Building Organizational Capability of Distributed Global Teams: Strong Subgroups without Active Faultlines

  • Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa
Part of the Jepson Studies in Leadership book series (JSL)


Globalization of work has led to the increasing use of geographically distributed work teams. Engineering services are no exception. But distribution of work among geographically dispersed members leads to geography-bounded subgroups, particularly with the configuration of teams that have onshore and offshore members. Onshore members are located close to the client. Offshore members are spatially distant—often on another continent with significant time zone differences. Subgroups exhibit strong identity- and resource-based fault lines. Divisive subgroups decrease knowledge sharing, increase task and emotional conflict, and lead to errors and rework. Much of the existing scholarly work and research has focused on how to suppress the subgroups or how to transcend them by strengthening boundary spanners or interpersonal interactions in the team. Such work has largely ignored the benefits of strong subgroups, including their capacity to give voice to divergent perspectives. This chapter explores the effects of strong subgroups in a globally distributed engineering services team.


Team Member Project Team Virtual Team Core Member Service Team 
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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© Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa 2016

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