As organizations that are dispersed collaborate, they often form partially distributed teams (PDTs). In Partially distributed teams, some members are collocated while others are geographically distant. In-Group / Out-Group Dynamics often occur in such teams, when co-located members treat one another as a preferential ‘Us’ vs. treating distant members as the outsider ‘Them’. This paper presents a pilot study with 30 professionals, of factors contributing to reduction of such ‘Us-vs.-Them’ and to an increase in team effectiveness. The study examines partially distributed team challenges, as reported by participants, and relates them to Us-vs.-Them susceptibility. The pilot study also gives an insight into the negative impact that ‘Us-vs.-Them’ has on effectiveness. Lastly, it investigates policies that exist in partially distributed teams and their impact on both Us-vs.-them and effectiveness. Findings suggest that the concerns of partially distributed team members can lead to Us-vs.-Them occurrences and that there is a correlation between these occurrences and effectiveness (as Us-vs.-Them increases, effectiveness decreases). There is also evidence in the results that policy establishment is beneficial for partially distributed teams.
Privman, Robin and Hiltz, Starr Roxanne, "In-Group (US)/Out-Group (Them) Dynamics and Effectiveness in Partially Distributed Teams: A Pilot Study" (2009). AMCIS 2009 Proceedings. 375.