Panel Sessions

gCulture vs. Distance: Understanding the Dynamics of Globally Distributed Collaborationh

The aim of this panel session is to discuss cultural challenges and the effectiveness of collaborating in a globally distributed environment. The contributions to be made by three (3) panelists will center on empirical findings and future directions of research that examine the impact of culture on the effectiveness of globally distributed collaboration with the use of varied computer-mediated communication tools.

Panel Participants:

Dr. Norhayati Zakaria (Chair)
Assistant Professor, Department of International Business, Faculty of International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia

Dr. Norhayati Zakaria is Assistant Professor at the Universiti Utara Malaysia in the Department of International Business, Faculty of International Studies. She received her Doctoral Degree in Information Science & Technology at Syracuse University, Mastersf Degree in Management of Technology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Bachelor Degree of Business Administration at Universiti Utara Malaysia. She has been engaged for many years in research pertaining to issues of cross-cultural and intercultural communication and its impact on the effectiveness of managing expatriates, building effective cross-cultural training, and global virtual teams and the use of computer-mediated communication technologies. She has also published in numerous journal articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings related to her field of expertise. She is currently an affiliated researcher in the Collaboratory on Technology Enhanced Learning Communities (Cotelco), a research laboratory located in Syracuse University, USA that is built on the concept of ecollaboration without walls.f She will bring her expertise in cross-cultural and intercultural communication issues by addressing concerns for designing and implementing culturally-sensitive IT applications when building collaboratories for geographically distributed collaboration. Her ongoing research program includes impact of cultural values on the effectiveness of global virtual teams, cultural perspective on building credibility and trust when using the Internet for e-business, and testing and building new cross-culturally attuned theory for understanding globally distributed collaboration.

Dr. Derrick L. Cogburn (Panelist)
Assistant Professor and Director of Cotelco, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, USA

Dr. Derrick L. Cogburn is an expert on global information and communication technology (ICT) policy and in the use of ICTs for socio-economic development. He is currently an assistant professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies and senior research associate at the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs. Dr. Cogburn also directs the Collaboratory on Technology Enhanced Learning Communities (Cotelco), an award-winning social science research collaboratory investigating the social and technical factors that influence geographically distributed collaborative knowledge work, particularly between developed and developing countries. He is also a faculty affiliate with the Convergence Center, is a member of the Internet Governance Project, and is a faculty member of the Syracuse University Africa Initiative. Derrickfs research program explores the impact of socio-technical collaboration infrastructure on civic participation in global information and communication technology (ICT) policy processes, and more broadly on international development and global governance. Currently, his research looks at the role of elite policy conferences in the formation of global ICT policy-actor networks. His research teams are also study the impact of gpolicy collaboratoriesh on the interaction and density of these policy networks within the World Summit on the Information Society and on the epistemic communities that nourish them.

Andrea Amelinckx (Panelist)
J.D. and Director of International Programs, Faculty of Management, University of Lethbridge, Canada.

Andrea Amelinckx is the Director of the International Programs Office in the Faculty of Management and the Co-ordinator of the First Nationsf Governance Program. She also serves as the Area Coordinator for International Management Area. Her office co-ordinates international student exchange programs and international student work-study programs as well as supports Aboriginal student recruitment in the First Nations Governance Program. For the past 6 years, Andrea has been engaged in research collaboration with two of her virtual colleagues in the USA and Malaysia simply by using email. In particular, they have looked into the issue of cross-cultural challenges for building effective global virtual teams as well as other issues that provide insights on best practices in using global virtual teams. They have successfully published several conference proceedings, book chapters and journals. Based on this successful virtual and intercultural collaboration, Andrea recognized the need to conduct empirical study examining use of global virtual teams in the academic research setting. She believes that an effective leadership will facilitate globally distributed collaboration among the academicians. At current, her teaching and research interests are in the areas of cross-cultural management practices, international law and policy, and gender relations.

gCommunication in Globally Distributed Work Teams: Evidence from the Fieldh

The focus of this panel will be on examining communication issues in globally distributed work teams faced with collaborating across cultures. A multi-national group of researchers will present the results of field studies that they have conducted in companies with team members located in a number of different countries, including Denmark, France, Israel, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Poland, and the United States.

The panel will start with Miriam Erez who will discuss issues of team performance in multinational teams, particularly focusing on the interplay between cultural values, communication and team performance outcomes. She will set the stage for the critical role of communication in these teams. Lisbeth Clausen will then present her study of five Danish companies with locations in Japan. She explores the how meaning is exchanged in these collaborative endeavors. Mary Beth Watson-Manheim will follow with a discussion of the differences in risk perceptions as related to media use practices in an Indian-U.S. collaboration. Finally, Tsedal Beyene will discuss the experience of non-native English speakers confronted with the requirement of conducting business across national boundaries in a language in which they lack competence. To wrap up the formal session, our discussant, Mark Mortensen, will highlight the similarities of findings across these studies and reconcile the differences inherent in such a diverse panel of work. We plan to leave at least 20 minutes following the presentations for an open discussion with the audience.

Panel Participants:

Pamela Hinds (Chair), Stanford University, USA
Tsedal Beyene (Presenter), Stanford University, USA
Tsedal Beyene is a fifth year Ph.D. student in the Center for Work, Technology & Organization in the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University.
Lisbeth Clausen (Presenter), Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Lisbeth Clausen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Intercultural Communication and Management and the Asian Research Centre in the Copenhagen Business School. She specializes in cross-cultural communications and negotiations as well as Japanese language and culture
Miriam Erez (Presenter), Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
Miriam Erez is the Mendes France Chair of Management and Economics in the William Davidson Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management at the Technion. Israel Institute of Technology. Miriam has published extensively on the topic of cross-cultural collaboration in organizations, in particular, the relationship between culture, motivation and self-identity.
Mary Beth Watson-Manheim (Presenter), University of Illinois, USA
Mary Beth Watson-Manheim is an Associate Professor of Information Systems in the Information Decision Sciences Department and Director of the Center for Research in Information Management at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Her research interests include the impact of information and communication technologies on work as well as managerial, social, and technological implications of virtual work environments, and IT-enabled organizational change.
Mark Mortensen (Discussant), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Mark Mortensen will be the discussant for the panel. Mark is an Assistant Professor in the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He studies group dynamics in geographically distributed teams and the effects of technology on interpersonal interaction.

gLanguage as a Bridge and Obstacle: How to choose a dominant language in intercultural collaborationsh

In intercultural collaborations, the choice of a dominant language among participants is important, because a native language is embedded in national and/or cultural identity of its speakers. Especially to organize an intercultural collaboration between the people from both sides of the groups under formidable political tension, it is crucial key for a success. Focusing on handling of the choice of language, this panel is to examine the prerequisites and possibilities of intercultural collaborations.


Dr. Nava Sonnenschein
As one of the founders of the Jewish-Palestinian symbiotic community in Israel, Oasis of Peace, she has been active to establish and operate the School for Peace. The official website for the School is at She has trained facilitators and organized numerous dialogue programs between Jews and Palestinians at their institution and in universities. She got MA in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling from San Francisco State University, Ph.D from Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Prof. Kenichi Kubota
His research fields are Educational Technology, Development Communication, and Learning Environment Design. He got Ph.D. in Instructional systems development from Indiana University in 1991. He has been actively organizing international collaborations on ICT education: gE-learning junior high schools in Latin Americah with Peru and Costa Rica; gField work project with ICT educatorsh with Nigeria and Burkina Faso; gICT education surveyh with Australia; gBuilding infrastructure of ICTh with the Philippines; gImprovement of school curriculum for elementary schoolsh with Syria, among others. Their official website of UNRWA is at

She got Ph.D from the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), School of Knowledge Science, Knowledge Creating Methodology Laboratory, and MA from High Institute of Management of Tunis, Tunisia. Her expertise is in Solving Complex Problems, Web Semantics and Multi-Agent systems. From October 2005, she has been Research Fellow at the Computational Linguistics Group, Language Grid Project, Knowledge Creating Communication Research Center (NICT), Kyoto, JAPAN.

Session Organizer & Chair:

Chigusa Kita
Associate Professor at Faculty of Informatics, Kansai University, former journalist at NHK Television.
She got Ph. D in twentieth century studies in the faculty of letters at Kyoto University. Her major research field is history of computing, and she is an editorial member of the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing. She published two books from doctoral dissertation: one of which got Nikkei BP publishing award 2003.