Generational Differences in Virtual Teaming in the United States: Culture, Time, and Technology
Ferrara, Samuel J.
Taylor, John E.
Javernick-Will, Amy N.
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The globalization of the workplace has led to the extensive use of virtual teams. Virtual teams are groups of geographically distributed workers that use technology to collaborate and communicate. Due to their geographic distribution, these teams experience high levels of cultural diversity and time dispersion among team members. Millennials and Baby Boomers in the United States have been reported as having differing views in regards to cultural diversity, time, and technology in the workplace. These differing views could lead to conflict and poor performing virtual teams. However, there is a lack of research on generational differences in the context of virtual teams. This study sought to quantify these generational differences (or lack thereof) in virtual teams, focusing specifically on differences between Baby Boomers and Millennials working in the fields of engineering and construction. The results show that Millennials may have relative strengths related to handling cultural diversity, time-distributed team members, and technology use in the context of a virtual team when compared to Baby Boomers. These findings will help inform virtual team leaders by allowing them to better leverage their team members' strengths.