Riders on Global Virtual Teams

pp.92-94. Jim Johnson


There is strong evidence in the management literature that that diverse work teams produce better results than homogenous teams and, over the past several decades, businesses and other organizations have sought to implement policies to mandate or encourage diversity in a wide range of work teams, both temporary and permanent, from government bodies to board rooms to ad hoc project teams. There are many aspects to diversity: diversity in gender, age, work experiences, and cultural backgrounds are commonly cited, but diversity in political beliefs, sexual orientation, and personality characteristics can also assist in providing varied perspectives to discussions and decision-making. Yet diversity is a two-edged sword: as the team’s size and diversity increases, it becomes more difficult to manage.  The difficulty is exacerbated in teams that are geographically dispersed across country borders and time zones and are expected to coordinate their activities with the help of modern communication technology, from e-mail to group texting to video conference calls, to the use of collaborative software such as Microsoft Teams.

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