Handbook of Research in International Human Resource Management
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Handbook of Research in International Human Resource Management

  • Elgar original reference

Edited by Günter K. Stahl and Ingmar Björkman

In providing an insightful overview of a wide range of global human resource issues facing MNCs, this pathbreaking Handbook highlights emergent topics and new research findings that could shape the field of future IHRM research. Theoretical discussion of the variables and processes that affect IHRM policies and practices is provided by renowned contributors with widely differing academic backgrounds, paradigmatic orientations, and theoretical and methodological approaches.
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Chapter 18: Decoupling and Coupling in Global Teams: Implications for Human Resource Management

Jennifer L. Gibbs

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18 Decoupling and coupling in global teams: implications for human resource management Jennifer L. Gibbs Global teams are often formed in multinational corporations as a strategic human resource solution for bringing together people with specific knowledge, skills and expertise, regardless of their geographical location. Interaction among such diverse individuals is enabled through use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as e-mail, audio- and videoconferencing, knowledge management systems and archival databases. Global teams offer the promise of better and more innovative solutions and products through tapping into human resource pools worldwide, more efficient around-the-clock work across time zones, and lower-cost access to local markets and customers without the need for travel (Carmel, 1999; Gluesing & Gibson, 2004). However, in order to achieve these benefits, global teams must contend with a number of challenges due to the high level of complexity they face in working across multiple contexts: geographical, temporal, cultural and technological. This chapter addresses structural dynamics of global teams, reviewing key challenges and effective team-building strategies for managing such dynamics. Challenges due to decoupling in global teams Global teams are defined here as work teams that are virtual, culturally diverse, structurally dynamic, and whose members collaborate on a global task using ICTs (Gibbs, 2002; Maznevski & Chudoba, 2000). As virtual teams, they are both geographically distributed across multiple locations and dependent on computer-mediated communication (CMC) (Cohen & Gibson, 2003; Griffith, Sawyer & Neale, 2003; Lipnack & Stamps, 1997), though they may vary on the degree of each...

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