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Facilitating culturally diverse groups with visual templates in collaborative systems: Increasing structuration to improve precision

Sabrina Bresciani (Institute for Media and Communications Management University of St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland)
Alice Comi (Kingston Business School, Department of Strategy, Marketing and Innovation, Kingston University London, London, UK)

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management

ISSN: 2059-5794

Article publication date: 6 February 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The use of visual templates has proven instrumental in supporting group meetings. The purpose of this paper is to explore whether visual templates enable culturally diverse groups to achieve greater task precision in face-to-face meetings.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on Adaptive Structuration Theory, it is argued that visual templates provide structuration for face-to-face meetings, even more so when they are embedded in computer-supported collaborative systems. In particular, it is hypothesized that the higher the degree of structuration imposed by visual templates, the higher the degree of task precision will be. It is also hypothesized that this relationship is positively moderated by group cultural diversity: higher cultural diversity will further sustain the positive effects of visual templates that provide higher structuration.

Findings

Results of an experiment with 229 managers from 49 countries confirm that facilitating groups with visual templates embedded in a computer-supported collaborative system significantly increases task precision at high levels of cultural diversity.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) by investigating the use of visual templates as a contingency factor that increases performance – specifically task precision – of co-located, culturally diverse groups.

Practical implications

Results indicate that visual templates embedded in a computer-supported collaborative system are an effective method for increasing task precision in face-to-face meetings of culturally diverse groups.

Originality/value

Theories from information systems and visualization are integrated into cross-cultural management with a view to sustaining the effectiveness of culturally diverse groups. The study sample is characterized by highly culturally diverse groups interacting in face-to-face meetings.

Keywords

Citation

Bresciani, S. and Comi, A. (2017), "Facilitating culturally diverse groups with visual templates in collaborative systems: Increasing structuration to improve precision", Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 78-98. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCSM-12-2015-0200

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited