Spatial and Temporal Boundaries in Global Teams

Distinguishing Where You Work from When You Work
  • Jonathon N. Cummings
  • J. Alberto Espinosa
  • Cynthia K. Pickering
Part of the IFIP International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 236)


While spatial boundaries include the geographic differences among team members (different cities), temporal boundaries include the workday differences among team members (different time zones). In global teams members have to deal with both spatial and temporal boundaries since their co-workers are often located in cities within and across time zones. For global team members with high spatial boundaries and low temporal boundaries (those in different cities in the same time zone), synchronous communication technologies such as the telephone and instant messenger provide a means for real-time interaction. However, for global team members with high spatial boundaries and high temporal boundaries (those in different cities in different time zones), asynchronous communication technologies, such as e-mail and web software, provide a way to interact intermittently. Using social network data from 625 team members (representing 5986 pairs) across 137 global teams in a multi-national semiconductor firm, we explore the impact of spatial and temporal boundaries on coordination delay. We also illustrate how member awareness can reduce coordination delay, thus increasing the likelihood of better global team performance.


Team Member Team Performance Temporal Boundary Time Zone Informal Communication 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathon N. Cummings
    • 1
  • J. Alberto Espinosa
    • 2
  • Cynthia K. Pickering
    • 3
  1. 1.Fuqua School of BusinessDuke UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Kogod School of BusinessAmerican UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Information Services and Technology GroupIntel CorporationUSA

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