Contextual Conditionalities For Global Virtual Team Leadership Performance From A Middle Eastern Perspective

Lead author: Djamel Eddine Laouisset (


Problem Statement

Leadership performance is not only crucial to grasp global virtual team objectives and hence to effective task management, but is also insightful of team functioning (Heinemann & Zeiss, 2002). Because GVT are conducted asynchronously, team productivity is crucial for achieving team’s collective goals. However, team leadership can easily fail without adequate training related to cross-cultural competencies. The X-Culture project provides a unique case for appreciating the challenges of intercultural communication, with respect to overall student achievement. X-Culture involves students from over 100 universities in 40 countries on 6 continents in a given semester. Many of us instructors have witnessed –in the course of the project- many students’ frustrations and demotivation when they are faced with the “liability of foreigness” of some team leaders. We assume that this situation is mainly due to a lack of prior cultural sensitivity training. In a facilitative approach to leadership, the emphasis would be by involving team members who will implement the project in all phases of decision-making (Ainscow & Miles, 2008). X-culture as any similar collaborative project needs a collaborative and inclusive project management leader. As a matter of fact, a ‘monocratic’ leader would be expected to know what to do, how to do it, and he would be supposed to have some distinctive skills, personality, and expertise, to complete the required tasks using a top-down hierarchy, however we assume that in a GVT comprised of ‘knowledge workers’ -such as the x-culture project- members bring along somehow similar KSAs and even superior. In order to initiate a GVT team leadership performance, one needs to identify all contextual ‘conditionalities’ that could engage team members, regardless of their cultural diversity (Sharma & Desai, 2008; Fauske, 2011). It is hypothesized, that once this is sine qua non condition is met, an authentic GVT leader could therefore successfully facilitate shared understandings around the fundamental project concepts, share project ownership, implementation and evaluation.


Research Questions

  • Does culturally competent GVT leadership guarantee overall team performance? If so, what are the leadership characteristics involved?
  • Do monocratic leader cultural biases affect GVT leadership performance? If so, how these halo ‘instrumentalize’ negative effects?
  • Is there a possibility to model and train GVT members on a universal GVT leadership competency model and will this impact GVT performance? In which cases?




  • The more universalistic the leadership competency, the highest GVT leadership performance;
  • The more selective and pertinent the a priori cultural sensitivity training”, the more GVT leadership performance.


Relationship moderated by:

  • Competing biases: stronger in some politically-disturbed geographical locations, the less political and historical antecedents the less it matters (political environment);
  • Educational level: Undergraduates vs. Master’s degree students (maturity level);
  • Cultural referential: stronger in MENA where it matters a lot (cultural environment).


Relationship mediated by:

  • Cultural preparedness: students who were “culturally” exposed are more prepared to communicate and lead GVT effectively;
  • Cultural sensitivity training investment: students “culturally” trained are more prepared to lead GVT effectively;
  • Cosmopolitan instructor-coach: culturally ‘exposed’ instructors at stronger transfer cultural KSAs, which in turn improves GVT leadership performance.


X-Culture data will be used to measure performance, and we will locally administer a GVT leadership survey adapted from Denison et al (1995) to gauge the MENA perspective.


Leadership performance will be measured as

  • Peer evaluation of team leadership roles (Denison)
  • Team performance (KPIs)
  • Team leadership rating (x-culture)


Co-Authors welcome for the following tasks

  1. Literature review: write a literature review covering:
  • Previous research on the impact of cultural sensitivity training / exposure to global virtual team leadership performance
  • An exhaustive summary of how contextual ‘conditionalities’ have been ‘operationalized’ in cross- cultural leadership training curriculum development
  • A comprehensive summary of what training outcomes (with regard to GVT performance) have been reflected in the literature
  • A summary of GVT leadership performance
  • A summary of the findings from earlier studies (mini meta-analysis)
  • A summary of limitations of existing literature


  1. Theory: develop and write theory section


  • Clearly formulated research questions
  • Plausible hypotheses with compelling rationale based on strong logic and rooted in prior research
  • A theoretical integrated model (a figure that shows how the different components of the model relate to one another)


  1. Analyses: analyze, write method and results


  1. Integrative section: I will write the Middle Eastern perspective (experts welcome)



Co-Author Selection

Demonstrated expertise in subject area (please send proposal / list selected publications).


Target Journal: Journal of International Business Studies