Santa Clara University

"Out of Reach: Examining Group Faultlines in Virtual Teams"

Katerina Bezrukova, Ph.D.

This proposal is designed to explore whether people are able to make trustworthy connections and innovative decisions with others they have never physically met. The participants may be across the country or even across the globe and thereby interact as a "virtual team." Such teams are harder to manage and may differ significantly culturally. The research to be undertaken seeks an understanding of how employees from different cultures and working virtually can stay productive and be creative.

Research Update: 

Our paper titled "Out of Reach: Examining Group Faultlines in Virtual Teams" received an Outstanding Conference Poster Award at the INGRoup (Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research) conference this summer in Minneapolis, MN. This award is given to the best paper at the conference that is presented during the poster session. Our study examines the implications of perceived distance and fairness in virtual teams for mental health and how fairness translates in virtual environments. The findings have implications for individuals working in remote areas or poor countries with little access to sophisticated technologies. Our results show that simpler media and technologies, like email, can actually lead to greater perceived fairness for such people since they will feel less prone to the bias that comes from seeing others and their actions, as well as more fairness in planning meetings (if not in real time, there is no need to schedule a meeting that would be a 3am locally for some participants).
Bezrukova, K., Spell, C.S., Arakeri, S., Sharma, S., and Schreier, M. (2011). Out of Reach: Examining Group Faultlines in Virtual Teams. Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research conference, Minniapolis, MN.

Notable Information: Best Poster Award.
Link to a conference award website: