Leadership and conflict

Leadership and conflict: The impact of leadership on conflict level in multicultural and homogenous virtual teams

Relevance and rationale
As the world has become progressively more globalized, the use of virtual teams has
increased. New technology has made communication and interaction in new ways
possible, and removed physical presence as a prerequisite for work in teams.
Consequently, it is now easier than ever forming team consisting of team members from
different countries and cultures, known as multicultural teams.
Earlier research has shown that multicultural teams might experience more internal
conflict than homogenous teams. This is justified by the fact that such teams might have
more factors that can develop into conflicts. Examples that are drawn include
differences in language, beliefs and norms. Team leaders leading virtual teams are
dependent on leading their team without a physical presence in their team. This study
will be based on earlier research done on both leadership and conflicts in teams, but will
focus solely on virtual teams.
The goal of our study is to research how different kinds of leadership might affect the
level of conflict in multicultural virtual teams, and compare this to the leadership of
homogeneous virtual teams. The study will look into the types of leadership used in
teams, as well as level and types of conflicts in the virtual teams. Thus, we hope to see
if some types of leadership are significantly better than others, and if there is a
difference between what type is most successful in multicultural and homogeneous
virtual teams.

Research question
What type of leadership minimizes internal conflict in global multicultural virtual teams
and global homogenous virtual teams? Is the best choice of leadership significantly
different between the two types of global virtual teams?

Main hypotheses

H1 – Formal leadership minimizes the level of conflict in a global virtual team

H2 – Multicultural virtual teams experience a higher level of conflict than homogenous virtual teams

H3 – Multicultural virtual teams benefit more from a formal leadership than homogenous virtual teams.

Maria Aylin Dincer Barstad, barstadmaria@gmail.com
Asbjørn Mathisen Rake, asbjornrake@gmail.com