The Open UniversitySkip to content

The role of brokers and social identities in the development of capabilities in Global Virtual Teams

Mattarelli, Elisa; Tagliaventi, Maria Rita; Carli, Giacomo and Gupta, Amar (2017). The role of brokers and social identities in the development of capabilities in Global Virtual Teams. Journal of International Management, 23 pp. 382–398.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (898kB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


While organizations are increasingly relying on global virtual teams (GVTs) to carry out knowledge intensive activities, the understanding of how GVTs develop capabilities is still limited. We explore how GVTs adapt routines and build capabilities, and the role played by brokers and social identities in this process. We interviewed 49 professionals working in fifteen GVTs based in Europe, India, and US, and operating in IT and engineering consulting companies. Our multi-level grounded model highlights that, while brokers help in the creation of mutual knowledge, they reduce the accuracy of perceptions about distant co-workers. Mutual knowledge, combined with limited accuracy of perceptions, diminishes the need to adapt team routines over time. The negative effect of brokers on the creation of team capabilities is reduced when individual professional identities trigger the search for more accurate perceptions of distant colleagues and clients with the objective of adapting team routines and performing more stimulating work. On top of this, organizational identity further enables the process of adaptation of team routines. We conclude with a discussion of theoretical implications on the interplay between operational and social processes in GVTs and team capabilities, as well as practical implications for designing and managing GVTs.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2017 Elsevier
ISSN: 1075-4253
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
PRIN project “Offshoring of Intangibles”Not SetItalian Ministry of Higher Education and Research
PRIN project “International Sourcing of Knowledge: Organizational Factors and System Effects"Not SetItalian Ministry of Higher Education and Research
Keywords: Global virtual teams; Team capabilities; Perceptions; Brokers; Mutual knowledge; Professional identity; Organizational identity
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business > Department for Strategy and Marketing
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
Item ID: 48816
Depositing User: Giacomo Carli
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2017 11:05
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2019 00:56
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU