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An Identity Lens to Understand Teams in International Business  

Sonia Raghav and Cristina Gibson

In international business, teams can take on a variety of forms, including domestic collocated teams, multinational collocated teams, global virtual teams, and multicultural teams. All of these types of teams offer the potential for developing innovative products and services, but they also may face substantial challenges with respect to collaboration and coordination. Team members are likely to identify with a variety of affiliations, based on dimensions such as gender, family roles, ethnicity, culture, nation, profession, organization, and team. Identification with each of these social groups brings with it the opportunity for diverse insights and perspectives, skill breadth, and broad social connections. However, this can lead to both benefits and challenges for teams. As a result, the ability to negotiate identities has become critical in international business. Drawing upon concepts of social identity, an identity lens can be used to document the promise and problems of teams in international business. An understanding of how multiple identity interactions within an individual can affect processes and outcomes for the team has the potential to create a more nuanced comprehension of international teams.