The X-Culture Textbook of Global Virtual Collaboration

Target Audience

  • The 10,000+ annual participants in the X-Culture project (MBA and business students who complete the X-Culture consulting project working in global virtual teams as part of their international business courses)
  • Any other managers and members of global virtual teams
  • Teachers seeking to incorporate in their courses projects based on experiential learning through global virtual collaboration

Writing Style/Format

Given our target audience, we do not want a collection of academic papers similar to those that appear in scholarly journals or edited volumes. We do not want beta coefficients, p-values, formally stated hypotheses, and SEM diagrams, nor do we want tons of APA-style references.

The textbook has to read as a popular management book. We want it to be informative, yet enjoyable, something one would buy to read on the plane. However, all claims must be supported by credible empirical and theoretical research and illustrated with relevant examples and anecdotes.

The main focus of the writing should be on practical utility. The guiding questions should be SO WHAT? and HOW TO? Every subsection must contain a practical lesson and actionable advice. With each page, the readers should know better how to be a more effective global virtual team member, manager, or teacher who uses a team-based project as an experiential component of the course.

Also, we welcome links to relevant self-assessment tests, short videos, and interactive tools.


Table of Contents


  • Why and Why not work in Global Virtual Teams: Advantages and challenges of working in geographically dispersed virtual teams
  • A brief history of Global Virtual Teams
  • Theories of virtual teams, international teams, and global virtual collaboration



  • How working in in teams is different from working alone
  • How working in global virtual teams is different from working in traditional face-to-face teams
  • The stages of GVT development
  • Communication in GVTs
  • Coordination in GVTs
  • Workload distribution and team member input monitoring in GVTs
  • Motivation, effort, and free-riding in GVTs
  • Leadership in GVTs
  • Building trust in GVTs
  • Working across time-zones
  • Culture, cross-cultural differences and conflicts
  • Dealing with calendar, schedule, and institutional differences



  • Managing international teams
  • Managing virtual teams
  • Corporate Virtual Teams vs. Academic Virtual Teams
  • Coaching International Teams
  • Known challenges in GVTs and best practices for managing them
  • The art of effective feedback
  • The art of team counseling
  • Managing and resolving conflict in GVTs
  • Team member performance monitoring and appraisal in GVTs
  • The art and technologies for online meetings, webinars, and conferences for GVTs



  • Dealing with student aversion to team-based projects
  • Blended learning
  • Preparing students for the GVT-based project
  • Managing GVT dynamics in the classroom
  • Known challenges and best practices of incorporating GVT-based projects in university courses
  • Monitoring student performance and grading GVT-based projects
  • Using GVT-based project in pre-college curriculum
  • Student privacy and safety in GVT-based projects (Author needed)



  • Why email is not enough (Vas Taras)
  • Simple Communication and Collaboration tools for GVTs
    • Email
    • Google Translate
    • Skype
    • Google Hangouts
  • Using social media for communication and collaboration in GVTs
    • Facebook groups
    • Viber groups
    • Whatsup groups
  • Document co-editing tools
    • Google Docs
    • Dropbox
    • Box
    • G-Drive
  • Collaboration tools and functionality in MS Office
    • Project Management tools
    • Slack
    • Trello
    • Basecamp



  • Theories and models of crowdsourcing
  • Gamification for global virtual project teams
  • Best ways to brainstorm in GVTs
  • Inter-team Collaboration vs. Competition
  • Using sub-teams to boost team effectiveness and creativity
  • Discussion boards and forums for GVTs
  • Your team has completed the project. How do you present your work if your team members are all in different countries?
  • Using GVTs for business consulting: History, Methods, Ways Forward



The decision on whether or not to include these three sections in the textbook not finalized. We need these sections for the X-Culture project participants, but these topics are too different from the general theme of this textbook, or too specialized for the general public. These sections may be published either as optional add-on sections of the textbook, or as a separate book.


Co-Authors of the Book, not Authors of Chapters in an Edited Volume

Although the textbook is being co-written by over 20 co-authors, each largely responsible for one of the chapters in the textbook, but contributors to the textbook will be listed as co-authors of the textbook, not as authors of chapters in an edited volume. Here is why:


  1. REDUNDANCIES AND OVERLAPS: Many chapter proposals contained redundancies and overlaps with other chapters. If we treat these chapters as independent papers meant to be read one at a time, each chapter must state the importance of global virtual collaborations, provide a review of literature and theories pertaining to GVTs, offer definitions and explain abbreviations. However, we’re writing a single coherent textbook, so these repetitions will preclude the textbook from becoming a book with a coherent structure and neatly organized content.
  2. DIFFERENT WRITING STYLES: The Co-Authors come from different countries and academic systems. They write very differently. Simply copy-and-pasting their chapters into a single book will produce a collection of very differently written documents, not a coherent textbook.


  1. NOT ALL GOOD WRITERS, BUT MOST CAN CONTRIBUTE: Some of the best chapter proposals came from students and non-academics who have little research and writing experience. If we ask them to independently write a chapter, some of them will fail. However, although some of them do not have the necessary writing skills, most of them can make a very valuable contribution to the textbook (ideas, materials, search for relevant content, etc.). Thus, separation of workload by functions and tasks might work better than by book chapters.


  1. MOST CAN CONTRIBUTE BEYOND THEIR PROPOSED CHAPTER: Most of the contributors are experts in the area of GVTs and can make a valuable contribution to many textbook chapters. Although it might be most efficient if everyone was responsible for a chapter, the final product will be better if the Co-Authors were able to contribute to other chapters and solicit help from other Co-Authors to help with their own chapters.


  1. NEED FOR UPDATES IN THE FUTURE: Most importantly, this field is developing extremely fast. Every semester, new virtual collaboration technologies become available, new theories and empirical finding on GVTs are being published – and we want to update the textbook regularly to reflect these advancements. Edited volumes are not meant to be updated and revised. The chapters in edited volumes are meant to be published once and stay in that form forever. Volume 2 may be published, but it will contain a new collection of new papers. A retrospective or reply to a paper in Volume 1 may be published, but it will be a new paper, a new look or a reflection on the issue, but not an update.


For our textbook, we need it to be updatable. We need to be able to add new examples, references, theories, cases or make other revisions to each textbook chapter, including even if the original chapter author is not be available or interested to continuing working on the textbook.


  1. RESOURCES FOR CENTRALIZED COPYEDITING AND MORE: Lastly, we have a little budget for this project that allows us to hire some help for completing some tasks centrally. For example, we can hire professional copyeditors, graphic designers, and possibly even ghost writers. So, there is no need that the original authors of every chapter do everything on their own. Help is available and it makes sense to ask the authors to focus on content, while outsourcing the packaging of that content to centrally-hired contractors.



Workflow and Schedule

  1. (CONTRIBUTION PROPOSALS, Done) Call for chapter proposals (600 words max). 21 received, but we are still recruiting Co-Authors to cover a few outstanding topics (see the working Table of Contents above for the list of chapters that we still need to recruit lead authors for).


  1. (FEEDBACK, by Dec 23) We will review proposals and send you feedback and suggestions for shaping your proposed chapter, so it fits with the rest of the paper. We’ve already sent some of you and will send the rest of you my comments on your original proposals. They will contain some suggestions as to what you should focus on in your section and perhaps what you may have to drop to avoid redundancies and overlaps with other chapters.


  1. (DETAILED OUTLINE, by Jan 14) The Co-Authors will be asked to develop a detailed outline for their chapter, a bullet-list summary of all points and issues that will be included in their chapters (1,500 words max).


  1. (FEEDBACK, by Jan 21) We will send you feedback and guidelines for revising (if needed) your extended outline so it fits best with the rest of the textbook. Your proposed outline may remain unchanged, or it may be recommended that some things are added, expanded, shrunk, or dropped.


The Co-Authors will also receive the complete detailed outline for each chapter so that they know how the entire textbook is structured and what it expects to contain, and their chapters fit into this big picture.


  1. (FINAL OUTLINE, OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS, by Feb 4) Based on the earlier feedback and a review of the complete textbook outline, the Co-Authors will be used to submit their final chapter outlines, as well as asked if they feel they can also contribute to any other parts of the textbook and how. If any of the Co-Authors provide viable proposals for how they can help with the textbook beyond their respective chapters, we will find the optimal way for such inter-chapter collaboration and facilitate it.


  1. (FEEDBACK, WORKLOAD DISTRIBUTION, by Feb 11) The Co-Authors will receive feedback and the final approvals of their complete chapter outlines. Depending on the expression of interest and needs to help beyond their own chapters, the tasks may be redistributed among the Co-Authors to ensure the optimal workload distribution. For example, those with less writing experience (e.g., students) may be asked to help with looking through the literature for best examples, cases and other resources, while other Co-Authors may volunteer (or contractor writers hired) to help with putting it all on paper.


  1. (COMPLETE ROUGH DRAFT, by Mar 4) Co-Authors will be asked to produce a rough draft of their chapters.


  1. (FEEDBACK, by Mar 11) We will send you feedback and, if needed, guidelines for finishing up your chapter, both in terms of the content, as well as writing style.


IMPORTANT: At this stage, the conditional acceptance/rejection decision will be made. An invitation to submit the chapter proposal, chapter outline, or the rough draft of the chapter does not guarantee that the contributor’s work will be included in the textbook. However, if the feedback on the rough draft is positive and the contributor is asked to submit the final draft, we have every intent to include this contribution in the current edition of the textbook. A failure to produce the final draft or if the final draft does not meet the quality expectations, we reserve the right to reject the contribution, but a rejection would be very unlikely after this stage.


  1. (FINAL DRAFT, by May 1) Co-Authors will be asked to produce the final draft of their chapters.


  1. (PUBLICATION READY, hopefully by June 30) Relying on help of the most skilled writers on the team, and possibly using hired writers and copyeditors, we’ll package it all together. As we are finalizing the textbook, we will continue collaborating with the original chapter Authors as needed.


  1. (NEW EDITIONS) When the time comes to produce the next edition of the textbook, the original Co-Authors will be invited to contribute. Additional people could be invited to join the Co-Author team if any of the original Co-Authors are unavailable or there is a need for additional help otherwise.



Authorship, Copyright, and Distribution

    The textbook will be distributed under the Attribution Creative Commons License.
    This means that:
  • The textbook will be assigned an ISBN number, just like any other published book.
  • Others can use the textbook freely, so long as the authors is given attribution, but not for commercial purposes.


    All contributors will be listed as Co-Authors of the textbook and can put the publication on their CV as a “Co-Author of a textbook”, not as an “Author of a chapter in an edited volume.”


    X-Culture retains the copyright and project management rights. Once the textbook is published, the Co-Authors will not have the copyright to the textbook or its parts. X-Culture can use and modify these materials in any way we see fit for the future editions or other X-Culture projects without obtaining the permission of the Co-Authors of the published editions, but properly crediting the Co-Authors whose work is used.


    The Co-Author list will be updated on each edition of the textbook. Generally, only Co-Authors who have worked on creation of the respective edition of the textbook will be listed as Co-Authors of that edition. However, the Co-Authors of earlier editions will be listed as Co-Authors of newer editions if their contribution from an earlier edition is used in significant part and without major changes in the newer editions. This means that if a Co-Author makes a significant contribution to an earlier edition (e.g., writes a chapter with a minimal contribution from the rest of the Co-Author team) and it is re-used in the new edition as it was written by the Co-Author for an earlier edition, this person will be listed as Co-Author of the respective new edition. However, if the contribution made by a Co-Author to an earlier edition is not used or substantially modified in the new edition, and the Co-Author is not making any other contribution to the new edition, this person may not be listed as a Co-Author of the new edition of the textbook.


    We will make every effort to provide the Co-Authors of earlier editions to contribute to the development of new editions of the textbook. However, we reserve the right to not re-invite Co-Authors whose contribution to earlier editions turned out to be marginal, or who do not work well with the other Co-Authors. This means that as long as a person is making a valuable contribution to the project and is collegial and professional, the person will stay on the Co-Author team for the future editions. However, if a person is invited but fails to make a significant contribution, or behaves unprofessionally otherwise, this person may not be re-invited to work on newer editions of the textbook. We will be relying on common sense and act in good faith when making these determinations.
    The X-Culture Textbook of Global Virtual Collaboration is envisioned as a non-commercial project. We expect to distribute the textbook for free. We do not expect to pay the Co-Author and project managers for their contributions to the textbook. However, while we do not plan at this time, we are open to the possibility of applying for grants, soliciting donations and sponsorship, or using other sources of funding this project in the future. If this textbook project secures any form of funding or generates a revenue, the money will not be used for salaries or royalties of the textbook Co-Authors, but for supporting this textbook and other X-Culture


Project Coordinator:
Dr. Vas Taras
University of North Carolina at Greensboro